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Exercise, sunshine, mealtimes affect sleep

Here are some tips on catching your Z’s from the National Sleep Foundation, the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Paul McKenna’s book “I Can Make You Sleep”:

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol and large meals within four hours of bedtime.
  • Vigorous exercise during the day helps you sleep,  but if you must exercise within three hours of bedtime, limit it to relaxing exercise such as yoga.
  • Get some sunshine during the day—it helps reset the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Keep your bedroom completely dark at night.
  • Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Consider a warm bath before bed—it paradoxically lowers your core body temperature, which help with sleep.
  • Limit bedtime activities to sleep and sex—do not watch TV or do other activities in bed.
  • Keep your bedroom comfortably cool.
  • If arthritis, heartburn, hot flashes, worries, depression or other problems interfere with sleep, see your doctor.

Jennifer Motl