I am a terrible sleeper. My brain thinks when the lights go out it\u2019s time to think. I\u2019ve solved world hunger in my sleeplessness. I\u2019ve rearranged the furniture to transform my thrift store apartment into a masterpiece of modern design. I\u2019ve negotiated peace treaties between warring countries. I\u2019ve balanced my checkbook from memory. Instead of resting, I exhaust myself. It would be ironic if it weren\u2019t so terribly frustrating! The worst part is that I'm so tired during the day, I fall asleep in all sorts of weird places: on the train, at school, even standing up! Over the years, I have discovered a few tried and true secrets that help me sleep: mysterious tinctures and techniques that power down my head so I can drift off into dreamland like a normal stinkin\u2019 person.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n1. Warm Milk Ain\u2019t No Chamomile Tea\r\n\r\nI know warm milk is supposed to help you sleep, but I don\u2019t think there\u2019s anything grosser than milk-coated morning mouth (my husband wholeheartedly agrees). He and I both prefer chamomile tea. Chamomile is warming and comforting, a little spicy, a little sweet, and it works. I usually drink a cup about 45 minutes before bed. That\u2019s time enough to process the liquid (if you know what I mean) so I\u2019m not stumbling to the bathroom at 2 AM.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n2. Listen to a Recorded Guided Relaxation Exercise\r\n\r\nI thought recorded relaxation exercises were the cheesiest things ever: feel your breath, picture a waterfall, blah, blah. But, if I\u2019m honest, these work really well. I think the key here is that you\u2019re focused on listening instead of on thinking. Most of them are so boring, that alone can put you to sleep.\r\n\r\n3. Visualize A Mythical Beast Ripping the Thoughts from Your Head\r\n\r\nYeah, this sounds crazy, but if you\u2019ve got a little imagination it works wonders. I imagine a big old ogre, reaching into my head and pulling my thoughts right out. You can also imagine opening the gates of your mind to let your thoughts stream out on their own. I find my thoughts are too stubborn for that. I need the ogre\u2019s\u00a0 iron grip. Experiment with this one and focus on whatever visualization works for you.\r\n\r\n4. Get Regular Exercise and an Occasional Massage\r\n\r\nOkay, so maybe exercising for sleep isn\u2019t a secret, but despite it\u2019s popularity as a media mantra, few of us are actually taking it to heart. I certainly didn\u2019t. That is, until I started training for a 5K race and found myself sleeping like a super cute baby. Exercise can suck, but at least you\u2019ll sleep. Oh, and you\u2019ll lose weight, reduce your risk for heart disease, and stave off Type 2 diabetes, but who\u2019s counting? Massage actually has similar stress-busting benefits, raising endorphins, reducing cortisol, and stimulating your brain's delta waves (the brain's sleep setting).\r\n\r\n5. Get a Decent Mattress for Cripes\u2019 Sake!\r\n\r\nThere is no substitute for a quality mattress. My mattress taco was a relic from my college years and I spent most nights rolling into my husband (who is like 100 pounds heavier than I am). And I was all, \u201cwhy can\u2019t I sleep?\u201d My awesome natural foam mattress was the best money I ever spent, hands down. Or, rather, whole body down (and sleeping).