How to Get the Best Night's Sleep

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 08 2011 5:00 AM ET

So many of the ways in which people try and force themselves to fall asleep — alcohol, watching television, food — do nothing but exacerbate the problem. To really get a better night’s sleep, Dr. Oz offers five tips. We tried them out before passing them along.

Stop alcohol — It may make you feel tried at first, but the minute it has settled in your body, it will wake you right back up.

Light — Bedrooms should be like bat caves. Shut off the light, shut off the electronics, and close the shades. Dr. Oz says beds should be used for sleep and sex only.

Environment — The ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees. If that seems extreme, grab a blanket, because “it’s more difficult to cool down if you are hot.”

Extra Time — There is no benefit to the extra few minutes you get from hitting the snooze button. It merely restarts your sleep cycle. Ten minutes of snoozing will actually make you feel more tired than just getting out of bed.

Practice
— No art is perfected over night. It takes practice. Dr. Oz suggests that “meditation, visualizing happy images, and counting backwards are all methods you can use to coax your body into relaxing.”

In addition, if TV, music or reading are all activities that help you to zone out, take it outside the bedroom. Too many electronic distractions while in bed actually force your brain awake and trick it into thinking it’s time to be up.