Ideas for Better Sleep
1. Over-the-counter sleep aid (short-term solution)
Many of us are not fans of taking pills, but sometimes you just need to get to sleep quickly and effectively. If you don't want to go see your doctor and get a prescription, these OTC pills are as close as you can get.
Doxylamine Succinate is a common sleep aid substance. You can find it under the brand name Unisom Sleep Aid or as a generic sleep aid at your local pharmacy. It usually comes in 25mg dosage, and works quite well if you take it approximately 30 minutes before you want to be asleep. I don't take this semi-regularly as it's helped me stabilize my sleeping patterns. Careful, though, as it may cause drowsiness the following day.
2. Melatonin (short-term solution)
Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body, and regulates sleep cycles. The supplements that you buy at the pharmacy are artificial, however. The dosages are usually up to 5mg, and it is not recommended that you go above that if you have mild sleeping problems. I sometimes take 10mg, and it works well to knock me out, but I feel drowsy and have trouble concentrating the next day, so I rarely take a high dosage like that. One 5mg tablet is usually enough. Also keep in mind that melatonin tends to build up and you develop a tolerance rather quickly, so it's not something to use every night.
3. Sleep tracking apps
If you find yourself staying up too late and as a result, not getting enough sleep, one of my favorite apps to help with that is Sleep as Android. You tell it what time you need to wake up, and how many hours of sleep you need, and it will remind you, at some point in the evening, that it's time for you to go to bed. The alarm clock function is also really good: it can track your sleep cycles and wakes you up in between cycles so that you wake up all rested and ready for the day. And you have the option to have the alarm start in a soft way and gradually increase in volume, or start at full volume. Finally, one of my favorite features is that you can set it up to force you to wake up (if, like me, you have trouble getting out of bed in the AM). It either makes you do some simple or advanced arithmetic, identify the awake sheep out of many sleeping sheep, or scan a bar code.