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10 Things

10 Habits for Better Sleep

By Rachel Salas, Sleep Neurologist
Rachel Salas

Consistent, restful sleep is critical for a healthy life, but if you’re not getting quality shut-eye, well, welcome to the club. One in three American adults doesn’t get the minimum recommended seven hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and insufficient sleep can lead to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Making over your bedroom can help. “Your sleep environment can make or break your sleep quality,” says Rachel Salas. “Things like light, temperature, or noise affect us.” If you are sleeping but are still tired, or if you snore, this may suggest a red flag. “If you are not able to get to sleep within 30 minutes or can’t go back to sleep within 30 minutes and you have some type of daytime problem—sleepiness, fatigue, memory and concentration issues—then it is worth seeking medical advice,” Salas says.


1 / Books

Remove screens and blue light–emitting tech. Wind down with a book or magazine (but keep it a little boring—too exciting and it may keep you up!).


2 / Flashlight

Banish nightlights. Keep a flashlight next to your bed and use only when needed.


3 / Alarm Clock

Set the display to “dim” or face clock away from bed. If using a phone, flip it upside down. Artificial light disrupts the body’s sleep clock.


4 / Thermostat

Keep it cool. Most people sleep better at temps around 68 F.


5 / Window Treatments

Use room-darkening blinds or coverings to block external light.


6 / A Made-Up Bed

Research shows that people who make their bed every morning sleep better.


7 / New Pillows and Mattresses

Replace pillows every two years; mattresses every 10. This cuts down on allergen buildup.


8 / Pet-Free Zone

Pet movement and dander disrupt sleep. Keep pets out of your bed.


9 / Closets

If clutter stresses you, banish piles of clothes to the closet.


10 / White Noise Device

A steady sound can block out ambient variable sounds, like snoring. Skip expensive machines and try a fan.

Illustration by Agnese Bicocchi; Portrait by Tina Berning

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