The Blog

5 Easy Steps to a Better Night's Sleep

If you're one of the millions of Americans tossing and turning every night, try these Oz-approved tips and tricks to help you get the sleep you deserve.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

If you're one of the millions of Americans tossing and turning every night, try these Oz-approved tips and tricks to help you get the sleep you deserve. While bad sleep can exacerbate health problems like diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety and even heart disease, you can reverse the damage by following this simple action plan. Learn how to wake up well-rested and improve your vitality in just five steps!

Start Your Day With an Omega-Rich Breakfast
Want to sleep well? Start your day with omega-3s! These healthy fats lower anxiety and help your body produce the hormones you need to sleep at night. Get your daily dose by adding a couple tablespoons of chia seeds, flaxseeds or walnuts to your breakfast. Aim for 600 mg or about four tablespoons of flaxseeds a day.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Coffee is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, but drinking it in the afternoon can wreak havoc on your sleep. While a little caffeine is good for you, it can linger in your system for hours and keep you up long after your last cup. Protect your sleep by avoiding caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m.
Set a Kitchen Curfew
While heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime may make you feel drowsy, they actually undermine your sleep by stimulating you late at night. Instead of snoozing soundly, you'll wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Avoid this by setting a kitchen curfew! Close the kitchen at 7 p.m. and stop snacking.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Research shows that insomniacs have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers. You can’t maintain your sleep if you’re too hot, so cool down by keeping your bedroom between 65 and 67 degrees.
Replace Pills With Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Skip sleeping pills! While they may seem like a smart idea at the time, they can cause dependency, prolonged drowsiness and overeating. Instead, opt for an all-natural sleep-better solution: progressive muscle relaxation. Systematically tensing and relaxing your muscles signals to your brain it's time to go to sleep and helps distract you from anxieties that may be keeping you up. For beginners, try listening to this guided muscle relaxation from sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus.