A sleep scientist reveals his 7 personal secrets to getting a good night’s rest

woman sleeping bed asleep resting peaceful shutterstock_468688070Sleep may seem like an arbitrary activity, but without it, we’d die.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get an adequate and consistent amount of sleep every night, though.

For expert tips on sleeping better, Business Insider turned to Patrick Fuller, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School who studies sleep.

Fuller gave us the lowdown on what he does to ensure a good night’s rest. 

Here are his seven recommendations, though the fact that this routine works well for him, of course, doesn’t guarantee it’ll be feasible with your lifestyle and schedule.

Julia Calderone wrote a previous version of this story.

SEE ALSO: How to function on only 4 hours of sleep

He wakes up at the same time every morning.

The problem many people have when trying fall asleep is that their sleep schedule isn’t a schedule at all, but a free-for-all.

If you wake up at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning but still try to fall asleep early that night to be up for work by 7 a.m. Monday, you’re not going to have enough "sleep drive" — or the desire to fall asleep.

"When people get up later and later, they have less sleep drive and they think, I can’t sleep I have insomnia," Fuller said. "Well, no, actually your sleep drive isn’t that high."

Waking up at the same time every morning is one of the most important things you can do to get a good night’s sleep, Fuller said. 

He avoids stimulants past mid-day.

At the end of a long workday, it’s tempting to turn to that late afternoon latte to power you through. But avoid that espresso machine at all costs.

Caffeine has a long half-life, meaning that it takes up to six hours to wear off, so resist the urge to slurp sodas, coffees, and teas later in the day.

Fuller skips coffee altogether and goes with a much less jolting green tea in the morning, which can have about half as much caffeine as a cup of drip coffee.

"I just prefer tea," Fuller said. "I love the smell of coffee, it just has too much caffeine for me."

He only drinks a little bit at around mid-morning, and never drinks it after noon.

He gets at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise during the day.

Exercise is like a magical tonic that can help prevent a variety of ills such as stress, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, dementia, and more.

It’s also great for sleep. Studies have shown that morning and afternoon workouts can increase a person’s quality and amount of sleep at night.

But try not to do strenuous exercise right before bedtime, as it can boost your body temperature and activate your muscles, making it harder to fall asleep shortly after.

Fuller said that he tries to get in some form of activity every day, even if it’s just running stairs or taking a quick jog for 20 to 30 minutes.

"Maintaining some level of physical activity is really important," Fuller said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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