Sleep is one of the most influential things in our lives. It dictates how we feel, how we act, and it even affects our health. We spend about a third of our lives asleep. So how do we make sure we’re getting better sleep?

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1. Make your bedroom feel calm and comfortable.

The color blue is recommended for bedroom walls. Avoid painting your walls bright, electric colors, as this is jarring and can stand out too much in the dark. Make sure your room is a comfortable temperature when including things like sleepwear and bedding. A too-hot or too-cold room can leave you tossing and turning in the night.

2. Get rid of the clutter.

Messy rooms can be distracting, which can lead to less restful sleep. Consider tucking away any loose items on your floor or furniture to make your space more sleep-friendly.

3. Take naps.

Naps can really help get you through the day. Just make sure that your naps aren’t too long, lest you feel wide awake come bedtime. The recommended length of a nap is 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the brain to rest and recharge without tinkering with the brain’s sleep cycle.

4. Make sure you’re on a consistent sleep schedule.

Good sleeping habits are key to getting a better night’s rest. Setting an alarm can do wonders for getting on a consistent schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. This way, you’ll eventually feel tired when it’s time to go to bed, and wide awake during the day.

5. Soak up some sun.

Sunlight helps your body produce melatonin, which aids in sleeping soundly at night. It can also help wake you up in the morning. Artificial light found indoors can make you drowsy, so try to recharge during the day by getting some sun. This allows you to fight daytime drowsiness and will leave you sleepy only when it’s time for bed later in the day.

6. Consider cutting down on caffeine.

Caffeine may give you the pep you need to get your day going, but it can affect the brain for up to twelve hours after consumption. So if you’re constantly reaching for a cup of coffee throughout the day, it might be hurting your sleep cycle long after the buzz dies down.

7. Boost your melatonin production at night.

Avoid bright lights close to bedtime. Turn off the television, and consider swapping the light bulbs in your bedroom for lower wattage bulbs. If you need to get up in the middle of the night, avoid turning on any overhead lights, as this can make it harder to go back to sleep. If safety is an issue, consider carrying a small light with you when moving around in the dark.

8. Exercise and eat right.

Exercise can help regulate your body’s sleep cycle. People with better health, generally, sleep more soundly and get better quality sleep than those with health problems. Consider cutting back on big meals before bed. It is good to avoid drinking alcohol before bed, too, as this can cause drowsiness the following day.

9. De-stress before bed.

Distance yourself from work or chores as it gets closer to bedtime. Too much anxiety over things like to-do lists can leave you restless throughout the night. Try to keep work and sleep as separate as possible. Your bedroom should feel like a calm, stress-free place, so leave work in another room.

10. Keep a nighttime routine.

Maintaining a routine before going to bed will help to signal your body that it is time to go to sleep. Consider reading or knitting, as these are calming, repetitive activities. You’ll be drifting off in no time.

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