5. Watch What -- and When -- You Eat
Sleep isn't the only routine that follows the clock. Your liver, pancreas, and other organs have their own clocks that respond to food. A big late-night meal can throw them out of rhythm.
When you eat late, your body also stores more fat and you can put on pounds. Get most of your calories early in the day and then have a light supper, Colwell says. "That's for your waistline, and your sleep."
6. Keep Naps Short
An afternoon nap can give you a burst of energy to get through the rest of your day. But if you snooze too long, your body will see the nap as your main sleep time. "Then it becomes harder and harder to sleep during the night," Colwell says.
How long is the perfect nap? About 20 minutes, Connolly says.
"Short naps give you a little bit of restoration, but they don't let you get through all of the sleep cycles." Because you don't sleep too deeply with a short nap, you won't feel groggy afterward.
7. Limit Caffeine
The cup of coffee that wakes you up in the morning has the same effect at night. Cut out the colas and coffee entirely, or avoid anything with caffeine for at least 6 hours before bedtime.
8. Reach for the Right Sleep Aid
Sleeping pills may be OK once in a while. They can help you avoid jet lag on a long flight or get some rest the night before a stressful meeting. But they're not ideal for long-term use. "They put you to sleep, but they don't do it in the way your brain normally goes to sleep," Colwell says.
For some sleep problems, like jet lag or shift work, melatonin may help you get back on track. Your body naturally produces this hormone. Taking melatonin supplements can override your circadian clock if it's out of rhythm.
9. Adjust to Your New Time Zone
To avoid jet lag when you travel, switch to your destination's schedule in advance, Connolly says.
A few days before you leave, start to move your bedtime closer to the time you'd go to bed there. So if it's 6 hours later where you're headed, go to bed an hour or two later each night. Then get up an hour or two earlier.
Repeat this routine on the way back. Give your body about a day for each time zone you cross to get used to the new schedule.