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What Are Your Strategies for a Longer, Deeper Sleep?

Real Simple readers reveal how they get the zzzzz’s they need.

Bed and bedside tableNato Welton

Nightly Rituals

I get a healthy dose of exercise every day, drink herbal teas before bed, read books that are relaxing, and abstain from caffeine after noon. And if I do wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep, I do my best not to worry about it. The more positive I can make my awake time, the less I worry about losing sleep. You can find startling clarity at 4 A.M. Heather Gruver
Boston, Massachusetts
I used to sleep over at my grandmother's house nearly every Friday night, and she would always give me a glass of warm milk to get me to sleep. To this day, I still have a glass of milk at bedtime. My grandmother died in 1989, but I still think of her every evening when I get ready for bed.
Colleen E. Kueter
Medford, Massachusetts
I have a small music box on the nightstand next to my bed. It was a gift from my mother on my most recent birthday. Every night I wind it up and lie down. It calms me and reminds me of the people I love.
Lisa Jessick
North Easton, Massachusetts
A half hour before heading to bed, I take a homemade milk bath: two parts powdered milk, one part cornstarch. I usually fall asleep five minutes after I get into bed.
Danielle Lajoie
Montreal, Quebec
I learned a technique from my yoga instructor that has never failed me: Lie flat on your back close your eyes inhale through your nose exhale out of your mouth. Concentrate on the point slightly above and between your eyes until you feel energy flowing there all the way from your toes. Then shift your focus to your sternum, each shoulder, elbow, wrist, finger, hip, knee, ankle, and toe.
Nicole Wagner
Minneapolis, Minnesota
One of my favorite strategies is to cuddle up with my three-year-old daughter. Seeing her sleep peacefully, listening to the sound of her breathing, and feeling her heartbeat make me feel at rest. Nothing in the world is as comforting or relaxing to me.
Angela Hamernik
Plainfield, Indiana
Every night I take a hot shower or bath, sip a cup of chamomile tea, and lightly mist my sheets with a lavender linen spray that makes my bed smell wonderful and helps me fall asleep.
Allison Domingues
Prairie Village, Kansas

Lifelong Strategies

When I was a child, we had to be in bed by a certain time, but we could stay up reading as late as we wanted (a great way to encourage literacy!). I still can't imagine going to sleep any other way. It helps clear all the day's crazy thoughts out of my head.
Heidi Brose
Redmond, Washington
I iron. When I was young, my mother used our nap time to catch up on her ironing. The sound of the steam and the creak of the ironing board would always lull us to sleep. It still works.
Charity S. Sutton
Chicora, Pennsylvania
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