By Nicole Yorio
Before you kick up your feet and turn on the TV, try these smart ways to unplug without vegging out.
1. Prep for tomorrow. Create an end-of-day routine so you wake up the next morning with fewer to-do's, says Matthew Edlund, M.D., author of The Power of Rest. Take a quick shower, lay out your clothes, make your lunch, leave your keys and purse by the door, set the breakfast table, program the coffee maker…whatever puts your mind at ease.
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2. Don't drift. Bust out of the "it's 11 p.m. already?" time warp by setting a recurring alarm on your cell an hour before bed as a reminder to chill out, says Tucson, AZ-based sleep expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D. That way, you'll be on time to bed. "Conking out at the same time every night strengthens your circadian rhythms, so you'll fall asleep more easily and get a better rest," he says.
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3. Just unplug. Shut your laptop and stop staring at your smartphone. The light from these gadgets decreases melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, Naiman says. Instead, read or catch up (wink, wink) with your guy. Couples with the most physical contact often have the lowest levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a Swiss study.
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