- 4. Next, kick your alcohol habit
It's time to get real: Alcohol is the worst, particularly for insomniacs. (Ignore all those awful articles you read about red wine.) A National Institutes of Health review of decades of research shows that study after study demonstrates the ill effects drinking has on your sleep. Even light drinkers take longer to fall asleep, sleep less well, and sleep for less time than their sober neighbors. And alcohol even increases the odds of sleep illnesses like apnea.
- 5. Stop sleeping with awful people
Another way to say this would be: Make sure the person you go to bed with makes you happy. While researchers say there's still a lot to learn on how couples sleep in the same bed, the bulk of the evidence collected in a review suggests happy couples sleep better together — and that people who sleep well together turn out to be happier couples.
Source: Sleep Medicine Reviews
- 6. Develop a bedtime routine
We already know that habits play an outsize role in many different aspects of your life. So it makes sense that they would also play a role in helping you fall asleep — and many doctors do recommend developing a consistent routine. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a ton of research on the impact of bedtime habits in adults, but research in children shows they can be very helpful.
- 7. Warm your feet and hands
Research shows that a warm water bottle against your feet and/or hands as you lay in bed makes a measurable difference in the speed at which you fall asleep. Don't have one handy? Wear socks to bed. (And note that this doesn't apply to everyone: Some people prefer the opposite — cold feet.)
- 8. Try to stay awake
The science on this one is a little thin — there's only been one study that's tested it. But when researchers tested the cognitive trick of paradoxical intention — basically, reverse psychology — on patients it improved their speediness in falling asleep. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep, it might be worth a try.