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  1. Stop work and turn off devices. Finish work-related tasks and switch off electronics, including your phone, at least one hour before bed, preferably two. This allows your mind to wind down and protects your eyes from the stimulating effects of blue light that digital devices emit. Blue light mimics morning sun and triggers wakefulness.
  2. Stay away from the bedroom. When you avoid spending time in the bedroom during the hour before bed, it helps create a stronger association between that room and sleep. Try to maintain that room as a sanctuary reserved only for sleep and sex. Keep it simple, uncluttered, and free from anything work-related, as well as televisions and other electronics.
  3. Dim the lights. During the final hours of the day, keep the lights as low as possible. You might even use candles. Darkness before bed can do amazing things for your natural sleepiness.
  4. Practice at least one soothing activity. Read a book, do some journaling or coloring, listen to quiet music, or spend time in prayer or meditation. Take warm baths or showers at least one hour before bed so that your body is in the cooling-down phase at bedtime.
  5. Be on time, but flexible. Go to bed when you’re sleepy — but not before. It’s OK if that occasionally means you’re retiring a bit later than usual. You want to associate bedtime with sleeping, not lying there restlessly trying to get to sleep.

This was excerpted from “Fresh Start” which was published in the September 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Henry Emmonds
Henry Emmons, MD

Henry Emmons, MD is an integrative psychiatrist and the author of The Chemistry of Joy, The Chemistry of Calm, and Staying Sharp. He is the cofounder of

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