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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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        Chris Haigh

        Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

        When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

        In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

        While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

        As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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          Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

          Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

          The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

          But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

          However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

          This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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          Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

          We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

          Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

          Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

          The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

          When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

          When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

          How to Make Decision Effectively

          Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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          1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

          You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

          Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

          Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

          2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

          You don’t have to choose all the time.

          Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

          Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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          3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

          You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

          The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

          Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

          Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

          So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

          More Tips About Decision Making

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

          Reference

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