- Exercise at least once per day – even light exercise like house cleaning will help drain your body of excess energy.
- No consumption of caffeine within eight hours of bedtime (i.e., if you go to bed at 10pm, you should finish your last caffeinated beverage by 2pm).
- Avoid overuse of sleep supplements – whether Nembutal, Valium, or even Melatonin – your body will develop a dependency.
- Place yourself in a state of mind that is conducive to sleep. Turn off the phone, don’t surf the net (especially news/political sites). If you’re worried about something, tell yourself “I’ve done the best I can for today. If there are any problems tomorrow, I will deal with them then.” Scarlett O’Hara might have been on to something when she said, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” If you feel grimy, take a quick warm shower.
- Your environment – the bedroom – should also be conducive to sleep. The bed sheets should be relatively fresh. I can’t sleep in an unmade bed, and have been known to make the bed and fluff the pillows minutes before turning in. The bedroom should be a sanctuary reserved for two things: sleep and sex. Keep your work, bills, and worries out of the bedroom. Even television can be a distraction to sleep – although a TV in the bedroom is nearly unavoidable these days. A half-hour before you go to sleep, dim the lights, light a candle (but put it out before you turn in), turn on some soothing music at a nearly subliminal volume. (I have the Tune In Kindle app, which lets me play any radio station with an internet stream, so I play quiet Classical music all night.)
- Do not eat a large meal within four hours of going to bed – the heavy feeling will make it difficult to sleep.
- If you sleep with a loved one, never go to bed angry with him/her. There’s nothing better one can say or hear at the end of the day than “I love you.”
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