Here are some tips for getting the required eight hours of sleep. Make your bedroom a sanctuary Keep it dark and cool, have a firm, comfortable mattress and pillow and burn essential oils such as lavender or chamomile before going to bed. Avoid reading or working in bed. Create a bedtime routine Doing the same activities just before going to bed each night will act as a signal to your body that it is time to rest. Establish a sleep routine Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day encourages your body's own sleep/wake cycle and makes for more sound sleep. Avoid eating or drinking just before going to bed This can cause uncomfortable indigestion and repeated trips to the bathroom that interrupt your sleep. Skip caffeine and nicotine before bedtime Caffeine takes about eight hours to leave your system, so count backwards from your desired bedtime to determine the latest that you can enjoy a cup. Nicotine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. Habitual smoking impedes sleep quality. Exercise Aerobic exercise in the morning encourages a good night's sleep. Working out later in the day helps too, but don't exercise two hours before bedtime as this will keep you awake. Limit naps Daytime dozing undermines night-time slumber. If you must nap, do it before 3pm and sleep for less an hour. Unwind Warm baths, warm milk, bananas and other foods containing tryptophan can help you sleep. Have a bath 30 minutes before bedtime to start the unwinding process. If you still find it difficult to fall sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired.