By Laura Vanderkam, MoneyWatch.com
A new study out of McGill University in Canada found that kids who got an extra 27 minutes of sleep per night were better behaved. Perhaps you’re thinking that you’d be better behaved, too, if you got an extra 27 minutes of sleep. The good news is that getting more sleep is just as simple as it sounds: You have to carve out more time in your schedule for being in bed. Ready to try? Here’s how to make that happen:
1. Keep track of your time. Puttering around in the evening is a close to universal problem. We need time to unwind, but let’s not kid ourselves. We don’t need to unwind from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. That’s futzing away the equivalent of a part-time job. Simply being aware of this puttering is often enough to limit the damage.
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2. Kick the late night TV habit. Everything about television is designed to keep you watching to the next show. If you have a favorite program (like The Daily Show), record it and watch it around 9 o’clock or so, then turn the TV off. Jon Stewart doesn’t tape his show at 11 p.m., so why should you watch it then?
3. Turn other devices off, too. At bedtime, all electronic devices other than your Kindle should go down for the night. Resist the urge to check email. Let’s put it this way: Most messages coming in at 10:30 p.m. aren’t going to help you sleep better.
4. Don’t clean the house. Contrary to popular perception, the house does not have to be clean before you go to bed. It will just get dirty again the next morning, but you’ll never get that sleep time back. Ask yourself why you’re picking up the toys and straightening the pillows. Do you think there will be an 11 p.m. inspection?
5. Give yourself a bedtime. The way the McGill study induced kids to get more sleep was changing their bedtime. You can change your own bedtime, too. You don’t have to sleep, but challenging yourself to be in bed at a certain time — ideally 7-8 hours before your alarm needs to go off — greatly increases the chances that you will get 7-8 hours of sleep.
6. Exercise earlier in the day. A vigorous workout does wonders for actually making you tired by the time bedtime rolls around.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.