1. Tuck a hot-water bottle between your feet or wear a pair of ski socks to bed. The science is a little complicated, but warm feet help your body’s internal temperature get to the optimal level for sleep. Essentially, you sleep best when your core temperature drops. By warming your feet, you make sure blood flows well through your legs, allowing your trunk to cool.
2. Figure out your body cycle. Ever find that you get really sleepy at 10 p.m., that the sleepiness passes, and that by the time the late news comes on, you’re wide-awake? Some experts believe sleepiness comes in cycles. Push past a period of sleepiness and you likely won’t be able to fall asleep very easily for a while. If you’ve noticed these kinds of rhythms in your own body clock, use them to your advantage. When sleepiness comes, get to bed. Otherwise, it might be a long time until you are ready to fall asleep again.
3. Take a combination supplement with 600 mg calcium and 300 mg magnesium before bed. Not only will you be providing your bones with a healthy dose of minerals, but magnesium is a natural sedative. Additionally, calcium helps regulate muscle movements. Too little of either can lead to leg cramps, and even a slight deficiency of magnesium can leave you lying there with a racing mind.
4. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed. Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid.
5. Take antacids right after dinner, not before bed. Antacids contain aluminum, which appears to interfere with your sleep.
6. 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.