Tossing and turning all night long? Try these tips before bedtime to make your Zzzs count.

The average person spends more than a third of his life sleeping. Then why does it feel like you hardly slept at all? Odds are you’re not optimising your sleep time hence the sleep deprivation. One way to tell if you’re getting enough sleep is simple – are you tired during the day? If you’re constantly yawning and find it hard to focus at work, here are some solid, proven ways to get better sleep tonight.

#1 First, Snack on Magnesium-Rich Foods

Research shows that magnesium helps relax the muscles and makes you feel more restful, which as you know it, is key to having better sleep. It also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides the sleep-wake cycles in your body. On top of that, magnesium helps relieve anxiety and depression that can interfere with sleep.

To take advantage of this, snack on foods like pumpkin seeds and nuts. Or you may want to consider taking a magnesium supplement though it is recommended that you consult a doctor first.

#2 Then, Turn Down the Temperature

Notice how you toss and turn on a hot night? That’s because extreme temperatures are likely to keep you awake and disrupt your sleep. For better sleep tonight, try keeping the bedroom slightly cool. Open the window for a soothing night breeze. Do this an hour before you sleep so that the room is nice and cosy when it’s time to turn off the lights.

#3 Don’t Forget to Set a Sleep Routine

Routines work in a unique way – it “trains” your brain to do something based on a set of rituals. To get your brain into sleep mode, work out a nightly routine 30 to 60 minutes before lights out that signals it is time for bed. It could be a hot shower followed by a cup of lavender tea. Or a five-minute breathing exercise accompanied by calming music. The trick is to find the ritual that helps you relax.

#4 Also, Learn How to Relax

When you’re all tensed up, chances are sleep won’t come. So the key is to prepare the body for better sleep and the easiest way to do this is to learn how to relax your muscles. Think of progressively relaxing every part of your body. Start with the feet first – tense the muscles, hold for a count of five and then relax. Move up to the calves, thighs, stomach, upper body, neck and eventually your facial muscles. This indirectly sends signals to your body to unwind, relax and rest.

Or you can try a meditation breathing exercise at bedtime to prepare the body for sleep. While lying in bed, place your hands on your belly. Breathe in and breathe out, and focus on this movement. This helps get your mind off your busy thoughts and eventually brings about sleep.

#5 Finally, Make Your Room Completely Dark

Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep. For some people, even the slightest bit of light may cause fitful sleep – as the brain is confused whether it is night or day. So make sure you dim all the lights, or switch to soft, bedside lamp. Best to also hide all glowing electronics (like digital clocks) from view. Street light from outside disturbing your sleep? Get blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask.

#6 Wait, Still Can’t Sleep? Get Up Then

Even after all that and you’re still wide awake? If it’s been more than 20 minutes, rather than force yourself to go to sleep (it’s not going to happen), get out of bed instead and try a relaxing activity like listening to music or meditation to induce sleep. The more you think about not being able to sleep, the more you won’t be able to sleep!