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8 Secrets to Better Sleep

A good night’s sleep is one of the best things for your health, so pick three of these tips to follow each night until you get all that you need.

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1. Create a Transition Routine

This is something you do every night before bed. It could be as simple as letting out the cat, turning out the lights, turning down the heat, washing your face or brushing your teeth. Or it could be a series of yoga or meditation exercises. Regardless, it should be consistent. As you begin to move into your ‘nightly routine’, your mind will get the signal that it’s time to chill out, physiologically preparing you for sleep.

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2. Figure Out Your Body’s Cycle

Do you ever find that you get really sleepy at 10:00 p.m., that the sleepiness passes, and that by the time the late news comes on, you’re wide awake? Some experts believe sleepiness comes in cycles. Push past a period of tiredness and you probably won’t be able to fall asleep very easily for a while. If you’ve noticed these kinds of rhythms in your own body clock, use them to your advantage. When sleepiness comes, get to bed. Otherwise, it might be a long time before you’re ready for sleep again.

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3. Use Lavender

Take freshly washed sheets, sprinkle them with lavender, then iron. The scent is scientifically proven to promote relaxation, and the repetition and mindlessness of ironing will soothe you. Or put lavender water in a perfume atomizer and spray above your bed just before climbing in.

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4. Hide Your Clock

Put your clock under your bed or on the bottom shelf of your bedside cabinet, where its glow won’t disturb you. That way, if you wake up in the middle of the night or have problems sleeping, you won’t fret over how late it is and how much sleep you’re missing.

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5. Change Your Pillow

If you’re constantly pounding it, turning it over and upside down, the poor pillow deserves a break. Find a fresh, new pillow from the linen cupboard, put a sweet-smelling case on it and try again.

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6. Pyjamas or Naked?

The answer is pyjamas. Warm skin helps to slow down your blood’s circulation, cooling your internal temperature and generally contributing to a deeper sleep. Just don’t overdo it. Your body goes through a few cool-warm cycles as the night passes, so you want pyjamas, sheets and covers that keep you comfortable through these changes.

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7. Paint Your Bedroom a Soothing Colour

First, remove the clutter from your bedroom – it provides a distraction and stands in the way of a good night’s sleep. Then paint your room a soothing colour like sage green, a visual reminder of sleep that will relax you as you prepare for sleep.

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8. Choose the Right Pillow

One Swedish study found that neck pillows, which resemble a rectangle with a depression in the middle, can actually enhance the quality of your sleep as well as reduce neck pain. The ideal neck pillow should be soft and not too high, provide neck support and be allergy-tested and washable, researchers found.