Before you opt for a drug or pricey gadget to help you sleep, make sure you’re following the recommended practices necessary for healthy sleep.
• Maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle by exposing yourself to natural light in the morning and darkness at night. Dim or turn off bright lights from lamps, electronic screens, and televisions.
• Eat and drink wisely: Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol within a few hours (or more, depending on your sensitivity) of bedtime. Avoid evening meals that may trigger indigestion — anything heavy, rich, fatty, fried, or spicy.
• Stay cool in bed: Keep your bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Consider getting a natural latex memory foam mattress, which is known to sleep cool. Opt for cotton bedding; synthetic fabrics will be hotter.
• Control noise by turning off alarms on your cell phone before bed and using a “white noise” machine if your sleep tends to be disturbed by external noises.
• Exercise regularly to promote good quality sleep but don’t do a strenuous workout within several hours of bedtime.