1. Get Into a Routine.
Sleep experts agree that when it comes to sleep, try to stick to a routine — going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. If you lay in bed awake for an hour before going to sleep, consider going to bed an hour later. Also, if you had a bad night’s sleep, don’t try to play “catch up” by sleeping 10 hours the next evening. Just stick to the routine.
2. Cut the Caffeine.
This should be obvious, but don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bedtime. Years ago, I realized that imbibing caffeinated drinks after 3 p.m. kept me awake, so I cut them out. Also, it’s not a good idea to eat before going to bed.
3. Get Up.
If you can’t sleep, rather than lying in bed ruminating, get up and read or listen to soothing music. Turning to the TV or the Internet is probably not a good idea, though, as the screens tend to stimulate more than relax.
4. Engage in Healthy Eating and Exercise.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Too much sugary food or salty snacks can throw off your metabolism and make sleep more difficult.
5. Stop the Voices.
All too often, difficulty sleeping is due to overactive cognitive processes — worrying about work or about one’s health, or simply being obsessed with the fact that you are having trouble sleeping. It’s ironic that thinking about insomnia can cause insomnia. Realize that your active mind is a big part of the problem, and that you need to calm down your cognitive processes in order to sleep. Then try to “turn off,” distract, or ignore those worrying voices in your head.