better sleep rituals

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The Block Out
Who: David N. Neubauer, MD, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

His routine: As a psychiatrist who's been studying sleep for almost three decades, Neubauer has picked up a few tricks to ensure he gets at least seven to eight hours a night (sometimes closer to nine). Before turning in, he switches on a bedside fan—regardless of the temperature in the room. "There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that white noise can be soothing, because it blocks out sudden variations in sound—like a car alarm—that can wake us," he says. Neubauer even brings a small portable fan with him when traveling.

Make it work for you: A fan does double duty by creating ambient sound and increasing air circulation, but you can also be lulled to sleep by white noise from a specialized machine, a CD or a phone app like Relax Melodies.