Eat right. Exercise. Lower your stress levels.
We all know that what we do… and don’t do… during the day is vital to our health and well-being. But researchers recently dropped a bombshell.
It turns out what you do when you’re asleep could be JUST as important. In fact, you could send your risk of stroke and heart attack soaring by making this one big mistake at bedtime.
Researchers from Duke University studied more than 1,900 volunteers’ bedtime routines.
And they confirmed links between irregular sleep habits and…
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- elevated stress levels
After that, it wasn’t surprising when they found that the same erratic sleep schedules significantly increased the risk of heart attack or stroke within ten years too.
In other words getting a good night’s sleep is about avoiding FAR more than baggy eyes and a bit of grumpiness the following day.
As strange as it sounds, your life literally could depend on you getting enough quality shuteye.
Of course, that’s easy to say. But it’s often not nearly as easy to do.
Fall asleep faster and sleep sounder
If you’re like me… not the best sleeper, you may already have followed some of my snoozing advice from the past. I’ve recommended being diligent about switching off the electronics earlier in the evening. And using melatonin to get yourself back on a regular sleep schedule.
If you’re still having trouble slipping off to La La Land (and staying there all night long), I have some MORE tricks that could help.
These five science-backed techniques can help you fall asleep—and stay asleep—more consistently night after night.
1. Increase your light during the day:
A dark bedroom is vital for getting a good night’s rest. But it turns out a bright living room (or office or kitchen) could be JUST as important.
Spending enough time in bright light during the day helps regulate your body’s sleep rhythm. Light signals your body that it’s time to be awake now so that when exposed to darkness again, it registers that it’s time to fall sleep.
In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry found that bright lights during the day improved sleep quality AND quantity. It helped volunteers sleep an extra TWO HOURS a night.
So throw open the blinds and turn up all the lights. And then reverse the process a couple of hours before you turn in for the night.
2. Keep your bedroom cool:
If you toss and turn at night, check your thermostat. French researchers have found room temperature affects sleep quality even more than noise.
Experts say it’s common for bedroom temperatures to be a bit too warm for optimal snoozing. They recommend somewhere between 70 and 72 degrees for the best sleep.
3. Wear socks to bed:
While a cool room can help you sleep more soundly cold feet can make falling asleep impossible.
A study published in the journal Nature found keeping your tootsies warm and cozy can help you fall asleep faster. But for a surprising reason.
When your toes are warm, blood vessels open up increasing blood flow into your legs and feet. This draws blood away from your core, ultimately helping to cool the rest of your body down. And this allows you to fall asleep faster.
4. Stay awake:
If you find yourself lying in bed staring at the ceiling, try this weird trick. Try to stay awake.
As bizarre as it sounds research out of Britain found the harder you try to stay awake, the more likely you are to fall asleep.
In the study, folks trying to stay awake didn’t just fall asleep faster, either. They also reported less anxiety around falling asleep. So next time you’re not getting any shut-eye, try keeping your eyes OPEN.
5. Write it out:
Stress is a real sleep killer. And stressing out about tomorrow is one of the surest ways to keep you awake tonight.
But this simple trick can help. Take a few minutes every night before bed and write out the top three things that you’re worried about for the next day. Sleep experts say the act of writing them down allows us to relax and forget about them.
Finish up by writing down the top three things that made you happy today. Ending the day on a positive note can reduce stress even more so you can slip off to sleep.
Don’t let erratic sleep habits send your stroke and heart attack risk soaring. Use these proven techniques to fall asleep and stay that way every single night.