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Surprising Reasons You're Not Falling Asleep

Six ways to create a healthier sleep environment

Though gadgets can keep you awake at night, you can also use technology to make your home more sleep-friendly. Here are six easy fixes to make your bedroom a healthier sleeping environment.

1. Power Down Gadgets. The blue light emitted from the screens on your computer, cell phone, tablet, and television can keep you awake by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. That’s why it’s best to ditch any devices at least 30 minutes before bed.

2. Stick to Sleeping. It may be tempting to add a desk to your bedroom so that it doubles as a home office, or an entertainment system. But your bedroom should be dedicated to one thing: sleeping! Having an office that close means that you could be temped to check email and get work done before hitting the hay, or watch a movie before drifting off. Those can both decrease the length and quality of your sleep, so stick to having a single-purpose bedroom.

3. Cover the Clock. Many digital clocks use bright light that can distract you from drifting off. And catching a glimpse of the time when you wake up in the middle of the night can keep you from falling back asleep, so turn the clock’s face away from you when you turn in for the evening, or select a clock that doesn’t have numbers that glow in the dark.

4. Set the Right Temperature. If you have The Nest, or a similar system that controls your thermostat and other home systems, make the most of it by setting the temperature just so for optimal sleep and keeping it constant. Bedrooms should be kept at a slightly lower temperature than the living space rooms, ideally between 60° and 67°F.

5. Perfect the Air. Consider investing in a humidifier during the colder months and/or a dehumidifier during the hotter months, depending on your climate, for a healthier sleeping environment. Dry winter air can lead to parched skin and an irritated throat, while humid summers can bring bugs and mold. Keep your bedroom humidity level around 50% year-round for the perfect balance.

6. Silence is Best. Noisy neighbors or a snoring partner can keep you up at night, so drown out that din by using a white noise machine or wearing earplugs.