The world does not always work the way you want or expect. That's life and you have to learn to accept what comes and make the best of it. If you try to fight the world, you almost always end up losing. This is particularly the case when it comes to sleep. You might think a thoughtless neighbor has woken you but, for most, the restlessness and early waking is nothing more than you not being able to shut down your mind for the night. Some doctors are always searching for physical causes they can treat. You would be surprised how many people are diagnosed with restless leg syndrome or comparable disorders. This is not to deny these disorders exist. They do and, when they are real, the right treatment cures the sleep problem. But most sleep disturbance comes down to your emotional state and simply getting into bad habits. Let's start with a few of the more common "mistakes". The way you run your life can affect your sleep patterns. So eating just before you lie down can see food taking longer to get into your stomach and, worse, bring the risk of stomach acid flowing out into your esophagus causing heartburn. Drinking alcohol, or drinks based on caffeine or other stimulants late in the evening can wake you more than tire you. It's the same with watching television or working out on the internet. Just as late night food and drink can disturb your body's natural cycles, taking in news from friends or doing some last-minute work can stay in your mind and keep you awake. You should be aiming at deep REM sleep when your mind can do its routine housekeeping and your body can work on your immune system and generally tone up your body for the next day's work. If your sleep is superficial, you will wake feeling tired and irritable. So, first, the good news. There's no need to do anything too demanding. In fact, the last sentence is the answer. Aim to go to bed at the same time every night. In the build up to sleep, do as little as possible during the two hours before you go to bed. Do whatever you do to de-stress and establish a new set of sleeping habits for yourself. In this, the most important rule is to stop worrying about sleep. Many people only need six or seven hours of healthy sleep a night. Don't be misled by ads suggesting everyone needs eight hours. Equally, understand that, good as it is, Ambien simply produces unconsciousness. This is not the same as deep REM sleep where you get the most benefit. Although you will wake feeling more rested after taking sleeping pills, do not assume you are "cured". You may end up dependent on the sleeping pill rather than developing new good sleeping habits to last you a lifetime. There's a place for Ambien. When you are run down and exhausted through a long period of sleep disturbance, it will help you start to catch up. But after a short period, switch to self-help or psychotherapy.