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If counting sheep isn't working for you, try one of these ways to fall asleep (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

If counting sheep isn’t working for you, try one of these ways to fall asleep (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Sleep is essential to life and not getting enough of it can cause serious short and long term health problems.   But for many of us, getting a good night sleep on a regular basis can feel like an impossible dream. While some sleep issues are the result of stress, bad habits, bad sleep hygiene, or other lifestyle factors that impede sleep, undiagnosed sleep disorders can also be causing those bleary eyed mornings. If you have been struggling to get the sleep you need more than once or twice a week, talk to your doctor so that you can rule out any underlying medical or sleep disorders.

In the meantime, remember that insomnia, tossing and turning, and waking up tired are not actually normal and should be treated as signs that something is wrong. Don’t let a lack of sleep compromise your health and try these unusual sleep strategies to solve your temporary problems getting enough shut eye.

 

  1. Be Boring

Establish a daily routine that works for your life and schedule on most days, and then stick to it. It might not be the most interesting existence, but it may help straighten out your sleep habits. Most importantly, get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day. You may not like routine but your body does.

 

  1. Get Your Groove On

Now, if you are overtired and frustrated from tossing and turning, the last thing you may be interested in doing is having sex, but it can be a quick way to get your body on board with visiting slumber city. Hormones released during sex can help you fall asleep and the act itself can alleviate some of the stress that may be keeping you awake.

 

  1. Strip

Not everyone is comfortable sleeping naked, but if you are, give it a try. When it’s time to go to sleep, your body temperature drops which is the body-wide signal for sleepy time. If you are wearing warm jammies and snuggling under a thick blanket, your body may not get the message that it is time to go to sleep.

 

  1. Skip the Bedtime Snack

What and when you eat can impact how well you sleep. If you are sucking down caffeinated soft drinks at 8 PM, you may have difficulties falling asleep a couple hours later. Additionally, loading up your stomach with a heavy snack right before bed means your body will be distracted with digestion instead of focusing on sleep. Try not to eat within 3 hours of bedtime and skip the caffeine once you get over the 3 PM slump.

 

  1. Go Back in Time

Ideally, you would want to travel back to the 19th century about 2 hours before it is time to go to sleep so that you don’t have to avoid the temptation of all those entertaining electronics with their sleep-disrupting screens. However, since time travel is not possible, you will have to suck it up and turn off all electronics in the hours leading up to sleep to prevent these light emitting sleep thieves from messing with your hormones and keeping you up.