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How to Get a Better Night's Sleep - Well Guides

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-sleep

nytimes.com

How to Get a Better Night's Sleep - Well Guides
Most people know they need to eat right and exercise to be healthy. But what about sleep? We spend about one-third of our lives asleep, and sleep is essential to better health. But many of us are struggling with sleep. Four out of five people say that they suffer from sleep problems at least once a week and wake up feeling exhausted. So how do you become a more successful sleeper? Grab a pillow, curl up and keep reading to find out.

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How much sleep is enough

How much sleep is enough

Sleep needs vary from person to person. Age, genetics, lifestyle, and environment all play a role.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. People who sleep seven hours a night are healthier and live longer. While the guideline is helpful, you are the best person to judge how much sleep you need.

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Take a vacation from your alarm clock

To really find out what your individual sleep needs are, do the following experiment for at least two weeks:

  • Pick the same bedtime every night.
  • Turn off your alarm.
  • Record the time you wake up.

You may sleep longer during the first few days, but over the course of a few weeks, a pattern will emerge of how much sleep your body needs each night.

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Ask yourself: 'Am I seepy?'

If you often feel tired, your body is telling you that it's not getting enough sleep.

If you're getting eight hours of sleep a night but still feel tired, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder or interrupted sleep.

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Keep a sleep diary

Keep a sleep diary

A sleep diary will give you important insights into your sleep habits.

For one week, write down:

  • The time you go to bed and the time you wake up.
  • The number of hours you sleep and whether you took naps or woke up during the night.
  • Notice how you feel in the morning—refreshed or fatigued?

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;

Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.

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The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

Creating a sleep-inducing environment

  • Turn the temperature between 60 and 72 degrees.
  • Turn off the lights. Artificial light suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melat...