- * Dim the lights an hour before bedtime. This mimics sunset. Smack in the middle of your brain is something called the pineal gland. It releases melatonin, the hormone that readies the mind and body for sleep in response to lowered light levels.
- * If you've got things on your mind -- tomorrow's meetings, errands, that kind of thing -- write them down fifteen minutes before bed. This sweeps them out of your mind.
- * If you're still awake after fifteen minutes, get up and do something quiet, like reading a book. No Internet, no TV, no exercise. You have to let your body and mind slow down to be able to slip into sleep. If you just lie there thinking about how you're not sleeping, you'll never sleep.
- * Wake up at the same time every day. An hour extra on weekends is fine, but if you wake up at seven every morning during the week, then sleep until ten on weekends, you're effectively giving yourself jet lag. Monday morning, you'll feel like you just got off the red-eye from three time zones away.
- * A little chemical helps once in a while is fine. Not alcohol -- it actually interferes with the normal sleep cycle. But Benadryl or one of the combination OTC painkillers or sleep drugs can give you that little nudge into natural sleep. Just describe your symptoms in detail: From a pharmaceutical perspective, "can't fall asleep" isn't the same as "wake up in the middle of the night."
- * Sex.
image via Robyn's Nest