Welcome to the Dark Side
Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces to regulate sleep. Your body produces less melatonin as you get older. Any light can disrupt your body's melatonin production, so sleep can improve if you make your bedroom as dark as possible. Make sure that all of your electronics that have lights are turned off at night, and if you must get up in the middle of the night, do your best to keep the lights off. Sleeping with a sleep mask can also help. It gives you an extra layer of protection against outside lights.
Snack Time Before Sack Time
A snack a few hours before heading to bed can help you sleep, depending on what it is. Dairy foods like milk and cottage cheese as well as nuts and seeds contain a lot of tryptophan. That's an essential amino acid we can only get from the food we eat that actually helps transform serotonin into melatonin to help us sleep. If you combine those proteins with a small amount of carbohydrates, your snack can help the tryptophan work its way to the blood stream.
Keep Your Cool
If you're an insomniac, you may want to turn your thermostat down to lower your core temperature. Studies show the best temperature for a good night's sleep is between 60° and 66°F year round. In the winter months, resist the urge to keep your thermostat above 60° and in the summer, don't be afraid to use the air conditioning.
Use Your Bed for Sleep
This seems like an obvious tip, but psychologists suggest training your body to sleep in your bed can help you sleep better. This means using your bed only for sleep and to sleep nowhere but your bed. This reduces the risk of disrupting your sleep with outside stimulus like televisions or laptops. You should also consider moving your child's bedtime reading to another area. Read books for kids in the living room rather than the bedroom.
If you don't exercise and you're having trouble sleeping, one good workout may be what you need to get to sleep on a given night. If you're a serious insomniac, picking up an exercise routine can help, but it may take a few months to feel a difference in how much you're sleeping. In other words, exercise can't hurt.
You've probably heard about white noise improving sleep, but what you might need is pink noise. One study shows sleep may be boosted by more than 20% by listening to wind, breathing, or the ebb and flow of ocean waves to regulate your brain waves. Pink noise is different from white noise in that the frequency and density of sound distribution changes. With white noise, the frequency and density of sound stays the same.