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Why Sleep makes you look and feel younger

Poor quality sleep, sleep debt, and sleep disorders are all linked to a shorter life span. Of course most of us know that we need more sleep- the problem is figuring out how to get it.

We don't really think of sleep as an activity, but that's exactly what it is. In fact, it's the most restorative activity you can perform. You need that rejuvenating time to set your internal biological clock, regulate your appetite, consolidate and heal your memories, and refresh your mood.

Here are a five sleep tips to help you get your Sleeping Beauty on!

Bringing restfulness into your bedtime space promotes a better night's sleep. Begin by making the next day's-to-do-list. Then put the list aside. That way, you'll feel more peaceful about tomorrow, and you'll leave behind some of the mental effort that keeps you in vigilance-anticipation mode. After that, you're ready for a bedtime ritual. Here are five rituals to support maximun tranquilty and relaxation.

  1. Spend 5 minutes in transition: breathing, meditating, or reading. The century-old practice of reading a book before bed can also help transition from an overly active

mind to a state of absorbed attention. The transfer of focus away from self and to the content of the book can quiet the mind-provided that the book is not too exciting.

  1. Listen to soothing music. Soothing music calms your nervous system and your mind, and it sends a signal to start transitioning into a state of rest. The Spotify app offers several bedtime playlists, including "Bedtime Bach" (for lovers of classical music).

  2. Set a mood for relaxation. Use essential oils, light a candle (soy based non toxic) and dim the lights. When our environments are restful and peaceful, so are we. Calming scents like lavender, cedar, or sandalwood are soothing for our entire system and brain. Reducing artificial light and then turning off the lights completely, is a must for becoming restful enough to sleep.

  3. Brew warm herbal tea an hour or more before bed. A warm, scented mug of tea will help you wind down from your day. Try making your own blend of herbal tea from chamomile, lavender, rose petals, and a slice of fresh lemon or ginger. Don't drink the tea right before bed or sleep might be disrupted by a bathroom break.

  4. Perform bedtime stretches or do some gentle yoga. Simple head and neck rolls will help melt the tension and anxiety from the day.

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