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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

How to Sleep Better

Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Our sleep expert, Dr. Ana Krieger, show you how to sleep better tonight.

If you snooze, you literally lose, says Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine. Once the alarm disrupts your sleep, the quality plummets, and it no longer pays to stay in bed. To sleep better, place your alarm clock more than an arm’s length away so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Or consider Clocky, a cute alarm that literally rolls away from you if you try to hit the snooze button too many times.

Brush your teeth earlier.
Good oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth. But brushing and flossing right before you turn in to sleep can be overly stimulating. Instead, perform your nightly oral care ritual right after dinner. Bonus: You won’t be too tired and tempted to blow off brushing.

Watch your beverages.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, half of the caffeine in your midafternoon cup of coffee is still in your body a full six hours later -- just when you’re trying to wind down. Also on the list of top sleep-stoppers: nicotine and alcohol. Booze will make you drowsy, but the quality of your sleep will suffer once the effects wear off.

Resist the late-night urge.
Sure, it’s fun to stay up all night on Saturday, whether it’s because you’re caught up in a really good book or you’re just out with your friends. But even if you sleep in on Sunday, you’ll still be paying the price on Monday morning. Unfortunately, you can’t bank extra sleep. In fact, deviating from your regular bedtime by more than an hour can lead to daytime drowsiness, says Krieger.

Create some quiet.
If honking cars or a snoring partner keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep, invest in some earplugs. Those that mold to your ear -- such as Mighty Plugs -- will effectively block out most of the noise, but you’ll still be able to hear your alarm clock. Or, consider using a white noise machine, such as Marpac’s Sound Conditioner Sound Screen, which masks outside noise with the soothing sound of rushing air.

Do nothing before bed.
Updating your Facebook profile or responding to emails is not the optimal way to wind down. In fact, besides keeping your mind active, evidence shows that the light from computer and phone screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. So shut off your devices and get some shut-eye!

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