If you are one of the millions of adults who have trouble falling asleep, you probably know the drill: No exercise before bedtime, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day and limit the amount of alcohol you consume. But it could take more than this. And the payoff is huge: You get a good night’s sleep without medication. To help you sleep better at night, try these four behavioral changes during the day:
1. Exposure to sunlight early in the morning and again at dusk.
Why? Exposure to natural light at dawn and dusk can help synchronize your body clock, making it easier to fall asleep at night and easier to get up and be alert in the morning, according to researchers from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
2. Consume no caffeine after 3 p.m.
Why? Caffeine is designed to keep you awake and alert and can stay in your system as long as 14 hours, according to WebMD. It can not only make it difficult to fall asleep, but also to stay asleep. If you suspect caffeine is contributing to your insomnia, either limit how much you consume or try eliminating it completely. Remember, caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and other foods.
3. Remove all computers and other “screens” from your bedroom.
It’s not only the stimulation of your screens — laptop computer, tablet and TV — that can keep you awake until all hours, but also the light from those screens that appears to disrupt the brain’s melatonin production. The best advice is to turn off all screens about 90 minutes before you plan to go to sleep.
4. Get ready for bed 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep.
Create a soothing bedtime routine that begins about a half-hour before you actually go to bed. This will help your body to associate these actions with sleep. Your winding-down process could include a warm bath and reading — anything that will help you to slow down and relax.
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