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Answer These 5 Easy Sleep Questions

Photo: Paramount Pictures/PhotoFest
Stress, overstimulation: A lot of things can prevent a good, healthy night’s sleep—and a bad one can affect health, including weight. Before it gets chronic, try this quiz.

1. Am I not sleeping because I’m worried about not sleeping?

An obsessive worry loop can reprogram your brain to associate your bed with insomnia. “If you can’t sleep, get out of bed,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology. “Lying there worrying will only make things worse.” Try reading a book (not a glowing e-reader or tablet) on the couch.

2. Can I tweet about The Daily Show from bed?

Not surprisingly, people sleep best in a calming environment. Researchers recommend devoting bedrooms only to relaxing activities—no TVs, smartphones, computers, or work.

3. What’s the ideal pre-bedtime routine?

An hour of winding down before bed relaxes your mind and readies it for sleep. Adults, like youngsters, can benefit from a routine. Going to bed at around the same time, taking a warm shower or bath, and turning off bright lights and screens are all important strategies, says David Randall, author of Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.

4. Do I need an expensive mattress?

If that’s what your taste and budget allow. Randall cites a study that concluded people sleep best on a mattress they are used to. “There’s no standard that’s comfortable for everyone. It’s a matter of your own muscles and body type,” he says.

5. Can I get a nap, please?

Naps, done right, can be rejuvenating and shouldn’t interfere with bedtime. “Naps help you become more competent mentally and physically,” Randall says. What’s the ideal amount of naptime? As little as 15 minutes, but no more than an hour, since you might fall into a deep sleep and wake up groggy.