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Wellness Wednesday: How to get better sleep

Getting good sleep is very important, and we asked an expert to give us some tips to help.

Getting good sleep is very important, and we asked an expert to give us some tips to help.


The National Sleep Foundation says exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake.

Too much light right before bedtime may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, one study recently found that exposure to unnatural light cycles may have real consequences for our health, including an increased risk of depression.

At night, keep your sleep environment dark. Light-blocking curtains, drapes, or an eye mask can also help. Some research indicates that the body may never fully adapt to shift work, especially for those who switch to a normal weekend sleep schedule. Establish a routine for sleep to avoid dozing with the television or lights on.

Before bedtime, limit television viewing and computer use, especially in the bedroom, as they hinder quality sleep.

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The calcium from milk helps the brain to use tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. Try pairing your milk with cherries -- they are naturally high in melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.

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It's like a big hug -- think of swaddling a baby! By providing deep pressure touch, weighted blankets can promote relaxation. This may trigger the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones produced in the brain. These hormones help combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

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DARK chocolate has serotonin in it that can help you relax... but that's NOT the case with milk chocolate - that can actually make you feel more awake.

The National Sleep Foundation says avoid chocolate before bed because it contains caffeine -- BUT their exception is WHITE chocolate... because it doesn't have therobromine and little, if any, caffeine.

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Since Himalayan salt lamps release negative ions into the air, they can improve air quality, help reduce anxiety, and also encourage a relaxing atmosphere for sleep.


"People seem to sleep best at temperatures between 62 and 70 degrees F," Dr. Alice Hoagland, director of Insomnia Services at the Unity Sleep Disorders Center in Rochester, N.Y., said.

This also makes the case for -- you guessed it -- sleeping in the nude!


Ninety minutes before bed, you should eat turkey, eggs, milk, cod, tuna, shrimp, or chamomile tea to help you sleep.

You should avoid alcohol, caffeine, high-fat foods, and spicy foods,