4. Shun p.m. stimulants
Skipping your normal cup of joe—even as early as lunchtime—should help you fall asleep quicker, since caffeine is a stimulant. “I don’t like people having caffeine after noontime if they have poor sleep, because it can hang out in the system for a long time,” says Walsleben.
Even decaf drinkers should beware: A 2007 Consumer Reports study found that “decaffeinated” coffees sold at several chain restaurants varied widely, containing up to 32 milligrams of caffeine per cup—about the same amount in 12 ounces of cola. For most people, this much caffeine won’t keep you up, but if you’re particularly sensitive, two or three cups might.
Nicotine is also a stimulant; smoking to relax before bed can actually do the opposite, revving up your heart rate and keeping your brain alert, says Walsleben.