Health

A Sleep Expert Says the Secret to Snoozing Involves Your Thermostat

So you’re struggling to stay awake these days. We don’t blame you. Research suggests the pandemic has led to a wave of insomnia for Americans everywhere.

During this week’s Friday Sessions, we spoke to Dr. Chris Winter, M.D., a sleep specialist, neurologist, and sports medicine expert (and author of The Sleep Solution) who said the first thing to realize is that there’s no magic cure for bad sleep. “There’s this sort of message that any sleep problem can be fixed by a better mattress, a softer pillow, high-tech pajamas,” he said.

In reality, it’s more complicated than that. Simple things, like exercise and cutting down on alcohol, can help improve the quality of your sleep, but to forge great sleep requires routine. “Having a set schedule really helps your brain really understand when it’s time to dream,” he said. That might mean falling asleep at the same time every night, or simply having the same nightly rituals before you wind up in bed.

Another tactic: mindfulness. A 2014 study by the University of Zurich found that participants who listened to the hypnotic suggestion, “sleep deeper,” before sleeping actually improved their sleep duration. Dr. Winter said reciting a similar mantra might benefit you, too.

And if you’re still struggling, another easy fix: drop the temperature of your room by a few degrees. Dr. Winter said that might also boost both the duration and quality of your sleep.

For more sleep tips, check out the full conversation below:

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