Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

Can’t fall asleep? You’re not alone.

40-million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 20-million have occasional sleep problems.

Emily Avalos, MPAS, PA-C at The Dallas Center for Sleep Disorders said she see patients every day that are tried and exhausted, yet they can’t fall asleep.

Avalos said it should not take you more than 30 minutes to fall sleep. Anything longer she said could led to further sleep issues,

“Staying in bed awake just kind of trains your body to be awake in bed,” she said.

However, sleep experts say the solution to falling asleep faster can often be as sweat and simple as a glass of milk and cookies.

Here’s out top five surprising ways to help you fall asleep.

1. Milk and cookies
Researchers say there’s some truth to notion that a warm glass of milk will help you fall asleep. The key, however; is to eat a cookie with the milk. Milk contain an amino-acid know as tryptophan. Your body uses tryptophan to make sleep inducing chemicals, but you need the carbohydrates from the cookies to help absorb the amino-acids for it to work.

2. Keep it cool
Program your thermostat to go down to at least 68-degree when it’s time to go to sleep. Research shows most people sleep better in a dark and cool room.
Avalos said, “When your core body temperature is lower it will actually cause your body to be more drowsy and sleepy.”

3. 4-7-8 technique
Here’s how it works.
Breathe through your nose for a count of four, then hold your breath for seven seconds. Finally, breathe out of your mouth slowly for eight seconds.
For many people repeating this just three times will have them asleep in 60 seconds.
Avalos said, “The counting part kind of helps distract your mind from other worries and stuff going on, and the deeper breathing helps get more oxygen and help initiate sleep.”

4. Rebel
It may sound counterintuitive but try challenging yourself to stay awake. The idea is to remove the anxiety of trying to fall sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends this as therapy to treat insomnia.

5. Write a worry list
Avalos said by writing down what’s bothering you can often free the brain of the clutter that’s keeping you up. Stress, she said, is one of the most common culprits for those who have trouble falling sleep.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)