Creating an environment conducive to sleep, setting consistent sleep and wake times, limiting electronic devices before bedtime and avoiding stimulants late in the day are key to sleeping well. Reducing stress and getting enough exercise are two other important factors.
Create a bedroom that encourages rest by ensuring that the room is dark, quiet and cool. Use blackout shades or an eye mask to block light. Ear plugs, a fan, soft music or a white noise machine can mask disruptive sounds.
Keeping consistent sleep and wake times, even on the weekends or during vacations, helps cement the body's sleep-wake cycle. Switching sleep and wake times frequently gives the body low-level jet lag, which only makes a good night's rest more difficult.
Limiting the use of electronic devices before bed accomplishes two things: It promotes relaxation by reducing stimulation from the latest social media feeds, email, news headlines, interesting television story lines or exciting video games, and it also allows the body to better produce melatonin, a hormone that encourages sleep. Melatonin production is reduced with exposure to the blue light, which electronic devices readily produce.
Stimulants like caffeine can keep a person up at night, even if taken several hours before bed. Avoiding them late in the day can also promote a good night's sleep.