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A recent Time article examined the large price tag for something that’s free

A recent Time article examined the large price tag for something that's free - sleep. Spending related to sleep has increased almost 9 percent annually since 2008, reaching about $32 billion in 2012.

The article's author, Kit Yarrow, shares that there are plenty of free things one can try in their efforts to catch more sleep. Before sinking some cash into loads of over-the-counter sleep aids, try these first:

  1. Stick to a nightly routine and train your body to fall asleep at a certain time each night.
  2. Don’t use the bed for anything other than what it’s made for (that means no work, cell phones, etc.). Just making the association between your bed and sleep can sometimes be powerful enough.
  3. Make sure the bedroom is free of distractions. For optimal sleep, a room should be cool, dark and quiet.
  4. Calm the mind by trying some breathing exercises. Count “one” and breathe in and “two” to exhale.
  5. Keep a pad of paper on the nightstand to capture thoughts during the night that may cause anxiety or stress. They can be revisited in the morning.
  6. Avoid things like coffee before bed and try to work out earlier in the day.
  7. Turn off computers and phones.

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