1. Create a nightly routine. This is something you do every night before bed. It could be as simple as turning out the lights, and turning down the heat, washing your face, and brushing your teeth. Or it could be a series of yoga or meditation exercises. Regardless, it should be consistent to the point that you do it without even thinking about it. As you begin to move into your "nightly routine," your mind will get the signal that it's time to chill out and tune down, dialing down stress hormones and physiologically preparing you for sleep.
2. Figure out your body cycle. Ever find that you get really sleepy at 10 p.m., that the sleepiness passes, and that by the time the late news comes on, you're wide-awake. Some experts believe sleepiness comes in cycles. Push past a period of sleepiness and you likely won't be able to fall asleep very easily for a while. If you've noticed these kinds of rhythms in your own body clock, use them to your advantage. When sleepiness comes, get to bed. Otherwise, it might be a long time until you are ready to fall asleep again.
3. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillowcases with lavender water. The scent is scientifically proven to promote relaxation.
4. Hide your clock under your bed or on the bottom shelf of your night stand, where its glow won't disturb you. That way, if you do wake in the middle of the night or have problems sleeping, you won't fret over how late it is and how much sleep you're missing.
5. Switch your pillow. If you're constantly pounding it, turning it over and upside down, the poor pillow deserves a break. Find a fresh new pillow from the linen closet, put a sweet-smelling case on it, and try again.
6. Choose the right pillow. The ideal neck pillow should be soft and not too high, should provide neck support, and should be allergy tested and washable, researchers found. Another study found that water-filled pillows provided the best night's sleep when compared to participants' usual pillows or a roll pillow. The reason, the researchers suggest, is that the cooler pillow kept the subjects' head cooler during the night, improving their sleep.
7. Switch to heavier curtains over the windows, and use them. Even the barely noticeable ambient light from streetlights, a full moon, or your neighbor's house can interfere with the circadian rhythm changes you need to fall asleep.
8. Clean your bedroom and paint it a soothing sage green. Or use some other soothing color. First, the more clutter in your bedroom, the more distractions in the way of a good night's sleep. The sage green surfaces act as a balm to your brain, helping to smooth out your own worries and mental to-do lists. The soothing color provides a visual reminder of sleep, relaxing you as you lie in bed reading or preparing for sleep.
9. Move your bed away from any outside walls. This will help cut down on noise, which a Spanish study found could be a significant factor in insomnia.
10. Tuck a hot-water bottle between your feet or wear a pair of ski socks to bed. The science is a little complicated, but warm foot helps your body's internal temperature get to the optimal level for sleep.
11. Kick your dog or cat out of your bedroom. A 2002 research study found that one in five pet owners sleep with their pets (and we're not talking goldfish here). The study also found that dogs and cats created one of the biggest impediments to a good night's sleep since the discovery of caffeine. What’ the reason? The study found that 21 percent of the dogs and 7 percent of the cats snored!
12. Sleep alone. Sure you love your spouse or partner, but studies find one of the greatest disruptors of sleep is that loved one dreaming away next to you. He might snore; she might kick or cry out, whatever. In fact, one study found that 86 percent of women surveyed said their husbands snored, and half had their sleep interrupted by it. Men have it a bit easier; just 57 percent said their wives snored, while just 15 percent found their sleep bothered by it.
13. Take a combination supplement with 600 mg calcium and 300 mg magnesium before bed. Not only will you be providing your bones with a healthy dose of minerals, but magnesium is a natural sedative. Additionally, calcium helps regulate muscle movements. Too little of either can lead to leg cramps, and even a slight deficiency of magnesium can leave you lying there with a racing mind.
14. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed. Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid.
15. Munch a banana before bed. It's a great natural source of melatonin, the sleep hormone, as well as tryptophan. Of course, warm milk is also a good source of tryptophan.
16. Drink water before bed, not fruit juice. One study found it took participants an extra 20 to 30 minutes to fall asleep after drinking a cup of fruit juice, most likely because of the high sugar content in juice.
17. Take antacids right after dinner, not before bed. Antacids contain aluminum, which appears to interfere with your sleep.
18. Listen to light music. It can make you soothed and relaxed.
19. Give yourself a massage. Slowly move the tips of your fingers around your eyes in a slow, circular motion. After a minute, move down to your mouth, then to your neck and the back of your head.
20. Use eucalyptus for a muscle rub. The strongly scented herb provides a soothing feeling and relaxing scent.
If you're tired of feeling like you're not at your best or like you're not getting the sleep you need, then it's time to take action!
Bookmark & Share