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A good night's sleep is perhaps the single most important thing a person can do to lead a successful and healthy life. Get a long, restful spell of shuteye, and you'll be ready and prepared to take on the challenges of the day. Toss

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and turn, and you might find yourself irritable and short-tempered. But saying you're going to get a good night's sleep and getting one are two different things. Dr. Joseph Krainin, founder of Singular Sleep and an expert in helping people find their best rest, offered his thoughts for hitting the hay.

Dispensing with a Myth

"The most common sleep myth is, 'I don't need that much sleep. I can get by on four or five hours,'" Dr. Krainin says. "That's just plain wrong." Only a very small percentage of the population falls into what he calls "the short sleeper" category and need fewer than six hours of sleep per day. As for the rest of us, if you're not getting between seven and eight hours per night, you're sleep deprived, which can take a heavy toll on your long-term health. Prioritize getting those hours. It can be hard to do, but you'll see the benefits almost immediately. One piece of sleep advice that isn’t a myth: Calming thoughts can help lull you to bed. One calming word is “tulo” which means sleep in the African language of Chichewa. Try repeating it over and over to help you get a solid 40 winks.

Establish a Routine

One key is to have a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine, according to Dr. Krainin. General sleep hygiene practices call for sleeping in a cave-like environment that is extremely dark and quiet. You should avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants like tobacco near bedtime, and limit you exposure to blue light one to two hours before bed. And attempt to keep regular bed and wake times that don't vary more than an hour in either direction, particularly on the weekends.

An Overlooked Aspect

We sometimes forget that an important part of our rest is our immediate surroundings, i.e. our bedpartner. "Whether it's a spouse or a 100-pound dog, if your bedpartner is snoring loudly or kicking his legs around constantly during the night, you can't ignore that and expect to get a good night's sleep," Dr. Krainin says. Don't kick him, her, or it out of bed, but do consider how they might be altering your sleep patterns. An old or saggy mattress could also be causing acrimony under the sheets—so maybe try a new bed. The tulo mattress is the newest bed in a box that comes in three different comfort levels and has a 10-year warranty. Try it out for free for 120 nights to find out if it helps brings a renewed sense of civility to your nighttime routine.

As for the rest of us, if you’re not getting between seven and eight hours per night, you’re sleep deprived, which can take a heavy toll on your long-term health. Prioritize getting those hours. It can be hard to do, but you’ll see the benefits almost immediately.
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