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Eat to Sleep Better in the New Year

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How to Train Yourself to Go to Sleep Earlier

While the most popular New Year’s resolutions tend to be about exercising more often or eating more healthfully, many people also vow to become better sleepers. If you want to make 2017 the year that you finally prioritize your zzz’s, try these five easy tips.

 

  1. Cut out your afternoon coffee and your nightcap. Caffeine and alcohol can make it tough to get quality sleep. Consider having caffeine only in the morning and early afternoon—you definitely don’t want any in the six hours leading up to bedtime. And while alcohol may help you nod off initially, it does cause you to wake up throughout the night. A good rule of thumb: Don’t drink booze in the three hours before you turn in.
  2. Move dinnertime earlier. It takes your body three to four hours to digest food, so try not to eat too close to bedtime. And when choosing what to eat, go with lighter foods. Large, rich meals that are eaten too late in the day can cause indigestion and heartburn, making it hard to fall asleep.
  3. Improve your bedroom. You want your room to be cool (60 to 67 degrees or so), dark (no nightlights), and quiet (white noise machines or ear plugs can help).
  4. Create a relaxing pre-bed routine. Try not to go straight from watching a dramatic TV show or struggling with a work project to attempting to fall asleep—it’s just too hard to switch off your brain. Take 30 minutes to wind down and transition to bedtime. Lower the lights in your home, sip on some tea, or read a magazine—whatever relaxes you is perfect.
  5. Have other healthy habits. Improving your overall physical and mental health can also help you sleep better. Two key steps: Work out regularly—even 30 minutes, three or four times a week can be beneficial—and manage your stress by doing deep breathing exercises or meditating for at least a few minutes a day.