We know, we know--you THINK we're going to say exercise. Or eating more fruits and veggies. And, of course, working out and a healthier diet can make for better z's. As can cutting caffeine in the late afternoon--and switching off the TV, phone, and laptop an hour before you go to bed.
But there's another great thing you can do to snooze more restfully at night, according to a recent study: start getting involved with others in your community--whether you volunteer, go to a house of worship, or just participate in organized activities.
Researchers from the University of Missouri looked at five-year data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, and studied the sleeping habits of people ages 62 to 91. They found that those who attended religious services and volunteered, in particular, slept more soundly: They woke up fewer times in the night, and when they did wake up, they drifted off much sooner.
The researchers cautioned that the data couldn't tell them whether people were sleeping better because they already were more active--or whether joining something THEN made them better snoozers. That will be the subject of another study.
Until then, it certainly doesn't hurt to take part in what's going on in your community. It may help the quality of your shut-eye. And if it doesn't, it'll still help your soul!
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