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15 Tips for the best sleep ever

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Sweet dreams are made of this

Not getting enough sleep? Here are 15 tips to help you get the best sleep ever. We think you'll be surprised at some of the ways you can improve your slumber!
Woman sleeping
planner

Stick to a schedule

A change in routine could throw your whole sleep schedule out of whack, says a 2010 sleep study. Avoid insomnia by sticking to the same schedule for both bedtime and wake-up.

coffee

Skip the
caffeine

Of course you know to skip coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the evening, but did you know that even a late afternoon latte can keep you up at night? Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. to eliminate bedtime brain buzz.

beer

Just say no
to alcohol

A glass of wine before bed will help you sleep, right? Actually, no. a May 2011 study showed alcohol may disrupt sleep cycles. If you're going to imbibe, do it early in the evening and in moderation.

woman working out

Exercise early

If you've ever had a late workout then tried to fall asleep immediately afterward, you know it's hard to settle down when your body and mind are all revved up. Schedule your exercise for mornings and afternoons instead.

milk

Warm milk at bedtime

A nice warm glass of milk at bedtime is a soothing ritual and has the added benefit of delivering a dose of sleep-inducing tryptophan. Make it a small glass so you don't have to wake up for a potty break!

cigaratte

Skip smoking

If you haven't kicked the habit, avoid nicotine in the evening. It's a stimulant just like caffeine.

text message

Turn off the tech

It may not be easy, but turning off the Wii, iPad and other tech devices will help you relax before bedtime. According to Allison Harvey, professor of sleep and psychology at University of California, Berkley, nighttime use of interactive technology can lead to insomnia. Harvey says the light from screens can mess with the body’s circadian rhythm, resulting in sleep disruption. Give yourself at least one hour without technology to unwind before bedtime and stop waking up and checking your iPhone at all hours of the night!

thermostat

Cool it

Studies show that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 65 and 72 degrees F. According to Craig Heller, Ph.D., professor of biology at Stanford University, “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down.” Heller says the specific temperature varies from person to person and should be set based on what feels comfortable.

eye mask

Dim and darken

Give your body and mind the signal that it's time to wind down by dimming the lights before bed and making your room completely dark when it's time to get some zzz's.

ear plugs

Block out noise

There's nothing worse than listening to jarring noises when you're trying to sleep. If noise is interfering with your slumber, try earplugs or a white noise machine.

pillow

Comfort is key

Do you look forward to snuggling into your cozy bed at the end of the day? If not, invest in a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding to help you drift off to dreamland.

yoga

Relax

Still your monkey mind by unwinding with some deep breathing exercises or a little meditative yoga before bedtime.

arlarm clock

Don't be a clock watcher

If you wake in the night, try not to look at the clock. Staring at those glowing numbers makes it harder to get back to sleep.

blinds

Wake to natural sunlight

Installing black-out shades might not be the best idea after all. Waking to natural sunlight helps regulate your melatonin and keep your internal clock on schedule.

melatonin

Consider melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body clock. As we age, our bodies produce less melatonin. Talk to your doctor about taking a melatonin supplement to help with insomnia.

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