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11 tips for better sleep

Sleep expert Michael Chee urges Singaporeans to sleep longer and enjoy its benefits. Chee, who is the director of Duke-NUS Medical School's Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, says, this is in society's own interest as sleep loss exacts an economic cost through earlier deaths, increased incidence of disease and absenteeism.

Here's how much sleep you need:

•Stick to a schedule with the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.

•Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.

•Exercise daily but don't do so three to four hours before sleep.

•Avoid alcohol and heavy meals about two to three hours before sleep.

•Your last caffeinated drink should be consumed before noon.

•Short naps (15 to 30 minutes) can be helpful. Longer naps might affect night-time sleep.

•Avoid using electronic devices at least about an hour before going to bed.

•Spend the last hour before sleep doing a calming activity.

•Sleep in a cool, quiet and dark room. Use a comfortable mattress and pillows.

•Speak to a doctor or sleep professional if you still have trouble sleeping or feel unrefreshed after getting the recommended hours of sleep.

•Cultivate good sleep habits from a young age.

Source: National Sleep Foundation; Dr Toh Song Tar, director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at SGH, and senior consultant at SGH's department of otolaryngology

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'Don't sleep on it - discover benefits of snoozing longer'.

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