"The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sleep is essential if you want to maintain a balanced lifestyle, have high levels of energy, and have a better ability to focus and be present with activities that you're engaged in. As a clinically diagnosed insomniac, I have spent a lot of time figuring out the processes involved in making sure that I get really good sleep.

Listed below are the top 10 ways that I have found to ensure that I get healthy, natural sleep that allows me to maintain high levels of energy throughout the day:

1. Create a Morning and Evening Routine or Ritual

Humans are creatures of habit. If you want to make it easier to do something, create a ritual or routine around it. Your body will eventually adapt to make it easier for you to do whatever that routine is.

If you change the times when you get up and go to sleep, this is essentially like flying back and forth around across the country into different time zones and dealing with jet lag. The more regular you can make the time that you get up, the easier it will be for your body to wake you up at that time.

You may also want to add in some specific routine actions every morning to tell your body that you're awake and ready to start the day. One of the things I do every morning is get a glass of water immediately before I do anything else. Your body is naturally dehydrated when you wake up and this is a good way to ensure you get enough liquids and let your body know that you're ready to be awake and alert.

Another thing that I've been doing recently is creating a routine for when I go to bed. This may take a while to get to work if you're currently having problems sleeping. However, if you stick with it, your body will eventually know that its time to go to bed based on the actions you're taking. For instance, you could drink a cup of tea or write in a journal before you go to bed. I also know some people who practice yoga before going to sleep.

2. Get Sun Light or a Sun Lamp

The sun helps us regulate and energize our bodies (kind of like Superman). Since many people now live, work, and spend a majority of their time indoors, it is essential that we're getting enough sun light every day. I live in Arizona and I still found that I wasn't getting enough sun light (figure that one out!). I've been told that some people have found it effective to stop wearing sun glasses in order to get more sun light when they're outside (could be worth a try).

Another route you can take, especially if you're forced to stay inside a lot, is to purchase a sun lamp. These are actually fairly expensive (between $200 and $500 for an effective one) but are extremely effective. I purchased one and have noticed that I sleep better, wake up like clockwork, and need less sleep. If you're interested in these, I recommend going with a Green Light Desk Lamp from Sunnex (http://www.sunnexbiotech.com/).

3. Limit Your Nap Times During the Day

There's nothing better than a nap during the day. If you're an entrepreneur or a student and you want to dramatically increase your productivity, taking a nap is a great solution to maintaining high energy levels and focus. However, I suggest you limit your nap times to 20 or 30 minutes at a time and don't take them anymore than once every 120 minutes or so. If you sleep longer than 30 minutes, you have a chance of going into deeper sleep and messing up your ability to go to sleep when you want to.

4. Exercise Regularly

Making sure that you exercise at least a few times a week can help you get deeper, more relaxing sleep. Exercise can help regulate your body temperatures and allow your body to crash easier when you need it to. Also, I'd suggest getting exercise earlier in the day. Exercising can give you energy so doing it right before you go to sleep may inhibit you from going to sleep.

5. Regulate Your Weekend Sleeping

One thing that can really kill your sleep pattern is trying to sleep too late on the weekends. I suggest that you try to go to sleep earlier instead of sleeping later if you're exhausted from not getting enough sleep during the week. The later you sleep, the harder it will be for you to sleep when the time comes for you to sleep.

6. Write Down All of the Important Thoughts You Have

One way that I get my mind to stop racing is to sit down and write out all the important thoughts that are keeping me up at night. That way, if they are really important, I can make sure and think about them the next day or when I have more time.

Some people use a notebook for this. I personally use white boards. That way, I'll see it again when I have time to look at it and it won't be tucked away somewhere that I won't find it. Many of my best ideas come right before I go to sleep and I wouldn't want to let them go away.

7. Control Your Eating

For me personally, I don't like eating much before I go to bed. When I eat a lot before bed, I sometimes have strange dreams, wake up a lot and just don't get a peaceful night of rest. I'd suggest that you don't eat anything big within 3 hours of going to sleep. If you do eat something during that time, eat something small and light that won't sit in your stomach all night long.

8. Clear Your Mind

A great way to clear your mind and allow yourself to fall into a deep sleep is through using basic meditation techniques. Personally, I like to focus on my breath and just pay attention to breathing in and out. I'll breath in and out slowly with deep breaths. You can count to 3 or 5 while you breath too, that has worked for me as well.

You can also try counting very slowly from 10 to 1 or focus on your body slowly relaxing from your head to your feet. There are a variety of methods that can help you clear your mind and these are just some that have worked for me.

9. Keep Light Out of the Room When Sleeping

Since light helps wake you up and darkness increases the amount of melatonin in your body (which is what helps you fall asleep), you need to make sure you have as little light on you as possible when going to sleep. There have been several studies recently that have shown that light shining on your skin can change your melatonin levels as well.

If there is a lot of light that goes through your blinds, you may want to put a blanket over the window or get new blinds. Try to have as little objects that have light on them as possible in the room including removing any cell phone lights, bright digital clocks, etc. It seems like its not much but it can affect you. Also, I know some people who use sleep eye covers to ensure they keep the light out and have had amazing results with them.

10. Get Out of Bed

If you're laying there for a while and you can't go to sleep, just get out of bed. Get up and do something for a little bit and try again in a little bit. If you get out of bed, you'll interrupt the brain wave patterns that are preventing you from getting sleep. When you're in a different state of mind, you can try going back to bed again.

Also, on this note, don't use your bed for anything but sleeping (and sexual activities). If you use your bed for arguments, talking on the phone, or surfing the internet, you may program your mind that when you're on the bed, you need to be alert and attentive. The more you just use your bed for sleeping, the more your mind will be conditioned that this is where you go to sleep and it'll be easier for you to sleep there.

If you like this article, please share it on facebook or twitter.


Author's Bio: 

The Blog Project Staff are men and women dedicated to helping you understand more about balance, fulfillment, and purpose in your life. They are knowledgeable on a variety of different subjects and want to share their wealth of knowledge and resources with you to help you succeed. To find out more information, please visit http://www.projectu.net/blog/