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Sleepyhead.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt more tired than when you went to sleep? You’re not alone: It's estimated that 41 million American workers don't get enough sleep. Sleep is vital to help your brain function clearly and productively. Try these four things tonight to be your best tomorrow. 

1. E-Curfew: 30 minutes before you sleep. Tablets, phones, laptops, televisions and anything else that plugs into an outlet are bad before bed. A study by Applied Ergonomics showed that the brightness from iPad screens, when set to the brightest setting, can suppress melatonin by 22%, which can fake your body into thinking it’s morning when it’s really night. 

2. Eat breakfast early in the morning. This is one we've heard our whole lives, but a lot of people don't heed this advice. The bottom line is that people who eat breakfast are smarter and hotter. A study of 6,000 students found that the ones who ate breakfast had better grades and higher graduation rates. Breakfast eaters are also 40% less likely to develop fat around the belly than those you don't. Eating a protein-and-whole-grain-packed breakfast as close as possible to your wake-up time will keep you alert and focused throughout the day.

3. Cut caffeine out after lunch. A poll from Sleep in America stated that 43% of Americans are “very likely” to use coffee to fight afternoon sleepiness.  Late afternoon caffeine boosts can last anywhere from 3 to 12 hours and make it tough to fall and stay asleep. 

4. Exercise! But not close to your bedtime. A study done in 2009 by Oregon State University showed that people who exercised regularly - at least 20 minutes of cardio a day - slept better at night than those who didn’t. But do it three hours or more before bed, as the adrenaline rush may disrupt your sleep.

(Adapted from an article in Men's Fitness by Jennifer Cohen)

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