It’s happened to all of us: We have an important early-morning meeting the next day so it’s vital that we fall asleep right away. We go to bed with the best intentions but as we watch the clock tick past 3:30AM, we know that the only way we’ll likely get through the day is with a triple espresso.

For those days, and all the other days that we don’t fall asleep as quickly as we want to, here are 7 tips to fall asleep faster.

1. Avoid eating or drinking anything before bed

I shouldn’t have to tell you to avoid eating anything sugary or drinking anything with caffeine before bed but I will anyway. Don’t do it. And don’t just avoid it an hour or two before bed. Instead, avoid it after supper. Have a good supper and then stop. If you want to drink something in the evening, drink herbal tea.

2. Create a bedtime routine and stick to it

Bed time routines work for kids but they also work for adults too. Your body and mind will recognize when you begin your routine and that routine will end with you fast asleep in bed. Choose a few activities and do them in the same order at the same time every day. Just a 20 minute routine can make a lot of difference – so brush your teeth, lay out your clothes for the next day, and do it while listening to a soothing song. Do this every day.

3. Go outside and stretch

The fresh air and stretched (relaxed) muscles will give your body a nice hit what it wants before bed. Trust me on this. Do it. Take 5 minutes and include it as part of your routine.

4. Write down your thoughts

Sit down for a few minutes and write out everything that you’re thinking and feeling. Get it all down on paper. This helps to calm your mind down so that you’re not thinking about it at night. When it springs into your mind, just remind yourself that you’ve already thought of it – it’s on paper and you can pick up the thoughts again tomorrow.

5. Cool your room down slightly

Although it’s nice to get into a cozy bed, our bodies need to cool off slightly in order to sleep. So turn the temperature down in your room. When you walk in and then crawl into bed, the room temperature will help to bring your body’s temperature down.

6. Turn on a fan or some other whitenoise

When we sleep, we don’t hear the noises around us. But when we’re trying to fall asleep, sometimes those noises can seem even louder! Turn on some whitenoise (not music!) to drown out the world’s sounds.

7. Close your eyes and count down from 100

Get into a rhythm of counting: Inhale deeply, count one number, exhale deeply. Inhale deeply, count another number, exhale deeply. As you count, intentionally relax. With every number you count down, feel yourself becoming increasingly relaxed. As you count down from 100 to 80, you will probably be forcing thoughts out of your mind. But as you continue, you will fall into a pattern of breathing, relaxing, and repeating. It’s calm, soothing, and it really works to help you fall asleep. The first few times might feel strange but as you continue, it will become part of your sleeping routine and you will rarely reach a count of 1 before you’re away to dreamland.

Our bodies need sleep to function... but sometimes it’s hard to sleep. These tips will help.

Happy sleeping!