1. Lavender has been proven to fight anxiety and anti-fatigue. Add a few drops of lavender oil to water in a spray bottle, and spritz onto your pillowcase for a soothing slumber.
2. Forget about counting sheep. Instead, count on switching off technology (including that tiny red standby lights on your TV) to help you sleep.
3. If you’re a bedtime bookworm, use a low wattage lamp and avoid reading anything too exciting. Getting too emotionally invested in The Fault In Our Stars will wind you up, not down.
4. You can actually (practically) sedate yourself by tuning into an audio book or watching a movie. But make sure it’s one that you know well – like putting Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion on for the millionth time – because it won’t engage you the way something new would. Drift off = imminent.
5. That peppermint toothpaste sure is stimulating! Opt for a calmer one and try a new flavour. Or brush straight after dinner, instead of before shut eye.
6. Ever realised your eyes roll when you’re dozing off? Gently roll your eyes and simulate falling asleep to help create the illusion of tiredness.
7. Put a spring in your step come morning by setting yourself a sleep schedule. Yep, that means setting an alarm to both prepare for sleep and wake up at the same time, every day.
8. Speaking of alarms, try adjusting the volume on your morning one – it should be just loud enough to wake you up at the end of a sleep cycle.
9. Allergies interrupting *achoo* your dreamtime? You may be letting the bed bugs (like dust mites) bite. Vacuum your mattress to eliminate them and their disruptive midnight snacking.
10. Even a kiss from a certain prince won’t wake you if you start a sleep journal. Try tracking your fall and rise times (plus if and when you wake during the night), and note down anything you did prior to bedtime, to see what’s most effective at tiring you out. Then implement what seems to work best.
11. The ultimate sleep potion isn’t alcohol or coffee. In fact, you should avoid these stimulating drinks as well as heavy meals. Try snacking on a combo of carbs and dairy or protein (think cheese and crackers or wholegrain toast and turkey) an hour before bed. It’ll boost calming serotonin.
12. Don’t exercise in the few hours before bedtime – your body will hold off on producing melatonin, which is what you need to feel sleepy.
13. Curb your enthusiasm for napping. Try avoiding it altogether if you’re hoping for a solid 8 hours, but if you’re desperately in need cap your nap at 20 minutes, mid-afternoon.
14. Find your perfect pillow match. You’ll need to choose the right pillow filling (feathers are more durable and comfy while polyester helps those with allergies). Then, think about the thread count – the higher, the more luxurious. Consider the amount of “fluff” you like too – do you sleep better on a soft or a hard pillow? Lastly, remember the position you sleep in – specific pillows are made for side or back sleepers.
15. Shower, or cleanse your face, with warm water to keep your body temperature at an optimal state for sleep. Bonus: ditching the scalding hot shower in winter will help stop your skin from drying out.
16. Load up on magnesium – it aids in calming and relaxing the nerves. That means leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish and whole grains – you’ll be dozing off in no time. You can also try having a bath in Epsom Salts which are made up of magnesium sulfate.
17. Feel like the Princess and the Pea but you can’t afford a new mattress that promises uninterrupted sleep? Invest in a cushiony underlay instead.
18. The optimum room temperature for hitting the hay and having quality sleep is 18 – 21 degrees Celsius. If it’s too hot or too cold you’ll toss and turn, as your body temp needs to cool to a certain temp to facilitate sleepiness.
19. Instead of painting your walls and ceiling blue with clouds and magical unicorns, splurge on some calming wall art – no neon allowed.
20. Tossing and turning with your significant other? Be a sleeping beauty with separate blankets on the same bed. Robert Oexman, D.O., director of the Sleep to Live Institute told HuffPost to make your bed with a shared fitted sheet, but then use two single sheets and two blankets over the top. Cover it with the one doona for aesthetics.
21. Did you know inhaling through your left nostril is supposed to make you sleepy? According to holistic sleep therapist Peter Smith from The Mirror, you should lie on your left side, rest a finger on your right nostril and take deep breaths through the left one.
22. Relax your body by curling your toes – tightly then release – whilst taking deep breaths.
23. Reverse psychology, anyone? Try to convince yourself to stay awake and your eyes will soon tire.
24. Resist checking the time if you wake up in the middle of the night (not that you should after all these tips). When you look at those digits, you begin stressing about how many hours of shut eye you’ve got left, counteracting your urge to sleep.
25. Not one for early morning sun salutations? Invest in light blocking curtains and bank a few extra hours before work. An eye mask is an even simpler solution.
26. Only use softer lighting like lamps and candles, rather than overhead light bulbs, after dinnertime. The increased darkness will help you produce melatonin, which lets your body know it’s time for bed.