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Have you ever had trouble falling asleep just before an important day when you have to wake up early to get to a meeting at work or your kid’s first day at school or something just as significant? At those moments when you are tossing and turning at 1 am it seems impossible to fall asleep and you are hoping that you will start feeling drowsy sooner or later.

Unfortunately, the more you focus on falling asleep and the more you think about your obligations the next day, the harder it will be.

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You might be thinking, well I could just avoid sleeping tonight and do get a good rest when I come back from work. This might seem like a good idea, but after a few hours at work, you won’t be thinking the same. The human body must get a good rest throughout the night, so it can have enough energy for the next day. It has to be prepared for all your physical and psychological strains, driving through the city, sitting 8 hours at work, cooking dinner for your family and so on.

Before we tell you about all the things you could do to achieve better slumber at night, we should first tell you about all the benefits you can get from a good rest.

Here are some of those benefits:

Improved memory

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The human brain is certainly something amazing that cannot be replicated in any other way except millions of years of evolution. Let’s say for example that tomorrow you have an exam at your university and you have been studying all night. Believe or not, it is better that you go to sleep earlier instead of staying up a couple more hours studying. While your body is resting (sleeping), your brain is actually still working and mostly processing your memories and your emotions.

This whole process is called consolidation. To explain it simply, it is the act where the brain collects memories from your short term “storage” and transfers it to the long term “storage”. This way, you will not have any trouble remembering everything that you have read that night. This process only happens when your body and mind enter REM sleep.

Improved mood

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While your mind is working on all those memories it is also processing all your emotions that happened throughout your previous day. It needs some “alone” time to understand and react to the emotions you have accumulated. So, if you do not get enough sleep through the day, you do not give your brain enough time to properly process your feelings which means you end up with a more negative mood.

Better focus

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It is been proven that without enough sleep, your brain does not have enough energy to process all the information that you receive which results in less focus and more difficult to pay attention. People who do not get enough time to rest through the night tend to be more impulsive, hyperactive and easily lose focus.

Now that you understand how much your mind and your body can benefit from a good night’s sleep, here are some of the things you can do to improve it.

Create a better resting environment

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If you want to achieve the perfect slumber, you can just turn on your TV at maximum volume and keep all of your lights on. Normally this affects you negatively, so you will have to do something to your room to get a cooler, quieter and a darker environment. Ensure that you have good isolation from the outside noises, if you can’t, try using earplugs at night to keep sounds at bay. Try getting blackout blinds to reduce how much lighting goes through your windows and shut off any light you can find.

You could also buy yourself a new memory foam mattress and pillows to make your slumber much more comfortable than before. A good mattress and pillow might also prevent any problems with your neck and back that might happen in the future. According to a post on sleepingninjas.com, organic mattresses are resistant to mold and bacteria which can help you get better sleep.

You do not have to do all of these changes at once as your body and brain have to readjust to a different environment. We recommend that you try one of these things, one by one and see which one helps you the most.

Avoid drinking caffeine at night

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You probably already know that drinking coffee helps you stay awake throughout the day so by following that logic, you should probably avoid drinking coffee after 6 or 7 PM. After consuming late-night caffeine, you will probably want to get some rest, but unfortunately, your whole body will be working at 100%, your blood pumping, hundreds of thoughts running through your mind.

If you are a smoker, we recommend that you also avoid smoking cigarettes (or any kind of tobacco) as it can also affect your sleeping schedule.

You may be wondering, does alcohol help with a good rest since you always doze off pretty quickly when you have had a couple of drinks. While this might be true, alcohol does make you feel a bit drowsy, but it does dehydrate you which may results in continuous awakenings, reducing your overall quality of sleep.

Create a routine

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Another way you can help your body to get prepared for rest is to create a routine that will hint that it is time for bed. For example, before you get to bed you take a quick bath, watch some TV, play some games on your computer or do some yoga. Anything would help, but make sure you are consistent and you do it every single time before you get to bed. By creating such a routine, your body will readjust and after you finish your activity, it will be prepared for slumber.

Avoid doing activities that might be too physically or emotionally stressful. You cannot expect to fall asleep right after you have gone through a serious workout of lifting weights.

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