Last night I had some trouble sleeping. I'm a huge fan of sleep and my sleep habits changed dramatically when I started to read Matthew Walker's Why Why Sleep.
In the appendix of the book, he states Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep. I followed one of the tips lasts night:
12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than twenty minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
Then I realized some of the mistakes I made too. I ate some chocolate a couple of hours earlier...
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as eight hours to wear off fully. Therefore, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. In addition, smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.
As I went through them reading on my e-reader, I also came across another one that I then immediately implemented:
9. Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax and slow down so you’re more ready to sleep.
I currently don't have a bath. I took a warm shower; and then I took a cold shower, to drop my body temperate (it's really hot in the room in the summer). It was refreshing. I then used a massage ball to massage my body. I went back to my bed I still as alert as I was, and then fell asleep.
Although I'm not following all of the guidelines, having an understanding of the importance of sleep and some tools to create better sleep hygiene has been huge for me. The book has cemented my perspective a biphasic sleep pattern. This is a fancy way of saying "I take naps and don't drink caffeine daily".