In addition to the usual good advice to cut down on caffeine after noon and on alcohol at night, he offered five suggestions that I hadn't heard before and that really helped me break the habit of sleeplessness.
- Turn off the computer 90-120 minutes before your planned sleep time. Exposure to light from monitors lowers melatonin, a hormone that regulates the internal clock and plays a role in the sleep cycle.
- Plan to go to sleep during the same one-hour range each night (for example, 10:30- 11:30). However . . .
- Don't go to bed unless you’re sleepy. Sit in a comfortable chair and read, knit, do a crossword, or watch something boring on TV (lots of choices there), but don't watch TV in bed. Go to bed when you can't stay awake any longer.
- Never stay awake in bed for longer than 20 minutes. Get up and do something else : See #3.
- Keep a notebook on your night table to jot down any inspirations that come to you in the middle of the night. Knowing that you won’t forget your brilliant idea by morning makes it easier to fall asleep. This really works!