My friend Cat and I were talking sleep. Or lack thereof. We are two of the worst sleepers ever, posting status updates on Twitter at 5 am. Things have gotten better, however, since we made these home changes.
A really dark bedroom: Unless you're afraid of the dark (guilty!), pitch black is the way to go in the bedroom. Try: blackout curtains, shutting the door and firmly closing the closet.
White noise: While sleeping in a quiet bedroom may be a challenge (especially if your bedroom is on a noisy street), white noise can block the most distracting sounds. Try: a fan, a white noise program on your smartphone, or a humidifier.
Try a bedtime snack: The right foods can make you sleepy. Pick a light snack, high in whole grains. Try: a small bowl of pasta for dinner or an hour before bedtime (minus the cheese or meatballs), a handful of dry sugar-free cereal or granola, a piece of toast.
Water works: A bath before bed does the trick when you're a kid, and it performs just as well when you're an adult. It doesn't have to be a long soak to get you prepped for bed. Try: a 15 minute warm bath. For extra oomph, try a lavender soak and lower the lights.
Cool down: Even in the winter, turning down the temperature in your bedroom at night can help you sleep. Try: a fan works double-duty, cooling things down and providing sound-blocking white noise.
Extra blankets: A cooled down bedroom is one excuse to use an extra blanket, but you might notice that the extra weight also helps with your sleep. The same light pressure that soothes a swaddled baby helps calm down an adult's nervous system too. Try: An extra blanket or two. If you sleep with a duvet and don't need the extra warmth, try a open weave cotton blanket. It won't make you warmer, but the extra weight may help your nerves calm down.
(Image: Adrienne Breaux from Mark Macek's Modern Warm & Woodsy)