Here are some suggestions to experiment with. Everyone is different. Don’t follow them slavishly. Just use those that work. Good sleep is usually possible within a few days or weeks.

The main enemies of sleep are electric lighting and stress. Alarm clocks, sleeping pills, alcohol, caffeine and shift-work follow close behind.

Some essential oils
like lavender or eucalyptus on the pillow promote relaxation and drowsiness. There are many more. Smell is one of the most primitive senses. It by-passes the intellect and goes straight to the mid-brain.

gravity pose
Meditate or rest for 10
to 15 minutes before bed with feet and legs elevated above the body (perhaps lying on the floor with calves resting on a seat). This eases the valves in the circulatory system into sleep mode. Sleep may be impossible until the valves adjust, which can take a few minutes to half an hour after lying down.

The electromagnetic fields of large electrical appliances like refrigerators or fuse boxes penetrate walls and can disturb sleep, especially if close to the head.

Breathing switches between the Left nostril and Right nostril during the day. Right breathers have more trouble sleeping. Left breathers tend to lie on right side to sleep.

Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent falling asleep. Warm feet help get to sleep. Sleep is pretty much impossible with cold feet. This is probably an inbuilt survival mechanism.

Some people can sleep well at home but not away. Some sleep better on holidays away from home. Some sleep better with background noises. Some like a dim light; other
s darkness. Usually this is a result of past experiences. Some sleep better in a particular direction. Or a particular bed.

It's often not until there is a change that you find out what's best. Most sleep best in a quiet, dark and comfortable room.

use bed for sleeping
The frustration of being unable to fall asleep can make sleeping more difficult and lying awake or tossing and turning in bed can become a habit.

Only use the bed or bedroom for sleeping. Leave activity and worries behind outside of the bedroom. Read and watch TV somewhere else. Go somewhere else and walk, read, work, or listen to music until tired.

reduce stimulation
Avoid stimulating or disturbing television programs before bed. Read something relaxing or don’t read at all.

Reduce lighting levels for an hour or so before bedtime. Radiation stimulates the pineal gland and tricks it into keeping us awake.

avoid stimulants
Sleep and wakefulness are influenced by several neurotransmitters. Foods or drugs that affect them change how well we sleep. Stimulants like diet pills, decongestants and caffeinated drinks such as coffee usually make sleep more difficult or impossible for most. Some people can still get good sleep by avoiding them after midday or for a couple of hours before bedtime.

Finish eating at least 4 hours before going to bed. Don't go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime. The digestive system winds down during sleep and keeps some of us awake if it is busy.

Some people can't sleep without eating fatty or sweet foods as sedatives. Sweet foods activate the pleasure centers and can be tiring. Fatty meals can be suffocating and tiring as they slow the circulation and reduce uptake of oxygen. Fats and sugars can arouse the body and disturb sleep later as they break down and release metabolic energy. High fat intake lowers REM sleep, increases arousal, lowers sleep efficiency and for some causes heart irregularities and sleep disturbance.

Many people find a consistent bedtime routine prevents insomnia. Going to bed at a set time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. Sleeping in on weekends makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it re-sets the sleep cycle to awaken later.

sleep at night
If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Exposure to an hour of morning sunlight helps the biological clock reset itself each day.

don’t nap
Stay awake and find tiring activities. If we nap in the day we may not be tired enough to sleep at night.

Some people nap in the daytime during the slow phases of their daily metabolic cycle reducing the amount of sleep they need at night without interfering with the quality of sleep.

Daily exercise usually helps sleep, although a workout just before bedtime may interfere with sleep. Vigorous exercise before bed suits some but others avoid exercise for 6 hours before sleep. Sleep is usually good if health and fitness are good.

sleep diary
Record daily activities including diet, sleep strategies and quality of sleep to look through later to see what affects sleep.

sleep clinics
Some sleeping problems have physical causes like poisoning, or electromagnetic radiation or illness that has affected part of the sleep regulating system and might take some effort to pinpoint. A physician may possibly pick it up or an internet search may uncover useful ideas posted online by an expert or someone with a similar problem. Keep inquiring until it is fixed. It may be a matter of luck finding someone who knows the answer. Or you may be able to work it out yourself.

Sleep clinics can usually help with physical problems like sleep apnea (usually associated with snoring and being overweight) where air intake is interrupted regularly causing waking. A sleep clinic can sometimes solve complex problems.

Reducing the amount of sleep may relieve depression for some people.

Many people with total blindness experience a kind of permanent jet lag and periodic insomnia because their circadian rhythms follow our innate 25-hour internal clock cycle rather than a 24-hour one. Daily supplements of melatonin may improve the sleep cycle but cause problems after long term build up in the body.

jet lag
Traveling rapidly between time zones disrupts circadian rhythms. It usually takes several days to adjust to new a time zone. The biological clock can be reset quicker using light brighter than ordinary household light. Airlines usually publish tips.

shift work
Shift-workers experience similar symptoms to jet lag. Shift-work schedules are at odds with powerful sleep-regulating cues like sunlight so shift workers often become uncontrollably drowsy at work, and usually experience sleep problems.

For most workers rotating shifts are more dangerous as the sleeping waking cycle varies so it is more disruptive and it is not possible to settle on a single optimal daily routine.

Shift workers have an increased risk of heart problems, digestive disturbances, and emotional and mental problems.

The number and severity of workplace accidents tends to increase during night shift.

Before the end of a shift and on the way home start to wind down with relaxing exercises like those on the stress pages.

A relaxing routine like a warm bath, listening to music, reading or one of the exercises on the stress, mind or body pages can make it easier to fall asleep. We can make it a bedtime ritual and train ourselves to associate the restful activity with sleep.