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How can I get more sleep at night?

Here are some suggestions that can help you get more sleep at night:

Don't take your to-do list to bed. Write down the next day's list early in the evening and stick it in your bag or on the fridge. Then you won’t start anxiously making mental notes the minute your head hits the pillow.

Take something. Sometimes, to kick insomnia, all you need is to break the pattern. My cheap, super simple, method: take an antihistamine 30 minutes before bed (regular Benadryl—not a non-drowsy formula!—works fine) for one to three nights. Antihistamines make many people sleepy. No prescription needed.

Alternatively, try valerian herbal tea or the combo of chamomile and valerian in Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea. Others swear that melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone you can find now in a supplement form over the counter, helps them, but I’m not a fan. The amount in different products can vary wildly, despite what the labels say. It may not work for you, and its long-term safety has yet to be determined.

Try a bedtime snack. The best bedtime snack is one that has both complex carbohydrates and a little protein, plus some calcium. Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods. And by combining carbohydrate together with a small amount of protein, your brain produces serotonin, the pleasure hormone with strong ties to mood.

Get out of the bedroom.
We all think that if we lie in bed long enough, sleep will come. Instead, our minds tend to get busier and our muscles tenser as we stress over being awake. Give it a rest. If you can’t get to sleep within twenty minutes, slip out of bed and go to a safe haven—a place that’s comfy, has dim lighting, and no distractions. Just sit comfortably. Or read. No email, television, or other electronics though. After twenty minutes or so, go back to bed and see what happens when you’re more relaxed.

R-e-l-a-x. Progressive relaxation, an effective technique that’s been used since the 1930s, couldn’t be simpler. Stretch out in bed and, one by one, squeeze and release all the muscles in your body, starting with your scalp and working down to your toes.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.