Getting a good night sleep

1. Keep a regular sleep schedule

Set a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time every day. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don't toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late. If you want to change your bedtime, help your body adjust by making the change in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.

Be smart about napping. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.

Fight after–dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

2. Try light exercise 

Exercise has so many stress management and health benefits, and for many of us, nighttime is when it best fits our schedules. Light exercise like yoga or walking at night can also help sleep as it releases tension without over stimulating the body.

3. Listen to music 

Music can soothe your mind and body to the point that it's now being used as a therapeutic tool by some. You can use music to your benefit by playing relaxing tunes before bed, and throughout the evening to help you wind down and release tension as bedtime approaches.

4. Clean up 

A recent poll on this site found that close to 80% of you live with a level of clutter that can cause additional stress. Cleaning up at the end of the day can leave you feeling less stressed because you're doing something to tackle the problem, and the anticipation of waking up to a cleaner house can make your rest more peaceful.

5. Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity 

If you've been awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet activity. Keep the lights dim so as not to cue your body clock that it's time to wake up.

6. Take a bubble bath 

Soaking in a tub of bubbles can rinse away tension and leave your body pampered and your mind free. Read more about the importance of self care, and find tips on how to create a soothing home spa experience.

7. Have a massage 

Massage is a great stress reliever that also feels good. If you can't trade massages with people you live with, you can do a self-massage or use massaging tools to relieve tension. Either way, having a massage before bed can loosen stress in your body, relax you, and make sleep come more easily.

8. Start journalising 

Journaling has many stress and health benefits, making it a great way to end the day. Writing in a journal before bed can clear your mind, help you process emotions, solve problems, mentally prepare for the next day, make plans, and get your thoughts out of your head and on the page, where they can be picked up the next morning.

A gratitude journal can get you in a positive frame of mind for sleep, and over time helps you change your whole frame of mind to a more positive, less stressed one.

9. Meditate 

Meditation has been used by many, many people to relieve stress in the body and mind. It's a great technique to use before bedtime because it segues so naturally into sleep: it relaxes the body, clears the mind, and creates inner peace. Be patient with yourself.

10. Practice relaxation techniques 

Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Some simple relaxation techniques include:

• Deep breathing. Close your eyes—and try taking deep, slow breaths—making each breath even deeper than the last.

• Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting at your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head.

• Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.

Need help? 

If your sleep problems persist for longer than a week and are bothersome, of if sleepiness interferes with the way you feel or function during the day, a doctor's help may be needed.  Adequate sleep is as essential to health and peak performance as exercise and good nutrition.  If you aren't getting enough, talk to your physician.  You deserve it!

References

Top 10 Better Sleep Strategies: Great Ways to End Your Day By Elizabeth Scott,M.S. About.com Guide;Updated February 02, 2009 http://www.sleepfoundation.org

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com

How to Improve Sleep Quality | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4614622_improve-sleep-quality.html