Chicago Tribune: There are a number of research-backed strategies to beat insomnia and improve sleep quality.

Develop an exercise routine | Physical activity has been proven time and again to help people fall asleep faster and enjoy an overall improved quality of sleep. One study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2010 found that exercise — particularly a routine over sporadic bouts of working out — can be used as a non-pharmacological therapy for those struggling with sleep issues or disorders. Another study that same year found older adults who struggled with insomnia experienced improved sleep quality and a reduction in depressive symptoms and daytime sleepiness with four months of exercise training.

Go screen-free in bed | Screen time before bed can make getting to sleep challenging. While blue light from the sun during the day is good for sleep, receiving that type of light from electronic devices in the evening can interfere with sleep because it can convince your brain that it is daytime. Social media use has also had a significant impact on the sleep habits of both young adults and adults. A 2017 study published in Oxford’s academic journal Sleep found that young adults who used social media 30 minutes before bed had an increased rate of sleep disturbance compared to those who rarely checked social media in the 30 minutes leading up to bedtime. There are many things people can do to avoid blue light before bed, including avoiding screen time (and social media) for two hours before trying to get to sleep. Blue-light-blocking apps and glasses can also reduce the amount of blue light before bed. However, even reducing the amount of blue light won’t alter what’s being consumed on the screen — and the authors of that 2017 study hypothesize that in addition to the light, going on social media before bed could negatively impact sleep because of negative experiences online. Forgoing screens altogether and establishing a relaxing pre-bed routine is the safest bet. 

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