It’s pretty much impossible to slip into slumber on command. “Sleep is not an on-off switch,” says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-week program to Better Sleep and Better Health.”It’s like slowly taking the foot off the gas and putting on the break—there’s a process that has to occur.” One hour before bed, begin to gradually power down. Spend 20 minutes preparing for the next day—making lunches, laying out clothes. Spend the next 20 minutes washing up and getting into PJs, and then use the last 20 minutes for some type of soothing activity that brings on the z’s.
No matter how tempting it may be to sleep in on weekends, it’s better to wake up at your normal time. “This is so important,” says Cathy Goldstein, MD, neurologist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan. “If we shift our sleep and wake times later—for example, sleeping 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., during the week and 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. during the weekends—we push our internal clock later, then come Monday morning it’s like we’ve flown from California to New York over the weekend—we have social jet lag.” As a bonus, if you get up at the same time every single day you may stop needing an alarm clock. (Or at least you’ll grope for the snooze button less.)