When it comes to fighting stress and maintaining good health, one of the most important yet often overlooked aspects is sleep. While lack of sleep can kill you faster than starvation, more people are concerned about eating right rather than developing good sleeping habits. The simple fact is that most adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day—and that’s non-negotiable. Still, even if you do have the time, getting a good night’s rest isn’t always easy… Well, not if you know how, of course…

Develop regular sleeping habits. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Having a routine sleeping cycle can help your body learn when it’s supposed to switch into resting mode, thus making it easier to fall asleep. Also, don’t break this pattern during weekends. If you have to adjust your bedtime, try doing so in small increments; say, 15 minutes per day.

Focus on relaxation, not sleeping. When you go to bed, trying to force yourself to sleep will only make it harder. Instead, just relax and let sleep come naturally to you. The main point is that you’re resting.

Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Noise, light, and warm temperatures are your enemy. If you can’t avoid noise, try masking it with a fan or white noise. Other electronic devices and gadgets, however, should be turned off, especially TVs, phones, and computers. Also, besides turning off all lights before trying to sleep, it would be a good idea to switch your bedroom’s light to low-wattage bulbs. Oh, and if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, consider using a flashlight—keeping light to a minimum makes it easier to go back to sleep. Finally, the ideal temperature for a bedroom is around 18°C.

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