This morning, Shawn & Sue were talking about dreams, I'm going to keep the theme going with a topic I've looked into a lot: tips to getting a good night's sleep.

Unfortunately, like a lot of Americans, I sometimes have a hard time sleeping. As a result, I've spent a lot of time looking into tips and tricks for sleeping better. Here are a few I've come across that really do make a difference.

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    Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet

    The first key to getting a good night's sleep is getting your brain into "sleep mode", so you don't want bright lights shining in your face when you're getting ready to settle down. When I'm getting ready for bed at night, I usually opt for a shaded bed side lamp to subtly light the room rather than the bright ceiling light that's hooked up to the wall switch. If you have lights shining into your room from outside, get yourself some nice, dark shades to block them out. It's also good to keep the temperature in the bedroom slightly cool. Nothing is worse than waking up during the night sweating. It's always easier to add more blankets, you can only take off so many. I have a great feather comforter that I actually keep on the bed as far into early spring as possible just because it's so warm and comfortable. If you have noise issues in your neighborhood or your home, I recommend a white noise machine. I have a small fan that I run during the night to drown out any unwanted sounds.

    Flickr user iferneinez
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    Wind down before sleep

    Adding on to getting your brain into sleep mode, you don't want to try going to sleep right after watching an intense action movie. It's not a bad idea to head into the bedroom half an hour or so before you'd like to go to sleep and wind down with a book.

    Flickr user sidewalk flying
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    Sleep and sex

    You should try to use your bedroom for only two things: sleeping and intimacy. Don't do work on the laptop in bed, don't sit in the bed and chat on the phone, and try to keep the smartphone use to a minimum. Which brings us to the last topic....

    Flickr user ecooper99
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    Take the TV out of the bedroom!

    I understand that this is a tough one for a lot of people. When I first started having trouble sleeping, the first thing I did was to take the television out of my bedroom, it really does make a difference. Looking back at everything we've talked about so far, watching TV in bed negates almost every one: it's not dark, it's not quiet, and it definitely doesn't help you get your brain and body into sleep mode. I've also found that it helps on the weekends to actually get me out of bed. It's so easy to stay in bed when you can just flip the television on, but when you have to get out of bed to actually do anything, it helps to get your day going.

    Flickr user Benoit Dupont