To some, falling asleep is easy, and to others it’s a major obstacle. Sleep is imperative to your health but it’s something that tends to be ignored. Short sleep duration is linked with an increased risk of drowsy driving, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, depression, substance abuse…the list goes on. However, the benefits of sleep are endless. Do you want to improve your memory, lower inflammation, sharpen your attention span, improve athletic performance, get better grades, lose weight, lower stress, and maybe even live longer? I’d say that’s a no-brainer! So what do we do about sleep deprivation? Whether it’s making time for sleep or solving those late night tossing and turning in bed – there are solutions. Here are 4 tips to sleep your way to better health.

Everyone knows you shouldn’t drink caffeine right before bed, but what about in the afternoon? Drink your energy drinks, coffee, and tea in the morning and make the cutoff time at 2 p.m. When you go to sleep you should fall into a restorative ‘deep sleep.’ This poses a problem for those who still have caffeine in their system because they will be in the ‘light sleep’ stages.

Food is extremely important when it comes to sleep. You know to avoid a big meal before bed but if you’re lying there and your stomach is insisting you eat something, don’t head for the bag of chips. There are foods that actually help you sleep. What are these magical sleep super foods you ask? Try eating something like a small portion of Greek yogurt with banana slices. The yogurt gives you protein and tryptophan and the banana gives you carbs and tryptophan. The amino acid tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin in the brain, which helps promote sleep.

Get some tech free sleep and turn off your phone! We’ve all had those nights of deep sleep suddenly interrupted by a vibrating phone. For some it’s no problem getting back to sleep but for others it’s the point of no return. But that’s only the first problem with phones. There are studies that say exposure to artificial light tricks your brain into staying awake. So instead of getting in bed, turning-off the lights, and scrolling through your social media accounts, just save the latter for the morning.

For those who stay up all night with a million thoughts running through your head…relax. Find things that help calm your mind and body. Maybe it’s writing a to-do list and adding your worries on there as well. Leave the piece of paper on the kitchen counter for the morning, which btw is the best time to handle stress. Or listen to some soothing music and let the stress melt away.

When it comes to sleep, time and quality are the two most important factors. Sleep is beneficial to your health and it’s time to make it a priority.