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Riley Heruska
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Tired of waking up and feeling as though you’ve been dragged from the depths of Tartarus to face another exhausting day? Well, join the club. There’s a reason Americans consume more than 400 million cups of coffee each day. People attribute their lack of shut-eye to everything from technology addictions to busy schedules and stress levels. No matter the reason, most Americans are sorely sleep-deprived according to recent studies. Although you might not always notice the effects of little rest, they do creep into various aspects of your day, and your life is harder for it.

Want to stop waking up feeling like you’re half-dead? Here are a few easy changes you can make to your nightly activities that will make a huge difference.

Establish a “Bedtime” Routine

Humans are creatures of habit, so if you stick to a nightly regime, your brain will begin to automatically wind down when it should. About two hours before you head to bed, start the relaxation process so that your body will begin to prepare for sleep. Pick a fun way to spend your time so that your brain can stop running at full speed. It’s okay to indulge in television and other kinds of screen-time a few hours before you go to bed, but try to avoid technology as your bedtime approaches. The key to establishing an effective bedtime routine is staying consistent, so try not to deviate from your schedule too often.

Create a Peaceful Environment

As you get closer to sleeping, create an environment that encourages your mind to turn off. Scents are especially important. Consider lighting a few candles or investing in a diffuser if you’re not a fan of open flames. Lavender is an especially calming smell, and sources say that it might actually improve your sleep.

You can also play some relaxing music. Maybe save the rock station for later and opt for a more soothing sound instead. Spotify has some great nighttime playlists, from softly falling rain with instrumental tunes to acoustic records. The important thing is to make your home a peaceful place where your mind feels comfortable slowing down.

Do Something to Warm Yourself

A hot bath or shower can do wonders for your sleep. Not only will it cleanse you mentally, but it will also give your muscles a chance to unbunch from a stressful day of work. You can also opt for a cup of hot tea (without caffeine, of course). Your body temperature naturally drops during the night if you’re sleeping soundly. Therefore, by warming your body before climbing into your bed, you’re effectively speeding up the sensation of cooling down and steering your body towards a more restful night.

Relax Without a Screen in the Hour Before You Hit the Hay

As I said before, screens are not your friend when it comes to getting great sleep. Countless studies have proven that your handy-dandy gadgets keep you from getting the rest you deserve. I know it’s tempting to keep your cell on your nightstand or to fall asleep in the glare of a television, but doing so can actually have pretty big effects on your health. Electronic screens emit blue light, which can prevent your body from producing melatonin. What’s melatonin, you ask? Well, it’s the hormone that controls your sleeping/waking cycle. Therefore, checking Twitter minutes before you close your eyes actually disturbs your body’s circadian rhythm and leads to less peaceful sleep. If you can, keep all of your electronics outside of your bedroom so that you aren’t even tempted to sneak a peek close to your bedtime.

As great as these tips might be, they won’t do much if you simply aren’t giving your body enough time to sleep. Research says that adults need a minimum of seven hours each night, and if you can get eight or nine hours you’ll feel even better. At least 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t get the proper amount of rest each night. Don’t let yourself be on the wrong side of that statistic and your body will thank you later.

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