Last updated: Aug 27, 2008
The routine you develop an hour or two before bedtime can have a major impact on your sleep habits and your likelihood of lying awake at night. In this video, Carol Ash, DO, medical director of the Sleep for Life center in Hillsborough, N.J., explains some of the important habits to develop—and others to avoid—in order to prepare yourself for rest.

Exercise during the day can increase your chances of a good night's sleep, but working out too close to bedtime can also leave you wired and unable to relax. A warm bath or shower, Ash explains, can raise your body's temperature and help to sedate you as you cool down afterward. Finally, staying away from caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes can also help assure that your sleep won't be disrupted.

Watch Dr. Ash discuss why it's necessary to spend time relaxing before bed and the importance of darkness in your bedroom at night. For more tips, read 17 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene.