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10 Simple Hacks To Fall Asleep In 30 Seconds, Backed By Science

10 Simple Hacks To Fall Asleep In 30 Seconds, Backed By Science

Yawn. It’s easier said than done trying to actually catch some Z’s, and there is an entire spectrum of people, all desperately trying to claim back the realm of sleep and their quality of sleep. We all want high quality of sleep, and yet so many of us find ourselves tossing and turning hours after we hit the pillow, unable to slip into the Land of Nod.

However, we all deserve to get the kind of sleep we deserve, and so we’ve rounded up some of our best and most useful sleep hacks to try and help you find it a little bit easier to curl up under the covers and nod off. So, without further ado, here are ten of our simple sleep hacks…

1. Read A Book Before Bed

One of the best and renowned sleep hacks is to turn down the lights, snuggle down, and have a quick read of a good bedside tome. It doesn’t have to be particularly highbrow reading, although reading something you find boring or stale might well induce your visit to the Land of Nod. Reading helps facilitate sleep by forcing you to remove yourself from electronic equipment – items designed to keep your mind visually stimulated – and into a relaxed activity. So, next time you’re struggling to get to sleep, try picking up one of those books on your bedside. It might just be the thing to help.

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    2. Set A Formal Bedtime

    Setting a formal bedtime – as in a time in which you force yourself to go to bed every evening – can be extremely beneficial in terms of helping you get to sleep post-haste. Not only can setting a formal bedtime help you physically, it has some strong psychological benefits. Setting a certain time for you to go to sleep helps your mind recognise that it is time for you to start unwinding and relaxing, much in the same way a child learns to sleep through the night. A regular bedtime also helps your brain adjust its levels of serotonin and melatonin, and helps balance your circadian rhythm out. In short, all good things, and essential sleep hacks that you should implement if you want to be asleep within seconds.

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      3. Eat A Healthier Diet

      We know everyone keeps extolling the virtues of a healthier diet, and believe us, we’re sick of it too. However, if you’ll hear us out, adjusting your diet to help you get better sleep, might just be worth it. Research has found that increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and pulses can help improve your sleep and the time it takes for you to go to sleep dramatically, thanks to enhancing your levels of magnesium, potassium, or other essential minerals that your body needs. Even incorporating more turkey – rich in tryptophan which helps induce drowsiness and sleepiness – can help make the distance between awake and sleep much easier.

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      4. Keep Your Room Cool

      The last tip we can offer to help you get to sleep quicker, is to make sure that you keep your room as cool as possible – but not too cool. Years of scientific research have found that your body temperature is key when trying to get to sleep, as your body temperature naturally drops when you start to nod off. Therefore maintaining a cool, but not cold temperature in your room is essential. Similar to the way how coming out of a hot bath makes you feel sleepy thanks to your body’s temperature drop, the best course of action is keeping a fan or a window open to keep cool air circulating, and then taking the opportunity to snuggle down. Lovely.

      5. Practice Yoga Before Bed

      If you fancy exploring something a little less orthodox, then research suggests that doing a spot of yoga can help relax your body and help you get to sleep in record time. In terms of sleep hacks, yoga has long been touted as an avenue worth exploring; certain sequences such as ‘Salute to the Moon’ are designed to be slow, gentle movements that promote a feeling of relaxation and which help relieve any bodily aches that might keep you up at night. Yoga gets a lot of attention for its health benefits, but if you’re stuck on a sleepless night, try your hand at some yoga and find yourself relaxing and nodding off immediately.

      6. Meditate

      The meditation revolution keeps on rolling through our cities and cultures, touted as a huge help for anyone who needs it – and with good reason. In terms of being simultaneously rudimentary and revolutionary, meditation has been commended as a kind of cure-all for a large swathe ofphysical or psychological ailments – in this case being unable to go to sleep. Meditation allows you to calm your restless mind and focus on the kind of slow, rhythmic breathing that helps make sleeping better. In fact one of the suggested breathing techniques, the ujjayi breath (or ocean breath), is perfect for calming you down and helping you nod off to sleep.

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      7. Drink Some Warm Milk

      Sometimes the old wives’ tales turn out to have some common sense or a grain of surprising truth in them. For example, the old adage about drinking warm milk helping you go to sleep, turns out to be not only true, but a beneficial sleep hack for anyone trying to get to sleep quicker. Warm milk, or similarly crafted milk-based beverages, may have shaky standing as a soporific thanks to the ongoing debate over the actual effectiveness of tryptophan in aiding sleep. However, psychologists have considered that drinking warm milk may have an unconscious psychological effect, and that it relates to the childhood experience of breastfeeding and the comfort associated with it. So, if you want to have a little sip of something before you hit the hay, try a glass of warm milk, rather than the traditional boozy nightcap. You’ll feel better for it in the morning – in more ways than one.

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        8. Cut Out The Caffeine

        One of the best sleep hacks out there is to cut out of the most prevalent addictive chemicals out there: caffeine. Yep, we’re all guilty of partaking in some caffeine at one point or another, whether it’s in our tea, coffee, or even out of chocolate. However, if you want to make sure you go to sleep as soon as possible, try and cut caffeine out of your diet after a certain point in the day. Studies indicate that cutting off your caffeine intake after 3pm helps improve quality of sleep, and the time it takes for you to get to sleep. So, if you want to try something to help you nod off in record time, try ditching that late evening cup of coffee, and see what happens.

        9. Turn Off The Electronics

        One of the biggest, best sleep hacks for the modern-day person, is to remove those pesky electronics from your bedroom to stop you playing with them. Numerous studies have found that the blue light from electronic devices disrupts your brain’s ability to begin relaxing for better quality sleep, as well as the likelihood of being unable to properly relax before hitting the hay, thanks to devices intended to keep you engaged. Instead, try and turn off your laptop, phone or tablet about an hour before you go to bed, so that your mind can unwind properly, and you can get that all-important quality of sleep that you deserve.

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        10. Invest In Some Blackout Curtains

        This can be an issue no matter what your bedroom situation is, but it is always worth investing in a solid pair of blackout curtains if you’re looking for a great go-to sleep hack. With more and more light pollution in the day-to-day – your neighbour’s backyard spotlight, the streetlamps outside, everyone’s car headlights coming in at 1am – it can be harder and harder to sleep with all that extra light pouring in and messing up your chance at sleep. Blackout curtains are a great preventative measure, as they’ll make sure your sleep is longer, better, and is much less likely to be disturbed.

        Featured photo credit: Cute newborn baby sleeps in a hat via shutterstock.com

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        Published on January 16, 2019

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

        You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

        You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

        That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

        Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

        1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

        Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

        We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

        To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

        At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

        The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

        2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

        Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

        The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

        In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

        It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

        It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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        So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

        • Are you a great strategist?
        • Are you an effective planner?
        • Is Project Management your strength?
        • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
        • Are you the ideas person?
        • Is Implementation your strength?

        Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

        3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

        One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

        Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

        Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

        Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

        4. Take Time for Planning

        “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

        One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

        You can take the time to think about:

        • What’s the purpose of the project?
        • How Important is it?
        • When does it need to be delivered by?
        • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
        • What are the KPIs?
        • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
        • Who is working on this project?
        • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
        • What tolerances can I add in?
        • What are the review stages?
        • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

        Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

        5. Focus on Priorities

        Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

        Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

        One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

        1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
        2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
        3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
        4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

        James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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          The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

          If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

          If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

          6. Take Time Out

          To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

          If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

          Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

          In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

          Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

          Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

          I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

          Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

          If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

          8. Stop Multitasking

          Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

          So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

          When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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          If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

          9. Work in Blocks of Time

          To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

          I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

          Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

          Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

          Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

          Then take another 10-minute break.

          Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

          By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

          10. Get Rid of Distractions

          Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

          “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

          Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

          If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

          11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

          You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

          Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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          Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

          12. Take a Time Audit

          Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

          Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

          You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

          Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

          Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

          At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

          If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

          13. Protect Your Confidence

          It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

          When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

          Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

          When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

          Final Words

          A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

          The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

          If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

          Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

          Reference

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