better sleep

Sleep does wonders. It’s the rejuvenator everyone requires. But it shouldn’t be a burdensome requirement. It should be a good, positive experience that charges you with the convertible potential energy for tomorrow.
Now this is not going to be rocket science but in the process of trying to improve my own sleep, I figured I’d post on my approach to do exactly that. I’m giving it a three-prong structure:

Chemically
Fruit – I enjoy McIntosh apples (PLU #4019, not #4152), soft Bartlett pears, peaches, clementines, or any type of berries. Save the bananas for the morning.
A Good Drink – Milk, VitaminWater, big glass of regular water, orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice. Refreshing, nutritious, and calming.
Daily Vitamin(s) – Not to take before bed, but taken each morning it maintains chemical balance and the healthy diet needed for good rest.
NO Drugs – No sleep aids ever. No smoking ever either. People shouldn’t drink alcohol before bed either, but a glass or two or three of wine during/after dinner every once in a while is good for sure.

Physically
Exercise – The best way to be tired is to get tired. Nothing like a good early evening workout followed by a good shower. Good health is directly proportional to good sleep. Just leave some post-shower cool-down time to get your heart rate back to normal.
Stretching – Probably one of the most important things to do before bed. Even if it’s just hamstrings and quads, relaxed muscles correspond to relaxed sleep.
Deep Breaths – Sit and take 5 deep breaths. It’s soothing and creates a relaxed rhythm.
Pillows / Blanket – Build a good nest! Get the right blankets there.
Environment – Turn on a fan, open a window, close the blinds, etc. Getting a good temperature, lighting, and sound (or lack thereof) are especially important for sustained rest.
Psychologically
Write – Write off all your worries for another day. Sometimes actually writing things down you need to take care of – at work and at home – helps rid your mind of those thoughts and temporarily relieves stress and burdens.
Read – A routine of ten pages a night does the job. It will make you look forward to reading and falling asleep at the end of that session, and also will break you cleanly away from the rest of the day.
Observe – Go look at the sky. It is different every night and can be a good way to clear your mind of any earthly pains.
Convert – Turn daydreaming into night dreaming. Think of a good memory, dream vacation, or happy feeling. Or make some original thoughts and ideas and take them to bed with you. New thoughts can be very enlightening and comforting before bed.
Hopefully a combination of even a few of these things (e.g. fruit + stretch + good temp + reading) is all you need. The good thing if you don’t like the routine, there are plenty of combinations to make from the above lists.
Image 1: From GraphJam
Image 2: From JeromeProphet
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