Health + Behavior

What you need to know about sleep

Dr. Alon Avidan of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center on how to get the rest you need

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Dr. Alon Avidan, a professor of neurology and director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, offers these tips for getting better sleep:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine too close to bedtime, as they disrupt sleep architecture and lead to fragmented sleep. 
  • Use light exposure to your advantage. Light is the most important circadian cue, so it’s critical to limit exposure to bright light during the evening. This means no computers, TVs or tablets at least two hours before bedtime. And get plenty of sun exposure in the morning, so you’ll feel alert during the day and be sleepy by nightfall.
  • Avoid excessive naps, except for a brief 15- to 20-minute snooze between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., if you need it. Excessive napping may take away the drive for sleep at night.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, well-ventilated and at a comfortable, slightly cooler temperature throughout the night.
  • Create a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a pleasant book or listening to soothing music.
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