1. Try getting up and going to bed at the same time every day
2. Avoid eating dinner any less than 4 hours before going to bed, and don't eat carbs such as pasta for dinner
3. Don't watch TV just before bed
4. Don't use sleeping pills
5. Consider a natural sedative such as valerian (you can get it at a health food shop)
6. Take vigorous exercise during the day (but not in the evening), if possible
7. Use a light rather than a buzzer to wake you. I use a Lumie Bodyclock, which will also give you a "fade to black" at night
8. Drink no caffeinated drinks later than 4 pm
9. Try not to worry about your lack of sleep. I know - easier said than done!
10. Read an undemanding book for about 20 mins before bed, as a kind of mental relaxant.
it might sound strange but if i cant sleep i get up. Make myself a hot drink (herbel tea or hot milk) and read for 20 minutes or so then go back to bed. I usually then manage to go back to sleep. If i stay bed i tend to toss and turn for hours.
Warm milk (as mentioned before) and a turkey sandwich can help. Turkey contains large amounts of l-tryptophan which is an amino acid that increases production of seratonin and melatonin, helping you sleep.
If you can't sleep the worst thing you can do is lie in bed tossing and turning. It's better to get up for 30 mins or so, read, watch TV for a bit or whatever and then go back to bed when you start to feel tired.
Lavender oil is good at helping to induce relaxation. You can heat some in a special burner or sprinkle a few drops of oil on the pillow before going to bed .
The Melt Company does some very nice lavender candles in a tin. (no connections, but a very happy customer) I agree with getting up rather than staying in bed. Keeping the temperature in your bedroom at 18 degres C also helps.
I do nights regularly and as a consequence my sleep patterns were completely screwed up for years.
BUT not any more. I discovered binaural beats thanks to a yoga class where they played them at the end during relaxation. I had the best night's sleep in years afterwards. I then used them during my next night shifts when I had to sleep during the day. For the first time ever I managed a good six and a half hours without taking benylin, piriton, night nurse or any of the usual things I would neck just to make sure I got enough kip. I cannot tell you what a bleeding miracle this is.
I'm now completely converted. I put them on for about ten minutes before I go to bed and I sleep like an old fat dog (not like a baby - I have babies - they're frankly a bit crap at the sleeping lark).
Mine are from itunes by a guy called Dr Jeffrey Thompson. I got the delta sleep system and the classical sleep one. I also got one with birds on for daytime chill out and it actually calms the kids down wonderfully.