8. Watch the alcohol
A couple of drinks in the evening can help you fall asleep. But, a few hours later, the alcohol acts as a stimulant, causing you to lie awake or to wake repeatedly, diminishing your quality of sleep.
Harvard Medical School recommends you “limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day, or less, and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.”
9. Go dark
In darkness, the brain’s pineal gland releases melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy and helps regulate our body’s circadian rhythm, says the National Sleep Foundation.
Exposure to light, including artificial indoor light, at night interferes with that process.
10. Stick to a schedule
Train your brain to expect sleep by making a schedule and sticking to it. Decide what time you want to be asleep and when you want to wake up. Follow that schedule, a little rigidly at first, to reinforce it.
Keep the schedule up on weekends and holidays so disruptions don’t throw you back into a pattern of sleeplessness.
11. Establish a ritual
Plug a ritual into your bedtime schedule. For example, brush your teeth, lay out the next day’s clothes, make lunch for the next day, climb into your pajamas and set an alarm.
Do these same tasks and preparations every night and in the same order to establish a soothing habit that tells your brain it’s time for sleep.
12. Remove allergens
Keep your bedroom clean. If you are allergic to mold, pollen or pet dander, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and use washable area rugs instead, if possible. Wash rugs and bedding in hot water.
Some people like to use an air filter while they’re sleeping. For more tips, check out “15 Ways to Wage War at Home Against Pollen and Allergens.”
13. Pull the plug
TVs and computers are stimulating, and at night they are a source of light when you need darkness. So shut them off, or keep them out of the bedroom.
A bonus: Your love life just might improve.
14. Break a sweat
Having a regular exercise routine improves your health and helps you fall asleep more quickly and get a good night’s rest.
But timing is everything: In the short-term, exercise stimulates the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that keeps us alert.
So work out in the morning to avoid being revved up at night, says Harvard Medical School.
15. Bore yourself to sleep
Read something so dull it puts you to sleep. “Now is finally the time to learn about the intricacies of legislative process or attempt James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,'” says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Stay away from thrillers, horror stories and other reading choices that stir up your emotions.
16. Listen to audiobooks
Some people find listening to downloaded audio programs or books sleep-inducing. For no-cost options, check out “5 Sources of Free Audiobooks.”
What are the habits, tips or tricks you use to get a good night’s sleep? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page