7 Ways to Sleep Better

We asked an aromatherapist, a chiropractor, an insomnia specialist, and more experts to share their best, natural tips for getting a good night's rest.



1. Clear Your Thoughts
"I like to keep a little yellow pad and pen next to the bed so that before turning the lights out, I can empty my head onto a to-do list. It keeps me from having racing thoughts all night long like 'Oh God, I've got to call about those lamps being rewired!' or 'I've got to make that dinner reservation!'" -David Kleinberg, interior designer

Related: Beautiful Designer Bedrooms

2. Stay on a Schedule
"Establish a strict bedtime and awakening time. Expose yourself to bright light in the morning - within 5 minutes of waking, go outside and take a walk for 30 minutes. Avoid any bright light for 2 or 3 hours before bedtime, or exercise within 3 hours. Avoid heavy meals, large amounts of fluid and alcohol - it might help you fall asleep, but it fragments sleep and cuts down on the amount of deep sleep." -Clete Kushida, M.D., director, Stanford Center For Human Sleep Research


3. If You Can't Sleep, Don't Stay in Bed
Sleep doesn't happen when you're trying too hard. If you can't sleep, try occupying yourself with any activity that is both engaging and relaxing, where you can be absorbed enough that you forget about sleep. When I can't sleep, I accept at that moment that sleep is not possible for me. That frees me. Then I get out of bed and do whatever I feel like - read, fold clothes, organize my closet. I do this in dim light and quiet. I don't even attempt to go back to bed until my eyes are rolling down, closing on me."-Tracy Kuo, PH.D., insomnia specialist, Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic


4. Sleep on Your Back
"Everyone should be a back sleeper. All day long we flex over our computer screens, dinner tables, and books, and we never do extension unless we do the up dog in yoga class. When you're on your back, you open up the rib cage, rest your back muscles and - believe it or not - work your abs. Your neck is neutral and your face isn't mashed into the pillow, so you're not getting wrinkles. It's a win, win, win, win situation!" -John Reagan, chiropractor

Related: 20 Decorating Secrets Revealed

5. Wear Comfortable Pajamas
"I love beautiful, sexy, lacy, strappy pajamas, but who really sleeps in that? Men give them to you - 'Here, wear this thing that's going to strangle you by the end of the night' - but I generally sleep in the oldest, softest cotton T-shirt I can find. We sell a lot of 100 percent cotton pajamas. They may have a saggy butt and saggy knees, but who cares? They breathe, the give. I'll trade a saggy butt for a good night's sleep anytime." -Kim Dudek, owner of Bellanoche, a New Orleans sleepwear and bedding store


6. Try Lavender
"You could get an eye pillow with lavender in it - warm it a little in the microwave first - or put lavender oil in your humidifier. Inhaling lavender releases tension. The people in the South of France, they are very relaxed." -Jo Ann Weinrib, aromatherapist and owner of Body Central, a New York spa

See More: 11 Essential Organizing Tips for Small Spaces


7. Consider Feng Shui

"Try to be asleep before midnight. It's always best to sleep during the hour of the rat, between 11 P.M. and 1 A.M., as this is when the body's chi energy replenishes itself. Let the yin energies of darkness dominate, but there should also be a small dot of yang, so you have a tiny light turned on. Mirrors facing you while you sleeping is a big taboo - the soul might get robbed during sleep. Certainly no wind chimes, water, or plants in the bedroom. As you close your eyes and snuggle into your pillow, take three very deep breaths, slowly - the deeper the breath, the deeper your sleep will be." Lillian Too, author of over 80 books, including "Lillian Too's 168 Feng Shui Ways to a Calm & Happy Life"


What helps you sleep better?

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