2. Work Out
“Exercise improves sleep as effectively as benzodiazepines in some studies,” reports Kalyanakrishnan Ramakrishnan, MD, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. On average it reduces the time it takes to get to sleep by 12 minutes, and it increases total sleep time by 42 minutes. And it doesn’t take much. Studies at the University of Arizona show that walking six blocks at a normal pace during the day significantly improves sleep at night for women. Scientists suspect that exercise sets your biological clock into a consistent wake/sleep pattern, or it may boost the brain’s production of serotonin, a neurochemical that encourages sleep. Just make sure you finish your walk at least two hours before bed. Any later and the energizing effect of the activity can actually keep you up.