17. Take antacids right after dinner, not before bed. Antacids contain aluminum, which appears to interfere with your sleep.
18. Listen to a book on tape while you fall asleep. Just as a bedtime story soothed and relaxed us when we were children, a calming book on tape (try poetry or a biography, stay away from horror novels) can have the same effect with us grown-ups.
19. Simmer three to four large lettuce leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add two sprigs of mint, and sip just before you go to bed. Lettuce contains a sleep-inducing substance called lactucarium, which affects the brain similarly to opium. Unlike opium, of course, you won’t run the risk of addiction!
20. Give yourself a massage. Slowly move the tips of your fingers around your eyes in a slow, circular motion. After a minute, move down to your mouth, then to your neck and the back of your head. Continue down your body until you find you’re so relaxed you’re ready to drop off to sleep. Another option: alternate massage nights with your significant other. You get Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Your significant other gets Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You do each other on Sundays.
21. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. A research study published in the journal Sleep found that women with insomnia who took a hot bath during this window of time (water temperature approximately 105°F), slept much better that night. The bath increased their core body temperature, which then abruptly dropped once they got out of the bath, readying them for sleep.
22. Use eucalyptus for a muscle rub. The strongly scented herb provides a soothing feeling and relaxing scent. You can find eucalyptus oil to mix into a carrier oil, or even a eucalyptus-scented cream.
23. Spend 10 minutes journaling the day’s events or feelings after tucking yourself into bed. This “data dump” will help turn off the repeating tape of our day that often plays in our minds, keeping us from falling asleep.
24. Keep a notepad at your bedside along with a gentle night-light and pen. Then, if you wake in the middle of the night and your mind starts going, you can quickly transfer the to-do list to the page, returning to sleep knowing you “caught” those thoughts.
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re not at your best or like you’re not getting the sleep you need, then it’s time to take action! Sign-up for the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Challenge today!