Stay on schedule. Your body loves a regular sleep routine, so try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. That means no napping or sleeping in on weekends. If you can't fall asleep, get out of bed (go into another room if you have to), and do something quiet. Don't let yourself fall asleep outside the bedroom. Go back to bed when you're sleepy, and repeat this process as often as you need to during the night.
Dress for sleep. Put on whatever's comfortable, but don't layer it on in bed. Body temperature drops prior to falling asleep, rises during the night, then falls before you wake up. Think lighter pjs rather than heavy ones. Upgrade your mattress. Give your body the support it needs to relax by sleeping on a good, firm bed.
Watch those pre-bed workouts. Exercising several hours before turning in will relax you; strenuous physical activity done too close to bedtime may make you feel wired.
Move the boob tube. Research on children shows that kids who had the most sleep disturbances were those who had a television in their bedroom and used TV to fall asleep. (And the same goes for adults.)
Don't get buzzed. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime. Caffeine stimulates the brain, so steer clear of that after-dinner cup of coffee. And alcohol might make you conk out quicker, but it can shorten the time you spend in deeper stages of sleep and cause you to wake up during the night. The same goes for cigarettes.
Detox the bedroom. Eliminate disturbing sounds and light. If your alarm clock has illuminated numbers, throw a cloth over it. Turn down the thermostat; lower body temperature promotes sleep. Use the bed only for sleep and sex. Decorate your bedroom in soothing shades of green and blue; reds, oranges, and yellows can be overstimulating.
Eat a "sleepy snack." A low-fat, low-calorie carbohydrate snack should help put you out. Try these:
1 1/3 cups of breakfast cereal without milk
3 fig bars
1 cinnamon-raisin English muffin
1 bowl of cinnamon-spice instant oatmeal
1 toaster-size frozen waffle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup