Don’t use electronic devices before bedtime.  The blue light (primarily) suppresses melatonin, a sleep hormone.

Eat right.  Don’t eat large meals right before sleep.  During the day eat foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat.

Avoid alcohol.  Although alcohol is soporific, that effect is short and after a few hours your sleep may be interrupted.

Take a Walk.  Taking a walk in bright morning sunlight works best because it boosts sleep hormones.

Prepare.  During the last hour or so before sleep, start dimming the lights, turn down the heat and maybe read a book or tune into some soothing music.

Don’t nap.  Napping more than an hour can interfere with sleep.

No drugs. Sleep medicine is less effective than most people think, and comes with bad side-effects, especially for seniors. Older people in particular should avoid benzodiazepines because they increase the risk of accidents through inattention and drowsiness.

Adjust behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can help reduce sleep-disrupting behaviors and is now recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  You can find a clinic at www.sleepeducation.org.  You can also get help from the Association for Behavioral and Congitive Therapies at www.abct.org.  Finally you can also consider an on-line program like SHUTi at www.myshuti.com.  According to Consumer Reports, “More than half of chronic insomniacs who used SHUTi saw improvements after nine weeks and were sleeping normally a year later.

(Source:  The Secrets to a Better Nights’ Sleep, On Health Magazine by Consumer Reports)