If you’re waking up exhausted, here are five scientifically proven ways to help you sleep better tonight…

Surviving on only a few hours of sleep of night is just that – surviving.

Studies have found that not getting enough sleep increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart problems, makes one more prone to weight gain, easier to anger, anxious and depressed and can increase your risk of a car accident by 33%.

If you want to thrive, you need to have seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Sometimes, it feels like that’s easier said than done.

As a night owl and a working mother, I understand the struggle to get enough sleep. But there is no excuse, especially after international research by the Universities of Birmingham and Surrey in the UK and Monash University in Australia found that it is possible for even for extreme night owls to transform themselves into early birds. On the flip side, women who hit the hay and get up earlier are happier and healthier.

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So, if you want to change your life, forget about the diet and start by improving your sleep routine first. Here are five proven ways to help improve your quality of sleep…

1. Skip the nightcap and bin the smokes

We know that smoking is bad news and alcohol is carcinogenic, but now there is even more reason to quit.

A study from Florida Atlantic University found that smoking or drinking an alcoholic beverage within four hours of going to bed resulted in sleep disruption.

The study also found that the effects of nicotine may be particularly significant among individuals with insomnia.

2.  Work up a sweat

Go for an evening walk or run.

Research has found that when people exercised in the evening, they spent 21,2% of their sleeping time in deep restorative sleep, in contrast to 19,9% when no evening exercise was done.

If you want to do a HITT workout, go for it. Another study found that 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise performed in the early evening does not negatively affect sleep and may even reduce feelings of hunger.

Night owls: 8 Tweaks to retrain your body clock and improve your life

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.