After a long day, most of us look forward to our daily reward - a good night's rest. Between fluffy blankets, atop luxurious sheets of cotton, it's a chance to get away from the world, a vacation without the need for airlines or pesky baggage. Not only does it recharge and rejuvenate, but research has shown that sleep can improve your memory and extend the average lifespan.

Unfortunately, sleep isn't always as easy as lying down and waiting to be whisked away to La La Land. Instead, our worries and stress can follow us into our dreams, making the chance of a sleeping just that - a fleeting fantasy. So, to ensure you get the best rest possible, here are a few tips and hints that should have you dozing off in no time.

Drink less caffeine
Many people use caffeine as a boost, either when they awake or midway through the day. While it can be helpful, drinking it too close to bedtime can keep you awake at night. Most doctors suggest avoiding that refreshing soda or tasty iced coffee at least four hours before bedtime. Even small amounts of caffeine can keep you staring at the ceiling all night long.

As an extension of this, avoid beverages in general an hour or so before you hit the hay. That will reduce the chance you'll need a 3 a.m. bathroom break. 

"Sleep can improve our memory and extend our lifespan."

Watch what you eat
Just like caffeine, eating before bed can prove problematic for catching those oh-so-cherished Z's. The best bet is to try and eat at a normal-sized meal in the evening and avoid meals a few hours before slumbering. Research has shown that eating larger meals before bed can actually cause you to gain weight, as it throws off your body's hormonal balance. This is especially true if the food is greasy or high in fat and calories. If you just can't fight those late-night munchies, enjoy lighter snacks like fruit or Greek yogurt. 

A good night's rest is an important way to recharge your batteries.A good night's rest is an important way to recharge your batteries.

Make a routine
Your body likes predictability, as it can better plan and maximize its efforts. That's why going to sleep at different times each night can wreak havoc. While life can be unpredictable, try and go to bed around the same time each night, and always plan for at least seven hours of sleep. Anything beyond nine hours, though, and doctors say that you'll feel overly groggy the next day. It's also important to create the right conditions in your room. People often sleep best in cool, dark places, so plug in that fan and purchase a decent sleep mask. 

Part of your routine should include turning off your phone at night. On the one hand, you won't be awoken by random alerts. Plus, you'll feel less stressed knowing that you can sleep the night away.

Exercise every day
Exercise is already good for helping you lose weight and prevent ailments like heart disease and diabetes. Engaging in activities like running or a friendly game of basketball can help reduce daytime sleepiness and let you fall asleep faster and for much longer. Additionally, research has shown that exercising in the day can help those who experience leg cramps during the night. However, just don't overdo it - exercising within three hours of bedtime can leave some people wide awake.

Exercising also cuts down on opportunities for naps. Though refreshing, these little respites can keep you from falling asleep at night.

Unplug during the weekend
Weekends are more than just a time for cookouts and generally lazy behavior. These two days a week are a chance for you to detach yourself from your worries and focus on what's important in life - be it family, friends or hobbies. Do your best to make the weekend your own time, and to even possibly catch up on some sleep. That pile of work will still be there on Monday morning.