Hit the gym in the morning

"Exercise reduces stress, so it's good for sleep, but it also increases your body's core temperature, making it tough to drift off," says Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute. One study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine found that 7am workouts improved sleep quality more than late-day exercise. If you can't give up your 7pm spin class, take a steamy shower afterward. It might sound counterintuitive, but heating your skin and then stepping into the air makes your core cool down quickly - a cue to your body that it's time to drift off.

Description: Hit the gym in the morning

Make your bed

Once you've got your pretty new threads, don't leave them in a heap when you get up in the morning. Aesthetics aside, taking a moment to tidy up may help you sleep better at night. In fact, 44 percent of people who make their beds daily report snoozing more soundly than those who don't, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Researchers speculate that a messy room can make you feel more stressed and restless but just look around your own mess and you'll know you don't need a research report to prove this.

Get up on Sundays

Sleeping in on weekend only seems like a dreamy idea. Wide variations in your get-out-of-bed time can throw off your sleep-wake cycle, putting you at risk for insomnia. If you're dying to sneak in extra rest, keep it to within an hour of your weekday wake-up time.

Nix the nightcap

If you think alcohol can help you fall asleep, you're only partially right. You may seemingly slip into a peaceful slumber, but alcohol gets in the way of the deep, quality rest your body needs. You don't have to swear off all spirits, but limit yourself to one glass per night and consume it at least three hours before turning in.

Swap warm milk for cherry juice

Milk does have small amounts of tryptophan the hormone that induces sleep. But if the beverage leaves you cold, opt for an evening and morning glass of tart cherry juice, which contains the sleep hormone melatonin. According to a British study, people who drink it regularly sleep longer (an extra 25 minutes) and more deeply than those who don't.

Description: Swap warm milk for cherry juice

Follow your nose

The scent of lavender may improve your sleep quality. Researchers at Wesleyan University found that people who took a whiff of lavender oil before going to bed spent more time in deep slumber and awoke feeling more energetic than those who sniffed plain water. Try sprinkling lavender essential oil on your sheets or invest in a lavender pillow mist.

Seek help from a pro

If all else fails - meaning you have been battling insomnia for more than a month or you often feel groggy despite spending seven-plus hours in the sack - a sleep doctor can help you pinpoint the problem and suggest an appropriate treatment. Depending on what's plaguing you, you might benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy, herbal remedies, prescription medication or treatment for a condition like sleep Apnoea. Ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep doctor.

When counting sheep fails

Try to stay awake

It may sound a little crazy, but it works. A lot of people have performance anxiety when it comes to falling asleep and this trick can help. Dim the lights, crawl into bed with a book or magazine, and tell yourself you will try to stay up for the next half hour. You just might find yourself dozing off within 10 minutes.

Description: Try to stay awake

Get out of bed

When slumber will not come, thrashing around for hours will only stress you out further. You will also begin to associate your bed with being wide awake, which ca make it harder to drop off in the future. So get up and do some deep breathing or reading or work (but do not watch TV – see step 1). Once you begin to feel sleepy, go back to bed; you should nod off more easily.

Make a to-do list

If your mind is racing with all the tasks awaiting you tomorrow, jot them down. Do not get too specific (no grocery lists!); just outline what has to get done. “It’s amazing how quickly you can dismiss things from your mind once they are on paper,” say experts at the Better Sleep Council.

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