The link between depression and lack of good sleep is very well known. Scientists say that insomnia is not only a common symptom of depression, but it also contributes to generalized anxiety disorder, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and a multitude of other conditions. Oftentimes, achieving good nigh sleep is an important step in coming back to health.

Yet getting a good night rest is not a trivial proposition. In generations past, we used to spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, but today our daily schedules are so jam-packed with work, taking kids from place to place, working out, and surfing the net! At the end of the day, we crash in bed and hope to fall asleep, but the sleep doesn’t come… What are we to do?

We asked BCT staff for help with their favorite rules and routines for getting a good night rest. As a result, we came with the Seven “S” for good sleep. We are far from assuming that these rules are entirely original or have been exhaustively tested in controlled clinical trials. Yet we hope you will find them (or at least, some of them) helpful.

So, here are the rules:

Skip…the caffeine

Who doesn’t like an afternoon cup of coffee or Diet Coke with lunch? Yet try substituting your caffeinated drinks (including black tea) with water or natural juice (particularly after 4 pm) and you may find it makes a big difference.

Stop… napping

Many of us cannot resist an afternoon or early evening naps. However this makes us less tired when it is actually time to sleep all night. Try cutting out the napping, get up at the same time every day and go to bed at a reasonable time, you may find that this is difficult at first but your nights will most likely improve!

Set… the thermostat low

Generally, the optimal temperature for sleeping soundly is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. To cool down before getting in bed, try showering before bed and cracking a window or cranking the A/C.

Schedule… exercise

Even 30 minutes of exercise can keep your body at its day time temperature for 4 to 5 hours, so if you work out from 5:30-6pm for example, you might need to wait till 10 or even 11pm for your body to start cooling down to its sleep time temperature. Don’t interpret this as an excuse for dodging your workout; rather make sure that you are in your health club right after work.

Screen out… your laptop and tablet

These glowing devices in our lives send out blue wavelengths of light, which can negatively affect the natural sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

Snooze… don’t!

It’s tempting to sneak in a few more minutes after the alarm’s first buzz, but hitting the snooze button likely does more harm than good. That’s because snoozing disrupts crucial rapid eye movement or REM sleep, periods of which lengthen as the night goes on. Setting the alarm a little later and waking right away is a better idea.

Sex… is good

Do we need to elaborate?

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