You know you feel better after a good night’s sleep — now science proves it. Brazilian researchers report you’re five times more likely to feel calmer and happier the next day. Here’s how to get your best rest tonight.
Can’t drift off? Spritz your sheets.
Cozying up in lightly scented sheets helps 64 percent of women drift off more quickly by prompting the release of relaxing alpha brain waves, recent research shows. Study author Jean Dyer, PhD, reveals some of the most soothing aromas are bergamot, sandalwood, mandarin, and frankincense. To do: Combine 10 drops of essential oil and 1/2 cup of witch hazel in a spray bottle and spritz your bedding right before lights out.
Toss and turn? Try this chamomile.
To cut your risk of restless sleep in half, try taking 300 mg. to 400 mg. of a standardized chamomile extract daily. According to researchers at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University, this herb contains a compound (apigenin) that acts like a safe, natural form of Valium — and chamomile supplements contain at least three times more of this sleep-inducer than the herbal tea! Try: Nature’s Way ($9.57, Walmart). Note: Check with your doctor before taking supplements.
Feeling worried? Outsmart the stress.
Before bed, spend 10 minutes coloring, mending, or working on a puzzle: Cornell researchers say low-stress, high-focus tasks calm the brain’s alertness center, helping you drift off 55 percent faster.
Awake too early? Step outside in the AM.
Head outdoors for 20 minutes before noon — even if the skies are gray — and you could sleep 35 percent longer and more soundly, suggests research in the Journal of Sleep Research. Explains study co-author Mark Peltonen, PhD, morning exposure to UV light resets your biological clock, and that prompts your brain to produce sleep-inducing melatonin for much longer during the night.
Getting up to go? Take magnesium.
Some 65 percent of us regularly get up for nightly bathroom treks. To cut those wake-up calls in half, take 1 Tbsp. of magnesium-rich milk of magnesia at bedtime. Magnesium relaxes the muscles lining the bladder and urethra, Canadian researchers.
Want to wake up happy? Wear this wristband.
Sea-Bands ($6.68, Amazon) — acupressure wristbands proven to calm motion sickness — could help you sleep 61 percent more soundly, Italian researchers say. Embedded buttons stimulate acupoints that halt stress hormone release.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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