How to Get to Sleep and Beat Insomnia


MOVE IT. Exercise helps reduce stress and muscle tension, both which aid in a better night's sleep. Don't exercise right before bedtime, though, it will raise the body temperature and trigger endorphins, making it harder to relax. Engage in some light stretching instead.


HIDE IT. Insomniacs know that clock-watching causes more stress and makes it harder to sleep. Turn the clock away from view.


SOUND OFF. Background noise and chatter easily distract insomniacs. Turn on a fan or use a sound machine to cover up such noise.


QUIET DOWN. Avoid brain stimulating activities right before bedtime. This would include computer research, video games, suspenseful books and television, and work


READ. Light reading relaxes your mind and makes you drowsy. Save the heavy reading and stimulating books for another time, though, as they will do the opposite.


LIGHTS OFF. Too much light will trick your brain into thinking it's daylight. Dim or turn off harsh lighting. Install heavy blinds or wear a sleep mask to ward off early morning light.


WRITE IT DOWN. Stress and an overactive mind can greatly hinder sleep. A journal and to-do list will help keep worries at bay.


COOL OFF. Cooler temperatures help lower body temperature, inducing sleep. Seventy degrees is good for most but set the thermostat until you find your comfort zone.


PAD IT. A comfortable bed is a must for a good night's sleep. A too small bed and bumpy mattress will definitely make for a "bumpy night.


DECAF IT. Caffeine increases the heart rate and can make for a rocky night's sleep. Drink coffee early in the day. The supersensitive should avoid it altogether.


DON'T "WINE." Alcohol may get you to sleep but it won't keep you there. It disturbs normal sleep patterns, resulting in late-night stirring. And too much alcohol will cause that dreaded hangover the next day.


DON'T DRINK IT. Don't let your bladder wake you up - stop all liquids a couple hours before bedtime.


LET IT OUT. Use the restroom before you hit the sack - again, keeping your bladder quiet.


MUSCLE UP. Perform physical relaxation techniques. Starting from the toes and moving upward, stretch, and then relax each muscle. This technique helps relieve tension, calming both mind and body.


EAT TO LIVE. Eating heavy foods before bedtime causes the body to work too hard when it should be resting. But, hunger pangs can also disrupt sleep. Eat a light snack, such as turkey, a banana or yogurt. Drink warm milk or herbal tea.


GET CHECKED OUT. Menopausal and perimenopausal women often have sleep problems due to the change in hormone levels. See your doctor.


GET A RYTHEM. A routine bedtime schedule helps set your internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep. Establish a bedtime ritual and keep to the schedule.


TAKE A BATH. A warm bath is relaxing for most people, but it can raise body temperature. Try soaking an hour or two before bedtime, it will relax you while giving the body enough time to cool down.


MASSAGE IT. A massage will relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. If there is no masseur/masseuse on hand, take matters into your own hands. Rub toes, feet, hands, fingers, calves and every other reachable body part.


MAKE LOVE. Vigorous lovemaking can have the same effect as vigorous exercise (see Step 1), making it hard to get to sleep. Save the wild stuff for early evening and try soft, sensual lovemaking at bedtime.


POP IT. While over the counter sleep medication is not usually recommended, sometimes it's necessary. Sleep aids can be addictive so check with the doctor beforehand. Benadryl allergy medicine can also be effective.

A sleepless night is one thing, but chronic insomnia can negatively affect one's mind and body. Check out the suggestions below to get a grip on insomnia before it gets a grip on you.