Sleep is very important. (also see this) As most of you probably work using a computer, or just spend your leisure time watching tv, you should know that this can alter your sleeping by quite a lot.. Melatonin is a natural hormone which helps regulate your sleeping and waking up. When it's dark and dim, it get's produced more, calming you down and preparing you for sleep. When it's bright ( a computer screen, a light bulb, even an night-time alarm clock glowing can make your sleep worse.
Spending a lot of time in dim places can mess up your sleep-wake patern, make your brain sleepy and you less capable of solving problems, and performing physical activities. If you want to fix this, you should generally expose yourself to more sunlight during the day. Bright day? Don't wear sunglasses. Having a break? Go outside, do not relax inside. In your home, you could move your work desk to your window.
You want to boost melatonin. How can you boost it? Well, you should turn off your computer and tv atleast a few hours before sleep. If you like reading, do not read from a backlit e-book, choose a real book or an older e-book and use a dim bed light. You should also change the light bulbs in your house, do you really need those bright, high electricity consuming light bulbs?
Now that we have the sleeping pattern sorted out, we need to increase the quality. You should always try to keep the noise down. If you have loud neighbors, try putting on some soothing music, in fact, you can even use white noise. You should also keep your room cool, a room that is too cool or too hot can have an impact on your sleep, generally you should keep the room at around 18 celcius or higher(something like 65, 70 fahrenheit).
Eating properly, yes, food does have quite a significant impact on your sleep.You really don't want to eat two to three hours before bed, especially foods with fat. Fat is digested slowly, keeping your stomach up over-working, also giving you poorer sleep. Something like a yogurt or a banana is fine, and actually can help because of the serotonin properties. No alchohol. You'll have withdrawals during the night, giving you very poor sleep. Same with smoking, you will be having nicotin withdrawals during your sleep, if you've been smoking or regularly drinking for a long time, you might not realise how much you're missing out on.
Anxiety and stress also has an effect, thinking about these things or worrying about events can make you stay up quite a while. What you can try to do is relax. How? You should deeply breathe, closing your eyes, slowly starting to tense all of your muscles, beginning with your toes all the way up to your head, while visualising a very peaceful, nice and pleasant place..
You should never brainstorm or try solving a problem in bed. If you really need to do so today, go to sleep earlier to wake up early and solve it. The solution thought up while trying to sleep is not going to be as good as it could be with a clean, fresh mind.
If you're sleeping properly, you should never need to use an alarm. If you do need to use an alarm clock, you need to go to sleep earlier..
If you feel like you need to change your bedtime, don't straight up try to, it will probably not work, demotivate you and give you poor sleep that night. You should try shifting the time 15 minutes at most per day. Daily naps can help, and can be horrible. A nap can compensate for the lack of sleep the night before, but it can also mess your sleep up. The most you should nap for is 20 to 30 minutes.
On weekends, you should try and keep your schedule the same, you don't want your body to begin adapting to something new, and then be smacked back down to your normal sleep ways just straight before work on monday, I don't think you'd feel as keen on things as you are capable of that day, which, in an important job is not very good.
There you go, these are my tips. I have many more, but I do not want to go all-out as I did with my jump rope daily, a lenghty post will probably be not as imformative as a short, sort of dosed one can be. I hope this helped, so good night and sweet dreams (coming soon).