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Bad Habits That Affect Sleep

5 Evening Habits That Are Affecting Your Sleep

Wondering why you just can't get a good night's sleep? What you're doing before bed may be the culprit.

TV time: You've saved up a DVR's-worth of your favorite TV show, and it's finally time to settle in with an episode or two. Fast-forward three hours later, and you realize it's well past your bedtime. Watching too much TV or staring at your computer all night can mess with your body clock, so make sure you set a limit to the amount of screen time you're getting at night, and turn off those electronics at least 20 minutes before bedtime.

Late-night exercising: Hitting the gym after work doesn't disrupt your sleep schedule — in fact, daily exercise actually helps you sleep better. But exercising only a couple hours before you go to sleep can energize your body so much that it's hard to wind down. Try to finish up any rigorous exercise at least two hours before bedtime.

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Work worry: Have an important deadline coming up? Don't spend your nights stressing about it. If you find it hard to stop thinking of everything that's on your to-do list for tomorrow, start a relaxing pre-bedtime routine that includes meditation, slow stretching that helps you sleep, or other calming habits that wind you down and take your mind off things.

Heavy snacking: You ate an early dinner, and now can't even think about sleeping until you've sated your grumbling stomach. Just make sure you don't go overboard, since going to sleep on a full stomach can disrupt your sleep cycles. Check out the foods to avoid at night here.

Nightcap: While alcohol can help you go to sleep faster, it will also affect the quality of your sleep. If you want to wake up feeling well rested the next day, skip the glass of wine and go for herbal tea as your nightcap.

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