1. Cut down on caffeine: Caffeine drinkers may find it harder to fall asleep. Even a single cup of coffee in the morning may lead to a sleepless night. Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter thought to promote sleep. Caffeine can also interrupt sleep by increasing the need to urinate during the night. Because caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, irritability, and extreme fatigue, it may be easier to cut back gradually rather than to go cold turkey. Those who can’t or don’t want to give up caffeine should avoid it after 2 p.m., or noon if they are especially caffeine–sensitive.
2. Stop smoking or chewing tobacco: Nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause insomnia. If you continue to use tobacco, avoid smoking or chewing it for at least one to two hours before bedtime.
3. Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so a nightcap may seem to help some people fall asleep. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, and the soporific effects disappear after a few hours. Alcohol also worsens snoring and other sleep breathing problems.