Tip 1: Go to bed.
It sounds obvious, doesn't it? But nothing can disrupt sleep like nodding off on the couch and jolting awake when the first infomercial comes on.
There's a reason we have a room called the "bedroom," and there's a reason you spent all that money on the bed inside it! If you find yourself getting drowsy during your favorite sitcom, hit pause and climb under the sheets. Your body will thank you for it in the morning.
Tip 2: But don't bring your phone.
E-mails, e-mails everywhere, but not an ounce of sleep.
Now that our lives are dictated by an endless stream of communication, it can be challenging to turn off the phone and disregard the dinging inbox. But keeping your gadget on the bedside table can make it impossible to clear your mind of the day's stresses and fully relax.
So make your bedroom an instant-communication-free zone. Remember: Phones need time to re-charge, and so do you.
Tip 3: Warm milk is nice, but...
...so is getting through the night without having to go to the bathroom.
We've all heard that a glass of warm milk, with its mythic sleep-inducing enzymes, can get you counting sheep in no time.
But recent studies published in The New York Times have shown that while the tryptophan in milk may help you nod off, the enzyme may actually inhibit the deeper shut-eye that follows. Plus, consuming excess liquid in the hour or so before bed is more likely to lead to late-night bathroom breaks that can throw off your sleep cycle.
Save the milk for your morning coffee, which you'll need a lot less of if you make it through the night without a pit stop.
Tip 4: A well-worked body makes for a well-rested body.
Everyone knows that exercise makes you feel better and look better. But did you know it also makes you snooze better?
Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous exercise during the day is correlated with deeper, more satisfactory repose at night. Those who can't find the time to get their heart racing before bed tend to suffer from poor sack time.
But you don't have to run a 10k to find solidarity with your pillow; even a brisk, 15-minute walk a day can help you grab 40 winks.
Tip 5: If you can't sleep, sweep.
We've all had those nights where it doesn't seem like slumber will ever come. If you and your zzzz's are having a temporary break up, make the most of it!
Light housework. Creative thinking. Even that long, luxurious shower you've been dreaming about since your spouse/teenager/house guest started hogging the hot water. All of these activities can be enjoyable in the deep dark of night.
Yes, morning will find you slumped over your desk, drooling into your coffee mug, but at least you'll know the dishwasher is empty.