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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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