How can I improve the quality of my sleep?

Adjusting your bedtime from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. will make an enormous difference in the quality of your sleep and enhance your feeling of wakefulness the following day. The reason for this is that you are taking advantage of the natural wave of neurochemistry that is already well on its way before 10pm and you get the added support of the metabolic changes that occur at the 10 p.m. mark.

If you are currently falling asleep well past 10 p.m., make it a goal to sleep earlier by 15-30 minutes each week until you hit the 10 p.m. goal. If you are also waking up after 6 a.m., it is important to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier so you feel ready for bed by 10 p.m.
Bob Greene
Bob Greene on behalf of The Best Life

If you aren't getting enough hours of sleep or suffer from low-quality sleep due to related symptoms, work with your doctor to find some shut-eye solutions. And try these tips from the National Sleep Foundation to hit your nightly goal of seven hours:

  • Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine and lights-out time. A
           comfortable bed and a cool, dark, quiet sleeping space are most
           conducive to quality rest.
  • Aim to wrap up your exercise routine at least three hours before
           bedtime. Too much activity right before bed can make it hard to
           wind down and feel sleepy.
  • Skip caffeinated beverages, or switch to decaf eight hours before
           your anticipated bedtime, and avoid alcohol a few hours before
           you hit the hay. Both can disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid using your bedroom for non-sleep related activities. Piles of
           undone laundry, a computer desk brimming with work to be
           done, and a big, blaring TV don't foster an ideal sleeping
The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

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The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Bob Greene has helped millions of Americans become fit and healthy with his life-changing Best Life plan. Now, for the first time, Oprah's trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with a leading...
The following are behaviors to adopt to improve the quality of your sleep:
  • Using your bedroom only for sleep and sex
  • Exercising regularly, preferably in the morning or early afternoon
  • Keeping a regular bedtime and waking time, even on the weekends
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a leisurely stroll, soaking in a tub, listening to soothing music, or massaging your legs or feet before bed
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and deep-breathing exercises
  • Creating a comfortable environment that is conducive to sleep by eliminating uncomfortable bedding, wearing loose clothing, keeping the bedroom temperature slightly cool, and eliminating any bothersome noise or light
A new study suggests that using an electronic device like a smartphone, ipad or laptop for a significant amount of time (2 hours or more) just before bedtime can reduce your levels of the hormone, melatonin, by as much as 25% and negatively impact your sleep cycle. Over time, the accumulated disruption of sleep can raise your risk of breast cancer and obesity. Immediately, its impact can also be felt in poor mental and physical performance the next day and cumulatively. 
So close all electronics within two hours of bedtime. That may be tough for most people, so try limiting your electronic device time slowly and build up to wrapping up two hours before bedtime.

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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.