Establish a regular time for going to bed and getting up in the morning. Stick to this schedule even on weekends and during vacations.
Use the bed for sleep only, not for reading, watching television, or working. Excessive time in bed disrupts sleep.
Avoid naps, especially in the evening.
Exercise before dinner. A low point in energy occurs a few hours after exercise; sleep will then come more easily. Exercising close to bedtime, however, may increase alertness.
Take a hot bath about 1.5 - 2 hours before bedtime. This alters the body's core temperature rhythm and helps people fall asleep more easily and more continuously. (Taking a bath shortly before bed increases alertness.)
Do something relaxing in the 30 minutes before bedtime. Reading, meditation, and a leisurely walk are all appropriate activities.
Keep the bedroom relatively cool and well ventilated.
Do not look at the clock. Obsessing over time will just make it more difficult to sleep.
Eat light meals, and schedule dinner 4 - 5 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bedtime can help sleep, but a large meal may have the opposite effect.
Spend a half hour in the sun each day. The best time is early in the day. (Take precautions against overexposure to sunlight by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.)
Avoid fluids just before bedtime so that sleep is not disturbed by the need to urinate.
Avoid caffeine in the hours before sleep.
If one is still awake after 15 - 20 minutes, go into another room, read or do a quiet activity using dim lighting until feeling very sleepy. (Don't watch television or use bright lights.)
If distracted by a sleeping bed partner, moving to the couch or a spare bed for a couple of nights might be helpful.
If a specific worry is keeping one awake, thinking of the problem in terms of images rather than in words may allow a person to fall asleep more quickly and to wake up with less anxiety.