A ball game is engaging enough to take your mind off your problems thereby reducing your body's stress hormone levels without triggering its own stress response, says Phyllis Zee, M.D. Ph.D., of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. You can also try the trick with business news, poker, or movie reruns. But set the radio's sleep timer. Background voices can leave you feeling less rested in the morning, according the National Sleep Foundation.
As you drink, the warmth of the milk, as well as the compounds it contains like tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid, can trigger your body temperature to rise, causing blood vessels to dilate to vent heat. That ultimately causes your core temperature to swing back the other way. The result is similar to what happens naturally after you doze off: Your core cools to make it easier for you to enter sleep's deepest stages, says Dr. Zee.
Warm tea works like warm milk by setting off a biological response that lowers your core temperature. But compounds in chamomile also stimulate your brain's production of glycine, a natural nerve relaxant and mild sedative, days Men's Health sleep advisor W. Christopher Winter, M.D. In one study, people who took chamomile extract daily for eight weeks reported a significant drop in anxiety symptoms, including insomnia, compared with a placebo group.
When your reach orgasm, your pituitary gland releases the sleep-inducing hormone prolactin, says Dr. Winter. This does not happen in women. But equally important is the Pavlovian response: If you are doing the deed on a bed in a dark room, your body's already gearing down for sleep. Just be sure to kiss her goodnight before you slip into unconsciousness. A nice gesture increases your odds of having many more restful nights in the future.
Like Ambien, alcohol binds to brain receptors that govern GABA, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety. But because alcohol works on just about every GABA sub-receptor not just the ones that make you sleepy it also affect your coordination and airway muscles. That raises your risk of developing sleep apnea, says Dr. Winter. And according to a 2015 Australian study, alcohol also blunts your ability to enter deep sleep.