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Sleep Expert Michael Breus Reveals 5 Tips for Fighting Insomnia

sleep wellness
Christina ApplegateGregg DeGuire/WireImage

When it comes to sleep, celebrities are just like Us! “If you type celebrity sleep problems into Google … Jimmy Kimmel has narcolepsy. Christina Applegate has reported having insomnia. I diagnosed Rosie O’Donnell live on The View with sleep apnea,” Michael J. Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in Los Angeles who treats many celebrity clients (though, not the aforementioned), tells Us Weekly.

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Doctor Michael Breus Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

According to Breus, one nocturnal issue that comes up again and again for his celebrity clients is insomnia. Although their reasons for not getting a restful night may be different — most of Us aren’t shooting movie scenes until 2 a.m. or hopping time zones multiple times in a week — the solutions are often the same.

Breus explains that there are five universal sleep-better rules that he uses with his celebrity clients (although he cannot divulge their names) to treat their insomnia — and that they can actually help everyone improve the quality of their sleep.

Scroll through to find out Breus’s simple tricks for battling insomnia.

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Jimmy Kimmel Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Stay Consistent
First he recommends sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. “When I’m working with celebrities with insomnia … sometimes I can’t get them to go to bed at the same time every night but I can get them to at least wake up roughly at the same time every day,” he says. “Having the self discipline of a very rigorous sleep schedule can actually be an incredible benefit when it comes to sleep.”

Consume Less Coffee
Next, Breus says it’s a good idea to monitor your caffeine intake. “We’re an over-caffeinated society. One of things I tell people is ‘It’s OK to drink coffee. But you need to stop by about 2 p.m.,’” he says. “The reason behind this is that half of the caffeine is eliminated from your system within six to eight hours. If you stop by 2 p.m., half of it is out of your system by 10 p.m., so it’s easier to fall asleep.”

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Rosie O’Donnell Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Cut Out P.M. Cocktails
Alcohol also plays a major role in sleep quality. “There is a really big difference between going to sleep and passing out,” Breus explains. “While alcohol makes you feel sleepy, it actually keeps you out of the deeper stages of sleep, which are critically important for rejuvenation because they are the physically restorative ‘I wake up and feel great’ sleep.’”

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Work Up a Sweat
The most important thing you can do to improve the quality and duration of your sleep, according to Breus, is a daily workout. “The single best way to improve the quality of your sleep is with exercise. I’m not talking about running a marathon. I’m talking about 20-minutes of cardio of day,” he reveals.

However, the timing of your sweat session is crucial. “By exercising too close to bedtime, you raise your core body temperature, then your body can’t cool and you can’t fall asleep,” he explains.

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Christina Applegate Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

Redo Your Morning Ritual
Finally, Breus suggests following this a.m. routine: Drink 12 to 16-ounces of water and get 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight immediately after waking up. “People don’t realize that as you breathe out, you lose approximately one liter of water each night and you wake up dehydrated, so caffeine, which is a diuretic, is not the best option that early in the morning,” he explains. “Sunlight helps turn off melatonin receptors in your brain and that can be very helpful because that can be one of the things that gives you foggy brain in the morning.”

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