Sleep is the best meditation. Dalai Lama, XIV (1979)
I once had insomnia for almost two years, fueled by a stressful living situation as well as my poor diet and sleep habits.
As a librarian, I’m trained to do research which I do rather obsessively and, since I don’t like doctors–I hate that the first thing they do is prescribe medication rather than root out a cause–I wanted to solve this problem on my own.* I read many books and articles and then I put words into action.
What worked for me:
Creating a relaxing evening routine. These are the cues the body needs to trigger that it’s time to wind down for the day. This includes ablutions (like showering and teeth brushing), reading, and listening to soothing classical or new age music.
Not eating two to three hours before bedtime, so the body can focus on sleep, not digestion.
Regular daily exercise. I alternate my mornings between yoga and Synergetics, and I take two or three 20 minutes walks a day.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every single day. It sounds obsessive but it works! Throughout all of my reading, this was the number one tip. I find that my body rests best when I awaken at 6am and am in bed by 9:30pm.
Getting some sunshine and light early in the day; it resets the internal body clock; conversely, avoiding bright light and stimulation–such as television and computers– in the evening.
Eating whole foods. I have never slept so well in my entire life since I went vegan six years ago; since then, I have also given up sugar and all processed foods. I fall asleep easily and I sleep through the night.
Nightly meditation. I clear my mind of everything before I turn out the lights.
These books were especially helpful to me:
Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Insomnia by Deepak Chopra
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep: More Than 100 Ways You Can Improve Your Sleep by Richard Graber
*Disclaimer: This solution worked for me but, as I’m not an expert, it may not work for you. Seek medical help if you need it.