6 easy ways to get a better night’s sleep, according to Science

If you’ve ever lived with someone who snores, you know firsthand how a lack of sleep can negatively affect your day. You are tired, irritable, and not functioning anywhere near your best. This goes for anyone who misses a much-needed nap—snorer or not. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re getting the ideal amount of sleep for your body, whether that’s creating the most comfortable bedroom possible or having a melatonin-rich evening snack. Mental Floss and Cheribundi have teamed up to share these six simple tips—all backed by science—to maximize and improve your rest.

Imagine walking into a soothing, cool room in the evening, surrounded by relaxing colors and floating on a cloud of pillows, blankets and a super comfy bed. It sounds like heaven—and it could be your reality. If you turn your bedroom into a sleep haven, your brain will begin to recognize that it’s time for bed as soon as you walk in the door. Set the temperature to about 65°F, the optimal temperature for sleep. Paint the walls in a color that relaxes you. Put the electronics away. Keep your room tidy and use the mattress, pillows and blankets you find most comfortable. Your bedding should be made of natural fibers that breathe. Then you’ll be counting down the minutes until bed.

We all know we shouldn’t drink too much caffeine before bed, but avoiding alcohol is also a good idea. That glass of wine may make you feel relaxed in the short term, but overall it will make your REM cycle more difficult. When it comes to food, don’t go to bed too full or on a completely empty stomach. If you’re crammed or starving, you’ll have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep because you’re uncomfortable. Eat a little before bed if you need to, and try not to eat too much for dinner or eat too late.

Not necessary sunbathe sunbathe, but try to get at least some natural sunlight in the morning after you wake up. Natural light suppresses melatonin, so some sun exposure will help you start your day refreshed and shake off any lingering drowsiness from sleep. As it gets later in the day, try to avoid standing in sunlight for a long period of time so as not to discourage your body from producing melatonin in preparation for sleep. Getting some sun in the morning also helps you stay more awake throughout the day, which means you’ll be better prepared for sleep when you go to bed.

Doing 300 sit-ups right before bed is definitely not conducive to rest, so make time for exercise in your morning or afternoon routine. Studies show that an exercise routine during the day improves the quality of your sleep that night, but don’t feel like you need to start hitting the gym every day for an hour if you don’t normally exercise. You can do small things to add more physical activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or walking to the grocery store and carrying your bags back instead of driving. Also, make sure you get up for a few minutes at least once an hour; don’t just sit at your desk all day without a break. A less sedentary lifestyle is your ticket to a restful night.

Melatonin is a bit of a buzz word with sleep, but there’s a good reason: it works. The hormone produced in the pineal gland has an almost hypnotic effect, lowering body temperature and calming you down, creating optimal mental and physiological conditions for sleep. Even if you work a night shift, melatonin can help you sleep—no matter where the sun is in the sky. Melatonin is sold in supplements and you can add foods that contain it to your dinner diet. Tart cherries have one of the highest concentrations of melatonin of any fruit (and they are one of the few fruits where it occurs naturally). Nuts, eggs, and fish are other great options.

If we can learn anything from children, it’s that a bedtime ritual helps us fall asleep. Set a regular bedtime, then, about an hour before you want to go to sleep, start to wind down. You don’t need someone to snuggle up with you and read you a story (unless you’re really into that), but try turning off your phone (it emits blue light that disrupts your circadian rhythms), drinking a cup of herbal tea, or reading . Almost any activity that helps your mind wind down from the day would be a good option.

A good night’s sleep is vital to your physical and mental health, and one way to get the rest your body needs is with the help of melatonin. Cheribundi tart cherry juice is full of that powerful antioxidant that is scientifically proven to promote deeper, more restful sleep. In addition to melatonin, tart cherries also include antioxidants and phytonutrients that studies show reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after exercise. Cheribundi was established 20 years ago and today is used by nearly 400 professional and collegiate sports teams in the United States.

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