Don’t you envy those individuals who fall asleep as soon as their head touches the pillow? And sometimes doesn’t it seem as though the one who falls asleep first is usually the one who snores the loudest!

Even though sleep may not come easily for you every night, there are some routines you can undertake to help yourself fall sleep more quickly and lapse into a healthful good night’s sleep. Sleep refreshes the mind, heals the body and strengthens your immune system.

Here are our tips on how to fall asleep faster:

  • Remove distractions – move the computer and television to another room. Also, don’t sleep with your cell phone on the bedside table. If it isn’t possible to move the computer to another room, turn it off, shut off the screen and drape a cloth over it.
  • Work/sleep separation – even if you use your bedroom as a workspace during the day (and that is a very bad idea because your bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only) you need to clear all clutter and work-related material from the room well before bedtime. Even if your house or apartment doesn’t have a space that you can use for your home office, you need to have all work papers out of sight so they can be out of mind when it’s time for bed.
  • The darker the better – your bedroom should be a haven of darkness as light interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your internal sleepiness. Block outdoor light, whether it’s coming in from an outside window or seeping under the bedroom door. Wear an eye mask if you can’t block the ambient light. Even the light from a clock radio can increase wakefulness and interfere with a good night’s sleep.
  • Keep it quiet – we can’t stress enough that you should sleep in total darkness and complete quiet. Sleeping with a television or radio on is a distraction to your mind. Create a sense of calm and quiet by wearing ear plugs or using a white noise machine.
  • Set up a routine – prepare a bedtime routine to help yourself fall asleep faster. Schedule a time to quiet your mind and unwind. Think pleasant thoughts, rid your mind of the stresses of the day. Practice meditative breathing.  Go to bed at a specific time each night – get your body into a sleep routine.
  • Keep it cool – a bedroom that is cool is easier to sleep in than one that is overly warm. Set your thermostat lower at night and snuggle into warm covers.
  • Shut them out – keep the pets out of the bedroom as their wakefulness will disrupt your sleep and they can also bring with them dirt and allergens that can affect your sleep. If you have a runny nose, itchy eyes or coughing you could be allergic to something in the room. Wash your blankets and sheets in hypo-allergenic soap, open a window to ventilate the room and clear the air.
  • Cut down on caffeine and before bedtime snacks – Caffeinated drinks will keep you awake as will overeating before bedtime.
  • Exercise helps – exercise not only keeps your heart and body healthy, but it will help you sleep at night. Make certain that you exercise several hours before bedtime.
  • Address snoring issues – if you, or your partner, snore you could be suffering from sleep apnea, a disorder that causes snoring and interferes with sleep. You should check with your doctor if you find you’re snoring at night.

Suffering a night or two of sleeplessness might be natural but if you find yourself waking several times a night for a prolonged period or if you are sleepy during the day and have a hard time concentrating, it is time to talk to a sleep professional or your doctor to see if there could be underlying causes to your sleepless nights.

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;