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If you are feeling irritable and fatigued lately, chances are that you are not getting enough sleep. Many factors can stop us from getting enough rest at night such as, work, family responsibilities, school, relationship problems, sickness and stress. Getting quality sleep turns into an unattainable dream in such instances but in reality, this is not so.

It can be difficult to control all factors that negatively affect our sleep, but it is possible to adopt positive habits that will help us sleep better:

1. Practice good sleep hygiene

Create an environment which is suitable for sleeping. This means that you have to ensure the room is cool or not too stuffy, dark, quiet and peaceful. You can consider using earplugs, dark curtains and an air conditioner to create an ideal sleeping space.
Make sure your pillow and mattress aren’t affecting your sleep. A hard pillow or mattress can cause neck strain and back pain so make sure everything is soft and comfortable.

2. Never work where you sleep

If you turn your bed into a working space, chances are that you will be up in the middle of the night going through emails and catching up with some extra work.

3. Switch off all light-creating electronics

Your cell phone and laptop create something called a blue light which has been known to disrupt sleep. Make sure you switch off your TV, mobile phone and laptop an hour or 30 minutes before going to sleep to ensure that your mind is relaxed. You can distract yourself with a soothing bath right before bedtime so that you sleep more comfortably.

4. Stick to a schedule

If you sleep at the same time 7 days of the week, even on holidays, you create a proper sleep-cycle for your body which will ensure that you sleep better at night. However, if you find it too difficult to fall asleep within 15 minutes in bed, instead of forcing and stressing yourself, get up and do something that would relax you such as reading a book or getting a bath (strictly, no cell phones!).

5. Try to limit naps

People with insomnia or those suffering from sleep deprivation often choose to nap frequently during the day. This does not only affect your work, but your body and health too. If you need a power nap, restrict yourself to 10 to 30 during midafternoon only.

If you have night shifts, make sure you follow a proper sleep regimen during the day. You can use dark curtains to block out sunlight and earplugs to eliminate noise while you sleep.

6. Focus on what you eat

Going to bed on an empty stomach is just as bad as sleeping while you’re stuffed. The discomfort will keep you up and most probably cause stress too. Make sure you limit your water intake before bed too to reduce the need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as they disrupt sleep.

7. Exercise regularly

Regular exertion promotes better sleep. You fall asleep much faster and enjoy quality sleep. Make sure you avoid exercising close to bedtime as exercise can actually make you feel too energetic to rest.

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