8 simple, science-backed tricks to get better sleep

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have distractions keeping us up at night, or end up hitting the snooze button repeatedly in the morning.

But these days, with hectic work and family schedules and essentially unlimited hours of shows to stream, a good night’s sleep can be hard to come by.

Luckily, a few simple lifestyle changes can help you reverse this trend.

The eight sleep tips in the graphics below are based on actual scientific research, conducted to discover what works best for humans (not mice or monkeys).

Decrease your screen time

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The blue light emitted by your devices can disrupt your sleep, so try not to watch TV, go on the computer or be on your phone within two hours of your bedtime. That light also messes with our production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.

Sources: Sleep Medicine, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Chest, Environmental Health Perspectives

Skip the pick-me up

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Caffeine takes five to six hours to wear off, so resist drinking coffee or soda later in the day.

Source: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

Wake up at the same time every day

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If you vary when you wake up by more than two hours, you could be more likely to gain weight and feel more stressed.

Source: Science News

Control your light exposure

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Make sure you wake up to natural light and limit light exposure at night. This helps control your levels of melatonin.

Sources: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Sleep Foundation

Have sex

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Make sure you orgasm, though, because climaxing releases the protein prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Sex can also decrease the hormone cortisol, which lowers stress levels.

Source: Biological Psychology

Don't eat within three hours of bedtime

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Your body takes longer to digest food than that, and if you eat too close to bedtime you're likely to have restless sleep.

Sources: Appetite, Oregon State University

Limit your alcohol intake

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Booze can negatively affect your REM cycle, making you toss and turn in your deepest stage of sleep.

Source: Sleep Foundation

Exercise in the morning

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If you work out before bed, your body may not have time to cool down (energy- and temperature- wise) before it's time to go to sleep.

Source: Sleep Foundation

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