I have the exact same problem. It takes me at least an hour to fall asleep and then I wake up a lot during the night too (20+ times a night when it's bad), and sometimes I just don't sleep. I've actually found the only thing that works 100% are sleeping tablets, which usually knock me out. I only have to take 1/2 a tablet and I sleep all night.
I don't like taking them though, so if I've been having a few bad nights I take a herbal tablet called valerian, which helps relax me. It's not as effective as the proper sleeping tablets but I definitely fall asleep quicker. Also lavender on my pillow and a hot water bottle helps!
It's so frustrating isn't it! I've been wanting to avoid taking sleeping tablets if I can, as I've heard your body can get used to them if they're taken for a long period of time. That herbal tablet sounds interesting though, so I might give that ago if I can find somewhere to buy it in NZ.
I have come a long way over the past several months. It used to take me a couple hours to fall asleep, no matter what time I went to bed. I'd wake up up to a dozen times throughout the night, sometimes for a minute, sometimes for an hour. I'd wake up about 6 or 7 hours after going to bed, wide awake, but then be tired all day. Here's how I fixed it:
-Try to base your sleep schedule around the rising and setting of the sun as much as possible. I wake up at before 8 am and go to bed between 10 and 11 pm. Close enough for me.
-Put a dark curtain over any windows in your room. This made a huge difference. Also unplug or cover up any small lights from electronics. I just switch off the power bar that controls most of the things with little lights on 'em.
-Wear earplugs if you're a light sleeper or noise bothers you.
-Start winding down a couple hours before you want to go to bed. Turn off computer and tv screens, turn the lights off or down, just try to relax. Read a book.
-Don't eat anything after dinner if you can help it. Certainly not any sooner than 3 hours before bed.
I now fall asleep within 10-15 minutes of laying down and only wake up once or twice during the night and it's very brief, I barely remember in the morning. I get 8-10 hours of sleep and have energy most of the day.
Wow, that's a massive improvement just from making some easy changes to your nightly routine. I have read about something called "sleep hygiene", which makes similar suggestions as you, but I was skeptical as to whether they would work. Now I've seen that it has worked for you, I'm definitely going to try out all of your suggestions.
I'm always in front of the tv or computer right up until I go to bed, I snack throughout the evening, and don't have a consistent sleep/waking time, so there's a lot I need to improve on haha.
i take melatonin every night but the trick is to take it about 2 hours or more before bed. it works for me every single time but i have to take it around 9:30 to go to bed at 11:30.
I generally take it around dinner time, but I don't have a consistent bed time so maybe that doesn't help. My mum takes melatonin as well and it seems to work well for her. Maybe it just isn't as effective for me for some reason.
You need bright light exposure and to consume the nutrients needed to make seratonin during the day. Start dimming lights after sunset. Don't look at LED screens, but if you must get an app that removes the blue light like f.lux for pc. There isn't one for ipad, so if that's what you have, you need to get orange glasses.
Avoid caffeine, especially from afternoon onward. That includes the painkillers with caffeine. You might not think they are affecting you, but they could be waking yo u up. It happened to me.
Sleep in total darkness and don't turn on lights during te night. Get a night light with an orange bulb if you must for the bathroom.
I didn't know different shades could affect you like that. I'll see if I can get that app for my computer tonight.
I don't consume anything with caffeine in it so that won't be a problem for me at least.