So where can you buy some of that?
You buy it with daily exercise (the fun kind works best), healthy nutrition (just not too much right before bed), sunshine, and rituals around a regularly set bedtime.
Here's what works:
Since you know that you need about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, work backward on the clock to determine what time you should fall asleep. You need to be up by 6AM to get to work on time? Then you need to be asleep at 10, not just thinking about going to bed at that time.
Establish rules for yourself as you would for a small child. You deserve to be cared for that much. Our bodies thrive on regularity of everything physical (we have circadian rhythms that try their best to keep us healthy). So begin by preparing your mind. Start thinking positively about how delightful it will be to crawl into bed and go to sleep. Again, work backward on the clock to know how much time you need for settling down (two hours? one?) before falling asleep.
- Dim the lights throughout the house at the same time each night
- Turn off television and computers (see A Little More About Sleep for why this works) at the same time each night
- Keep your calming pre-sleep ritual (a relaxing bath? meditation? reading? all of those?) at the same time each night
- Make sure your bed and bedroom are relaxing, cozy places, quiet and dark, so when you climb into bed, the small child in you knows what to expect...sleep
Here's what doesn't work:
- caffeine within eight hours of bedtime
- alcohol; although it is a sedative, it actually disrupts the natural cycles of sleep
- smoking; it's a stimulant for crying out loud
- exercise within six hours of bedtime; again it creates a stimulant effect
- bedmates (pets or humans) whose movements or snoring disrupt your sleep