If you’re one of those people who can’t fall asleep because tomorrow’s tasks are trampling through your head, consider taking up a simple habit: Spend 5 minutes writing a to-do list before bed every night.

Researchers recently assigned a group of people to do just that, and they determined the practice was more helpful than spending 5 minutes writing about what you’ve accomplished during the day — a task that some researchers thought might promote positive, restful feelings.

It turns out writing down the to-do list, instead of getting the mind working and triggering anxiety, allowed people to offload the burden of tomorrow’s worries and more easily go to sleep.

Other tips (these are from the National Sleep Foundation) include:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  4. Exercise daily.
  5. Evaluate your room for sleep disturbances.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  7. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms.
  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
  9. Wind down.
  10. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  11. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to  find a sleep professional.

Sleep is so important for your mental and physical health! If you’re not getting the sleep you need, don’t procrastinate. Make a change.

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