Raise your hand if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least a few times a week.  3 out of every 4 people experience this.

One of my favorite people to turn to for health advice is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN.  I read an article he wrote for Prevention magazine on his “12 steps to living longer and stronger.” Step 9 was “Don’t skimp on sleep!”

Dr Gupta says “Bill Clinton was famous for talking about how little sleep he got, and it was seen as a badge of honor.  It was the same for people in the medical profession, until studies started showing not getting adequate sleep raises our cortisol level, increases blood pressure, creates less elastic arteries, and puts us at greater risk for heart disease.”

In this article, I’m going to share six strategies for finally getting a great night’s sleep!  If you are one of the small percentage of Americans who easily get a good night’s sleep, don’t change a thing! 

A, B, C and D, E, F…easy to remember!

Before bed

After 8pm, “power off” electronics, telephone, etc. Dim lights.

Banana and Almond Butter (yogurt, hard-boiled egg also work well)

Cool room around 68 degrees.  Other: White noise, Lavender. Jasmine

During the day  

Don’t overdo caffeine (chocolate, energy drinks, tea, coffee), alcohol, and sugary foods especially after lunch.

Exercise, but not too close to bedtime.   (A 30-min brisk walk can help you snag more slow-wave sleep, the deep restorative kind you need to feel refreshed.) Walk outside in natural sunlight if possible.

Figure out your stress triggers. (Work? Finances? Relationships? Daily Commute?)  Make tomorrow’s to-do list in the late afternoon, not close to bedtime.

My favorite sleep joke:  Margie went to the doctor complaining of insomnia. The doctor gave her a thorough examination, found absolutely nothing physically wrong with Margie.   He told her, “Listen, if you ever expect to cure your insomnia, you have to stop taking your troubles to bed with you.”  Margie thought about this suggestion, shook her head and replied,  “Doc, I can’t. My husband refuses to sleep alone.”