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5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Photo credit: iStock/andresr

Photo credit: iStock/andresr

Everyone thinks about sleep — especially when you’re not getting enough of it or you’re not sleeping well. While the hustle and bustle of life can make sleep less of a priority, getting enough sleep can actually boost your health in several areas, not to mention give you more energy throughout the day and ward off that midday slump. 

1. Unplug your gadgets. Though seemingly obvious, turning off your tech doesn’t simply refer to putting a stop to firing off those late-night emails. In fact, many of the activities you do to wind down — like reading a book on an iPad or scrolling through Instagram — can be just as detrimental to your sleep quality.

Multiple studies show that the light emitted by electronics may be keeping people up at night. The blue light that LED screens give off can slow down or completely stop the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps control your daily sleep-wake cycles and signals the brain when it’s time to go to sleep. Without melatonin, the body is more likely to stay awake and alert. Some studies have also shown that use of electronics before bed can disrupt the internal clock, or circadian rhythm, and cause people to be less alert the next day. To prevent this, stop using devices at least one hour before bed. If you can’t resist reading, opt for a good old-fashioned paper book instead.

2. Cut the midnight snacks and sips. Alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes can disrupt sleep, so try to avoid consuming them in the hours before bedtime if possible. Similarly, eating large or spicy meals before you go to sleep can cause indigestion and discomfort that may keep you up at night or disturb your rest. Try to avoid eating large meals two to three hours before bedtime and eat a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you are still hungry.

3. Commit to a sleep schedule. Irregular sleep patterns can make you feel less energized during the day. It can also make it more difficult to fall asleep when you want to and stay asleep. Pick a bedtime and wake up time and try to stick to it — even on holidays and weekends. This way your body’s circadian rhythm will get accustomed to a set bedtime and you will fall asleep better at night and wake up more easily in the morning.

4. Yawn it out. Many times when your head hits the pillow, your thoughts go into overdrive and it makes it harder to go to sleep. Try making yourself yawn a few times — even if it feels forced. The action of yawning triggers many feelings in the brain, including tension relief. Yawning also tells your brain that it’s time to rest. So go ahead and try it, open your jaw a few times before bed and see how quickly you’ll doze off.

5. Breathe. (Yes, seriously.) Another way to counteract racing thoughts before bed is to try some breath work and meditation techniques. Try focusing on your breathing and taking long inhales and exhales. Listening to calming music or a guided meditation for 30 minutes before bed can also help you tune into your breath and calm your mind before you fall fast asleep.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professionals.