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This Simple Sleep Habit Might Be the Secret to Better Grades

Whether you are a student, or if it’s your children who need to get better grades, USA Today suggests that improved sleep habits might be the answer to better performance in school. In fact, Harvard researchers found that simply getting on a regular sleep schedule — going to sleep and waking at about the same times every day — was all it took to improve grades.

Interestingly, an irregular schedule can also lead to sleep deprivation. A simple test can help you determine whether that’s the case: Lie down in your darkened bedroom in early afternoon; hold a spoon over a metal tray placed on the floor, noting the time; when you fall asleep and the spoon hits the tray and you wake, immediately note the time. If you feel asleep within five minutes, it means you’re severely sleep deprived.

Other signs that you may be sleep deprived include always feeling hungry — and thereby gaining weight. Memory loss, difficulty in making decisions, a slowed reaction time, frequent illnesses and nodding off during the day also signal sleep problems.

To address these issues, as the Harvard study found, getting up at the same time every morning, and subsequently going to bed at about the same time every night will get you on a sleep schedule that your body can count on. But before you go to bed, be sure to remove electronic devices from the bedroom and turn off all screens at least an hour before bed, including TV, computers, mobile phone and all social media.

I would add, though, that perhaps the most important natural "trick" of all for improving your sleep is to make sure you're getting proper exposure to bright light during the day and no exposure to blue light at night. In the morning, bright, blue light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it's time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it's time to sleep.
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