6 Things To Try So You Can Sleep Better Tonight

7/17/14 1:51PM EST

6 Things To Try So You Can Sleep Better Tonight  6 Things To Try So You Can Sleep Better Tonight

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You know when you haven’t gotten enough sleep because your mood is all off the next morning. You wake up cranky, tired, and definitely not ready to take on any world that you know of. But besides your mood and the occasional headache and grogginess, research has shown that lack of good sleep can actually be detrimental to your health. From increasing your risks of serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and even early death, lack of good sleep is a lot more detrimental to your health than you might suspect. Here are 6 methods to try, so you can sleep better tonight.

1. Get a Better Pillow

This is as obvious a solution as they come. Take it from Goldilocks: It should be not too hard and not too soft. One study showed that that a medium-firm pillow significantly improved sleep for people, so step away from the feather and down-filled ones right now. Your head and neck need support, as if you were standing up. If your head is sinking in a concave of feathers or you’re waking up with a crick in your neck, take it as a sign that you need a new pillow.

2. Develop a Bed Ritual

Remember when your parents used to get you ready for bed and the whole process in itself prepared your mind to start shutting down? Changing into your PJs, reading a book, getting tucked in, and turning off ALL the lights — there’s a reason it worked then, and it’ll work now. Try making it a habit to have a sleep ritual just like you have one for the mornings. If you trick your mind into knowing it’s time for bed, it will start to know that it’s TIME FOR BED.

3. Take a Hot Bath

Warm baths or even showers before sleep can often be just the thing you need to zonk out. (It worked well as a kid, why not now?) The rapid cool-down effect that your body experiences after a hot bath can do wonders in relaxing you and putting you to sleep.

4. Keep Some Lavender Around

There is a reason why the scent industry goes so crazy putting lavender products into everything. It’s been long proven that this herb’s intoxicating scent really does relax the mind and body, giving it the perfect opportunity to lull away to la-la land. Lavender is known “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state,” University of Miami School of Medicine scientist Tiffany Field told The Wall Street Journal Online. Bring some fresh lavender into your room, light a candle, or add a few drops of lavender-infused oil into your nighttime bath — the possibilities with this one are endless.

5. Turn Off The Electronics

One of the worst habits of our age is keeping our electronics all around us and in the bedroom when it’s time to go to bed. Whether it’s the TV, your phone, or your tablet, it’s important to turn them off long before your head hits the pillow. Not only does a lot of this activity tend to act as a stressor, causing an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, but the light that’s emitted from your electronics is also keeping you from better sleep. The light passes through your retina and into the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls a lot of sleep activities, delaying the release of melatonin — the sleep hormone that naturally gives you that “sleepy” feeling when your environment lets it flow. Give yourself 30 minutes AT LEAST of no-electronics time before bed, and witness the difference in your sleep.

6. Eat Some Almond Butter

Sometimes low-blood sugar can contribute to bad sleep, even if you do get a “full-night’s rest.” Incorporating a little pre-sleep snack into your nighttime routine can combat this problem — as long as it’s not too heavy. (Eating too much can just make it worse for your body to relax.) Author of The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, Tim Ferriss, recommends two tablespoons of organic almond butter or peanut butter with some celery sticks to do the trick.

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