Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photography by Kate Warren Cinnamon Pittman, Scott Nash, and Tracy Bernstein. Photograph by Andrew Propp Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock/Halay Alex. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock | shutterstock.com Image via Shutterstock. Illustration By Dan Page Image via Shutterstock. Photograph courtesy of FiLIP Technologies Photographs by Natalie Chitwood, Styling Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency, Makeup/Hair Patti Nelson for THE Artist Agency Illustration by Alex Green/Getty Images. Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Jeff Elkins
Image via Shutterstock/Kzenon Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock. Photograph of kitchen by Stephen Simpson/Getty Images. Photograph of mudroom by Angie Seckinger; design by Marika Meyer. Photograph by Weikerken Altema Photograph by Fuse/Getty Images Photograph by Julie Fischer McCarter Photography by Kate Warren Courtney Cox, with her kids Carter and Virginia, leads an afternoon of cookie baking in the brightly lit kitchen. Cox had the skylight built to capture even more natural light. Photography by Kip Dawkins Photograph of The Young and the Restless by Monty Brinton/CBS
Photograph of The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger by Randee St. Nicholas/TY KU/Bravo
Photograph of The Biggest Loser by Trae Patton/NBC
Photograph of Orange Is the New Black courtesy of Lionsgate
Photograph of Scandal by Richard Cartwright/ABC
Photograph of Homeland’s Claire Danes by Jim Fiscus/Showtime
Property Brothers by Caitlin Cronenberg/HGTV
Photograph of Kim Kardashian by Brian Bowen Smith/E! Entertainment
Photograph of Mark Wahlberg at Kids’ Choice Awards by Lester Cohen/WireImage/Nickelodeon
Photograph of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills by Joe Pugliese/Bravo
Photograph of Shameless courtesy of Showtime Photograph by Kate Warren Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Gary Houlder/Getty Images Image courtesy of Shutterstock | shutter stock.com Photograph by Scott Suchman
Image courtesy of Shutterstock | shutterstock.com Photograph by Scott Suchman
Photograph by Gary Houlder/Getty Images. Photograph by Dan Saelinger/Trunk Archive Photograph by Scott Suchman
Photograph by Robert Daly/Getty Images Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photography by Kip Dawkins; Styling by Marcie Blough Photograph courtesy Bloomingdale’s Photograph by Ray Kachatorian/Getty Images Photograph by Paul Bradbury/Getty Images DC Yoga Week. Photograph of Yoga class by Scott Belton. Photograph of Round HIll by Ed Foley; Lorien Hotel & Spa by Fred Licht; Salamander Resort by Jim Hanna
Photograph by Kate Warren. Image via Shutterstock.
On any given night, you go through a series of 90-minute sleep cycles, first entering light sleep, which then becomes deeper, followed by REM—rapid-eye-movement—sleep, a period associated with intense dreams. In the next 90 minutes, you experience deeper sleep, then REM sleep, and so on. To complete about five cycles—the number required for maximum cell repair—takes about seven hours (the sweet spot of sleeping). Here’s how to start getting more z’s.
Create transition time between the insanity of your day and the peace you require at night.
“Most of us don’t get any downtime until the moment we go to sleep, but we really need that to clear our minds, level ourselves, and prepare for sleep,” says Helene Emsellem, clinical professor of neurology at George Washington University and director of the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase.
Take a lavender bubble bath (or use the scent in your evening shower).
A study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the floral scent helped insomniacs sleep more soundly.
Stretch it out instead of working out.
A few yoga poses before bed can relax the mind and body, but stay away from intense or heart-rate-boosting workouts before bedtime.
Fade to black 30 minutes before bedtime.
Most of us already know that TVs, computers, and cell phones make it harder to fall asleep by keeping us distracted and by emitting blue light that suppresses the production of sleep-inducing melatonin. But limiting all light exposure, even that from a bright bedside lamp, helps the brain prepare for sleep, says Emsellem. If you’re a nighttime reader, she recommends using a light that clips onto your book, or preferably listening to a book on tape in the dark.
Turn the alarm clock away from you.
Notwithstanding the bright glow, seeing the minutes tick away can heighten anxiety about not getting enough sleep, which adds to the insomniac’s Catch-22: The more you think about the sleep you’re not getting, the less sleep you get.
Invest in blackout curtains and a white-noise machine.
The former will keep you sleeping longer, and the latter will drown out any little noises that may wake you.
Drink warm milk instead of that glass of wine.
If your goal is shuteye, skip the alcohol and make like a four-year-old. A soothing glass of warm milk can help you fall asleep, just like Mom always told you.