Outdoor exercise is especially helpful. By exposing yourself to sunlight (particularly in the afternoon), you help prevent midday sleepiness and reinforce your body’s circadian rhythms (your 24 hour body clock). Exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
7. Soak it up. Have a warm bath an hour or two before bed. Your body temperature will slowly drop after you get out of the tub, making you feel tired. Don’t have a bath right before bed, however, because it can briefly stimulate you enough to make it hard to fall asleep.
8. Drift off naturally. Investigate the benefits of chamomile, valerian, kava, passionflower, skullcap, catnip or hops. These herbs can be taken as tea and in other forms. One cup of chamomile tea before bedtime may be all you need to relax. If you’re trying valerian, the suggested dose for the concentrated form is equal to 2–3 g of the root per day. But don’t combine valerian with alcohol or any moodregulating drugs. If you’re using kava, try a dose of between 60 and 120 mg just before bedtime.
9. Don’t toss and turn. If 30 minutes go by and you haven’t fallen asleep, get up and do something relaxing, such as listening to soothing music or flipping through a magazine. Or make yourself a cup of warm milk.
10. Buy the right bed. A bed that’s too soft can cause poor sleep postures (which can also lead to muscle stiffness and back problems). If you’re leaving a dent in the mattress when you get up, it’s too soft. Replace your mattress if it’s more than 10 years old and buy one that’s as firm as you can tolerate but still comfortable.
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