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Watching TV in bed

Often if we're watching the television it's the nightly news… it's something that's going to cause you insomnia or stress right before bed when we're trying to power down and relax.

The other issue with TV - along with smartphones and tablets - is they produce blue light, which can delay the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 

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Sleeping five hours or less consistently increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences. These included cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, and shorter life expectancy.

Everyone should aim for a consistent seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Alcohol before bed boosts your sleep

It may help you fall asleep, but it dramatically reduces the quality of your rest that night. It particularly disrupts your REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is important for memory and learning.

You will have slept and may have nodded off more easily, but some of the benefits of sleep are lost.

Struggling to sleep

It takes the healthy sleeper about 15 minutes to fall asleep, but much longer than that… make sure to get out of bed, change the environment and do something that's mindless.

Hitting the snooze button

The research team says that when the alarm goes off, we should just get up.

Realize you will be a bit groggy - but resist the temptation to snooze. Your body will go back to sleep, but it will be very light, low-quality sleep.

Snoring can be harmless, but it can also be a sign of the disorder sleep apnoea.

This causes the walls of the throat to relax and narrow during sleep, and can briefly stop people breathing. People with the condition are more likely to develop high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat and have a heart attack or a stroke. One of the warning signs is loud snoring.

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As much as we’d like to think we can train our bodies to need less sleep, the science says the opposite.

All of the evidence shows, without a shadow of a doubt, that chronic insufficient sleep, of five-six hours or less, is associated with a host of unfavorable consequences.

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IDEAS

Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

Sleep apnea can be treated; men and women who snore loudly, especially if pauses in the snoring are noted, should consult a physician.

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.