Despite the fact most us go to sleep every single night of our lives we just don’t seem to be getting the hang of it. Sleep should come easily to us considering the fact we spend half of our lives doing it, yet we get into bed and find ourselves somewhere between falling asleep peacefully and borderline hysterically praying to the almighty Sandman to give us peace. It’s all very strange.

Fortunately, other people have been kind enough to work out the problems for us! Check out these 6 tips you can use to get a better night’s sleep:

1. Schedule Your Sleep

We all know how important it is to set an alarm to wake up to, but you may also improve your quality of sleep by setting a time to go to bed as well. By establishing a strict schedule that you stick to everyday you will reinforce a healthy sleep-wake cycle, which your body will eventually learn to stick to. You may also want to keep a diary which tracks how long it takes you to fall asleep, what you eat before bed; anything that may be impacting on your sleep. The more you know about your nighttime habits the more you can do to improve them!

2. Sleep Sanctuaries

Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary; a cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable environment used only for sleep and sexy times. Experts suggest that you keep your bedroom between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but of course you can pile on the blankets if you get chilly. You may also want to spray sleep-inducing scents on your pillow such as chamomile and lavender. The more you associate your bedroom with sleep the more you’re going to get.

3. Create A Bedtime Ritual

If you’re having trouble getting enough quality sleep it may be because you are not winding down properly at the end of the day.

Try staying away from electronics for at least an hour before you plan to go sleep, as the light delays the sleep chemical melatonin from being produced. Then take a warm bath, sure it’s cliché but there is real reason behind it! Getting out of a warm bath mimics the temperature drop the body creates when preparing to go to sleep, causing you to relax and become drowsy.

4. Watch What You Eat

It’s important that you feel as comfortable as possible when preparing to go to bed, so make sure you are not too full or too hungry. If you’re one for late evening snacks try sticking to light foods that contain carbohydrates combined with calcium or tryptophan, an amino acid. These combinations boost serotonin – the chemical that helps you remain calm – creation in your brain. So after 8pm it’s best to stick to cheese and crackers or whole grain cereals.

You may also want to avoid drinking too many liquids if you wish to avoid disruptive mid-night pees. Although, chamomile tea would have to be an exception to this rule as it activates alpha wave activity in the back of your brain leading to relaxation. Just make sure you’re not downing tea just before bed, maybe leave an hour or two beforehand.

Above all things avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed! Stimulants are possibly the biggest sleep stealers of all, so stay clear!

5. Exercise

I know, exercise is always showing up in these things, but that’s because it’s so good for us in so many ways! Regular activity helps you fall asleep quicker and more deeply, leading to an overall good quality of rest throughout the night. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America survey found that individuals who partook in regular, vigorous exercise slept significantly better than their less active counterparts.

That said, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you’ll be too pumped to go to sleep.

6. No Stress Allowed

Perhaps the biggest sleep thief of all is worry: did you forget to do that thing? Do you have to get up early? If you fall asleep now how many hours are you going to get before you have to get up again? It’s all just nonsensical rambling amplified by the quiet, the dark and the fact you had expected to fall asleep two hours ago.

Stress is something you should remove entirely from your life, but if that’s not possible at least leave it at your bedroom door. Before you go to bed try to get as organised as possible by listing priorities and scheduling tasks for the next day or week. Then give yourself permission to let go of the hardships of everyday life and relax.