Sleep deprivation is a serious condition that affects 1 of every 3 people at some point in their lives. Many of us have battled with it for years. According to statistics,

• 20-40% of all adults have insomnia in the course of any year
• Over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness
• Of those, 60% have a chronic disorder

Good news!!! There are surprisingly effective ways to address sleep deprivation without the use of drugs. The "downside" is that they do require changes in lifestyle, and that is something most people don't want to do. But for those who have tried everything else and are desperate for change, these less-than-obvious methods can be true lifesavers.

Often, sleep deprivation or insomnia come to us as a surprise, as if we became "victims" of it. What many people don't know, however, is that some of the reasons behind insomnia are self-inflicted and have been contributing to the problem little by little, making it very difficult for anyone to make a connection between the two (cause and effect).

Here are 15 tips for better sleep that you can start implementing today. The list is geared towards people who regular work schedule (9 - 5), but has some pointers that will help everyone. PLEASE note that for some of us, it has taken years to create the problem; naturally, it might take a couple of weeks to turn it around.

Being able to do everything on the list won't be easy. If you can do just some of it, that would be great. Don't try to remember all of it; just print it out for easy reference.

15 Tips For Better Sleep

1. Do not consume energy drinks, chocolate, tea, coffee, or anything with caffeine in it within 3-4 hours prior to going to sleep as it increases your alertness and thus makes it more difficult to fall asleep. (Did you know that decaf has some caffeine in it?)

2. The same goes with carbonated drinks (sodas, etc.).

3. Don't exercise rigorously 3-4 hours prior to going to sleep as it severely increases your heart rate. Even moderate exercise done too close to your bedtime can postpone your ability to fall asleep. If you must exercise close to bedtime, Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) done before and after exercise enhances your body's ability to recover from exercise and lower the heart rate quicker.

4. Don't do mentally challenging work (problem solving, creative work, excessive thinking, etc.) 2-3 hours before going to bed. That will activate your mind just like rigorous exercise activates your body.

5. Eating substantial amounts of food in the evening forces your digestive system remain unnecessarily active throughout the night. Eat your dinner no later than 6:30 pm and only light, healthy snacks after that, if necessary. (Most people consume most of their calories during the day, thus lunch should be the heaviest meal.)

6. Do everything you know from experience that supports your sleep (using the pillows/blankets/sheets you like, what to wear, open/close the door/curtains, asking others to turn down TV/music/conversation/lights, etc.).

7. Establish regular daily routines with healthy, balanced diet and hard enough exercise (at least 3x/week, over 30 min at a time, break a sweat). Adding yoga to your routine can be beneficial as it releases the body from tension when done properly, making you more relaxed and less agitated.

8. Go to bed at the same time every day to establish a routine your body can adapt to.

9. Massage your head, ears, palms, and the bottom of your feet earlier in the evening for a few minutes (a shoulder massage would also be good to alleviate stress accumulated there). These (maybe excluding the shoulders) have an incredible amount of important energy points that thoroughly enjoy physical massage. The benefits will lead to better circulation and bodily functioning and enhance the sense of relaxation. Using herbal oils with a calming effect can enhance the results still.

10. Do some reading. Immediately, when you notice yourself spending a lot of time on a single page and start yawning, put the book away and go to sleep.

11. Don't TRY to sleep. Trying is effort, leading to more activated bodily functions and mental/emotional alertness.

12. Don't fight thoughts. It makes your mind even more active and alert. It will also end up making you frustrated and angry. Instead, keep noticing the gaps (however small) in between the thoughts. Gently allow you awareness to be with and relax into the gaps.

13. To get yourself out of your head, allow your awareness to become aware of different sensations in the body (any sensation goes, such as tightness, flow of energy, pain, warmth, tingling, etc.).There is no need to analyze or stick with any one of them; just quiet observation is enough.

14. *Deal with life issues that cause physical, mental, and emotional stress and strain at work/home and in your relationships. Often, people can't fall asleep if they are worried about their future or if an issue is bothering them.

15. *Deal with fears related to sleeping (darkness, non-physical beings, bad dreams) or trauma (rape, molestation, violence, house fire, storm), especially if they took place in a bedroom.

* Dealing with these issues can be challenging. It is recommended you find professional help. See

BONUS TIP: (from AyurVeda)

There is something very interesting that happens to people at night. Have you noticed how somewhere around 9 - 9:30 pm you naturally get a sudden but very distinctive moment of tiredness that lasts about 15-20 minutes? (You start to yawn as well.) THIS IS EXACTLY WHEN TO GO TO BED. Most people fight this off, simply because: a) they don't know that a human body naturally wants to go to bed and be in asleep by 10 pm, b) think they are a "night person" and are so used to their routine that they can't even imagine going to bed this early.

Most people in category "b" will object this advice and find all reasons possible to rationalize it away (TV, internet, work, food, reading, phone calls, hanging out, relaxing, etc.). In essence, they make a mental argument against what their body is actually telling them. As a result, they'll be wide awake by 10 pm and have practically lost their chances to fall asleep before midnight.

Unfortunately, around 10 pm they'll be facing yet another cycle of nature which they interpret as being hungry. Eating food at this hour further activates metabolism and makes sleeping more shallow. (It is quite uncomfortable to sleep with full stomach.) Combining shallow sleep with a need to get up before we are fully rested makes matters even worse. This will result not only in chronic need for sleep but also in excessive consumption of caffeinated products, after all, we need to be awake at work.

Bottom line: because of work, kids, etc., most of us don't have the luxury to control the time we would like to get up. However, we can control the time we go to sleep. If we naturally need 8 hours of sleep to function properly (give or take an hour) and we constantly lack two hours of sleep per night, it is obvious we can't go on like that forever without paying a price. Thus, if you know you have to get up at 6 am and need 8 hours of sleep, you'd need to be sleeping by 10 pm.

Author's Bio: 

Timo Kiviö is the founder of HealerLink, a professional network of Jewel-level VortexHealing® Divine Energy Healing practitioners.

Over the past 15 years, he has developed and acquired simple yet effective self-help tools to create bigger breakthroughs with issues, ailments, and destructive patterns.

He wants to make these tools available so that by learning to utilize the most remarkable, natural healing powers of our own spirit and awareness more people can enjoy a better quality of life.