When most people are children they will do anything to avoid having to go to bed. Strangely, as they get older, that attitude does not always change. Although research now shows that sleep is crucial to regenerating the body and brain for optimal functioning, people still deprive themselves of regular rest. This can lead to difficulty processing language, loss of creativity, lower impulse control and judgement, and even hallucinations and decreased lifespan ("The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior" by Sarah Ledoux, 2001).
Despite the title of this post, you don't actually want to mix it up TO sleep better! Rather, creating a predictable routine is the key to a better night of sleep (or day, should you work a late shift). Recent research has shown that playing about 45 minutes of a sedative music before bedtime results in significantly better sleep quality in older adults (age 60-85), and may do so in younger adults as well. (Sedative music has less to do with the actual style of music, and more with the tempo. Slower rock music is better than uptempo classical.)
Other useful tools you can incorporate into your bedtime routine are:
★Going to bed at the same time each night
★Not reading in bed (this was a hard one for me to accept, but the excitement and interest generated by reading keep your brain active rather than relaxing it)
★Avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
★Drinking a calming herbal tea such as chamomile or valerian a couple of hours before sleep
Mix it up by not mixing it up, and establish a bedtime routine that will see you waking in the morning well-rested and (hopefully) hallucination free!