“When you’re sleep-deprived, you have ashen skin and under-eye circles, and you look puffy because you retain fluid—plus, you just feel run-down,” says Michael Breus, sleep specialist and author of The Power of When. You also miss crucial hours when the body produces growth hormone and testosterone. Here’s how to set yourself up for better sleep.
1. Make mornings consistent
Wake up at the same time on weekends as weekdays—no matter when you got home the night before. “It is the absolute best way to improve sleep,” says Breus. “You can’t force circadian rhythms to change because you had a late night. It’s better to wake early and nap later if you need to.”
2. Enough with the social media
People who check social media the most are twice as likely to have disturbed sleep as those who log on the least, according to recent research. Constant checking creates a vicious cycle: “When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” says research Gloria Mark. “If you’re distracted, what do you do? You go on Facebook.” Log on at specific times and leave it at that.
3. Cut caffeine after 2 p.m.
Caffeine can take up to 10 hours to clear your system. Nix it after midday. Try a cup of herbal tea instead.
4. Take a hot shower right before bed
Rapidly cooling off increases the natural drop in body temperature that happens at night. This cues the body to release sleep-inducing melatonin.
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