Wannabeskinny hit on all the most effective points that doctors will emphasize for sleep hygiene. I just wanted to call attention to her list and to reiterate the importance of light -- as she said, getting a dose of bright light as soon as you can in the AM, and minimizing screen time at night (blue spectrum light inhibits the body's natural melatonin production.) If screens are an unavoidable must at night, try installing f.lux on your computer like souvenirdarling (it's free). Also make sure your bedroom is dark as can be.
Alcohol might help for a one-off bad night, but it's a terrible idea if you've messed up your circadian rhythm and are dealing with a more chronic issue.
If you do try melatonin, do some reading first. Other countries regulate it much more than here because it's some powerful stuff. Also, more is not better -- 1mg is much better to start with than 5mg.
Edit - this is more for souvenirdarling -- I have long-term sleep issues that I'm constantly re-managing, and this year, staying asleep suddenly became much more of a challenge. Besides buckling down on all the sleep hygiene stuff, I've really been helped by adding in a nightly dose of magnesium. Seems to help a bit.
I also usually recommend l-theanine, which is wonderful stuff. It doesn't induce sleep but does very effectively promote relaxation. No dependency or long-term use concerns (like there are with melatonin).
Last edited by Desiderata; 06-11-2014 at 05:17 PM.