Night Cap

A good night’s rest supports overall health, but according to the National Sleep Foundation most Americans fail to achieve it. Make sure you’re racking up your 40 winks with these sleep aids:

Neutralize nerves. The #1 sleep blocker is stress. Keep a journal to record thoughts and worries that try to take over once your head hits the pillow, and log habits that sabotage your slumber. Enter the snooze zone with a bedtime routine — a warm shower or bath, light reading, or meditation exercises that relax your mind and body. Keep the temperature cool and wear socks, which a study suggests may promote sound sleep cycles.

Stifle stimulation. Avoid TV, heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine before hitting the hay. And exercise daily for at least 30-45 minutes to release tension — just not too close to bed time or you’ll prompt alertness.

Balance biochemistry. Hormonal responses influence zzz. Too much cortisol and not enough melatonin or serotonin can stir wakefulness. Keep the room dark and remove electronics, which can disrupt natural daily rhythms. If you can’t rise with the sun, use a sun clock instead of an alarm — it mimics the gradual fade in and out of natural light to help synchronize your internal clock. Eat a protein-rich snack with some fruit a few hours before bed to introduce tryptophan into your brain — necessary in melatonin production.

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