1. Get out of bed

When you know you won’t fall asleep soon, get up, says Dr Kenny Pang, ear, nose and throat surgeon and sleep specialist at Asia Sleep Centre. And don’t set a sleep “time limit” for yourself as you can stress yourself unnecessarily.

2. Have a routine before bedtime

According to Dr Lawrence Epstein, chief medical offi cer of the US’s Sleep Healthcenters network and instructor in medicine at Harvard University in the US, our body craves routine and likes to know what’s coming. “By creating a pre-sleep ritual, you’re establishing a clear association between certain activities and sleep,” he says. Dr Pang recommends relaxing activities like reading a book, meditating, stretching and taking a warm bath.

3.Go back to bed only when you feel sleepy

Don’t head back just because you are bored of reading or meditating. And “forcing” yourself to sleep is futile as it only makes you more alert. 

4.Take a melatonin pill

If you’re still awake between midnight and 1am, take a melatonin (sleep hormone) pill, which you can buy over the counter. Th is increases the amount of sleep hormone in you, helping you fall asleep. Th ese are not sleeping pills, which you should avoid taking, and it’s safe (no side eff ects) to take one pill a day, even for long periods, says Dr Pang. If it’s past 1am, don’t take the pill as you might not be able to wake up in time the next morning. Instead, he advises, just lie down and rest.

This story was originally published in Her World Fit & Fab Issue #2 in 2013.