The Evening Shift
Don’t let the dinner rush sap your joie de vivre. Keep calm and carry on, so you can have a peaceful evening that will lead to a good night’s sleep.
Exercise (if you haven’t already). An early-evening workout may help you sleep. A study from Northwestern University, in Chicago, showed that insomniacs who did about 40 minutes of moderate cardio between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. four times a week got an average of 75 more minutes of sleep a night. Choose an easy routine and finish two hours before bed, says Kori Malyszek, a coordinator for the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, in Los Angeles.
Dig in to a bowl of pasta. Complex carbs—like in risotto, pasta, or polenta—increase levels of tryptophan, which improves sleep, says Ansel. Eat at least three hours before bed so you can digest it efficiently.
Take a hot bath. When you step out of the tub, your core body temperature immediately drops, which may help you settle in for a deeper sleep, says Perlis. Lather up with bath products with a soothing scent, like lavender or chamomile.
Watch soothing television. Yes, those gripping dramas tend to come on at 10 p.m., but that’s what DVRs are for: Watch those shows early the next night and chase them with something benign. (The Golden Girls is always on somewhere.)