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You could make the argument that the United States has a collective sleep deficit. According to Gallup, “Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942.” This is problematic because sleep deprivation can have a host of negative side effects such as memory problems, impaired judgment and even heart disease. If you’re a person who struggles to get to sleep, here are four methods to get a better night’s rest.

1. Minimize Screen Time Before Bed

Watching TV or using a computer, tablet or smartphone tends to stimulate the brain. This makes it harder to wind down for the night and transition to sleep. Therefore, it’s suggested to avoid these types of activities before you go to bed. Sleep.org recommends to power down devices at least 30 minutes beforehand.

A better alternative is to read. Fiction books help get your mind away from your responsibilities, duties, etc., which tends to make for a nice transition from being awake to sleeping.

2. Minimize Food and Drinks

It’s important that your body has enough time to digest food before going to bed. Otherwise it can interfere with sleep and potentially lead to weight gain. Health.com suggests having dinner at least two hours before you go to bed. When it comes to drinks, avoid caffeinated beverages. The only exception would be teas (like chamomile) that are specifically designed to help you relax.

3. The Smell of Lavender

One study found participants who slept in a lavender-scented room slept 20 percent better. Researchers also found they slept more soundly and were more energized the next morning. This is a simple, yet effective way to get a deeper sleep.

4. Hot Bath

When it comes to relaxing, it’s hard to beat a hot bath before bedtime. Medical research has found there is a correlation between taking a hot bath and better sleep with fewer disturbances. The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine states it’s best to take a hot bath about 60 – 90 minutes before bedtime for the best results.

Not getting enough sleep can really take its toll. If it’s something you struggle with, trying one or more of these methods should help you get a better night’s rest to help your next day’s energy level.

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