Keeping a regular sleep schedule is probably the most important strategy when it comes to getting a good night's rest. Getting in sync with you body's natural sleep/ wake cycle is key. By going to bed, and waking up around the same time everyday you will feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same amount of hours at different times.
Here are some tips on how to keep you schedule:
1- Set a regular bedtime: go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you would normally feel tired. Try to keep this time on the weekends too. If you want to change your bedtime, make small changed daily, maybe 15 minutes earlier or later each day to help your body adjust.
2- Wake up at the same time every day: if you're getting enough sleep you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you do need an alarm to get you up in the morning, then you may need to set an earlier bed time.
3- Nap to make up for last sleep: if you lost a few hours of sleep last night, nap during the day. This will help you keep your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
4- Be smart about napping: napping is a great way to recharge, but it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem, you might want to rethink napping. If you must nap, nap for 30 minutes (1 hour max) in the afternoon. Don't nap past 4pm to avoid being too alert at bed time.
5- Fight after-dinner drowsiness: if you feel yourself getting sleepy before your bedtime, do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep. You can call a friend, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. If you give in, you might wake up later in the night and have trouble falling back asleep.