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Five Nighttime Rituals for Optimal Sleep

In the U.S., 40 million people suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If restful sleep eludes you, try one or more of these nighttime rituals to improve your sleep. In addition to the below, it’s helpful to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday to help your body get into the rhythm of consistently sleeping well, and to help you develop a consistent bedtime routine.

  • Turn off all screens 30-60 minutes before bed - Research has shown that blue light makes you more alert and suppresses your melatonin, thus hurting your quality of sleep.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and vigorous exercise before bed - all of these can interfere with your ability to fall asleep

  • Get cozy and calm - Warm your body with a cup of herbal tea or take a warm bath. De-stress by meditating, writing in a gratitude journal or reading a book (avoid e-Readers that have a back-lit screen).

  • Prepare your bedroom - The best environment for sleep is a cool, dark, quiet place. Use comfortable bedding, use blinds on your windows to block out as much light as possible and set the temperature to be cool. If you live in a noisy place, you may want to wear ear plugs or use a white noise machine.

  • Breathing exercise - Exhale completely through your mouth. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

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