Having trouble falling asleep? These sleep hacks will help you snooze through the night. You’ll get better rest following these tips so you can feel refreshed in the morning.
These days, there are tons of people who suffer from insomnia. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Although sleeping issues have been traditionally more common in women over age 65, an increasing number of younger people are having trouble sleeping.
Medication is the primary reason older adults have insomnia. Whereas for younger people, sleepless nights are often linked to mental health.
No matter the root cause is, you need to be critical of sleep hacks offered online. Some sources offering tips on how to fall asleep fast contain misinformation.
For example, two high-ranking YouTube videos suggest that sleeping on your right side is bad. But somehow, if you have insomnia, it can be cured by sleeping on your left side.
Nonsense! There is no research to support this. And after all, anyone who isn’t getting enough sleep will tell you that it doesn’t make one bit of difference which side you sleep on.
Tips for sleeping better
Here are some of the sleeping tips that actually work to give you a good night’s sleep so you can wake up early in the morning the next day feeling more refreshed.
1. Avoid bright light from electronics
Think of your nighttime routine like an airplane ride. All your electronic devices should be in airplane mode. Your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and TV all emit blue light.
The problem with blue light is our eyes do a poor job filtering it out. It also interferes with the natural release of melatonin at the end of the day.
Melatonin is often referred to as the “sleep hormone.” At night, the production of melatonin should be highest.
However, the artificial light from electronic devices you have powered on in your bedroom can cause your melatonin levels to fall.
It’s not just your phone, tablet and TV. Many lamps and reading lights emit blue light too.
Do you read a book on a tablet or with a standard desk lamp? If so, the light from either device can potentially interfere with your sleep cycle.
If you’re falling asleep easily but having trouble staying asleep, make sure all electronic devices are completely powered off at least one hour before you go to bed.
How serious of a problem is blue light in terms of interfering with people’s sleep? Take a look at this research study to learn more about this common issue.
So if you like to read at night, one sleep hack is to buy a reading light that doesn’t contain blue light. Another is to avoid screen time right before bed.
2. Create a relaxing sleep environment
Temperature is one of the most important factors that can affect sleep. Lower temperatures are more likely to induce sleep than higher temperatures, but even small changes in temperature can have an impact.
Your body temperature drops during sleep, so when you wake up in the morning, it will be lower than your baseline temperature. If the room is too warm, it will take longer to cool down and get back into a deep sleep.
Turning off the TV an hour before bed is also a good idea if you want to improve the quality of your sleep. Instead, try turning on a white noise machine as part of your relaxing bedtime routine. And, If there’s light coming in from outside, invest in some blackout curtains.
3. Exercising For Better Sleep
If you’re not doing moderate or moderately-high intense exercise during the day, start making physical activity part of your daily routine. For those living in New England, why not take some long walks along the scenic hiking trails in Rhode Island.
Even if you’re stuck in an office all day, you can take a long walk during your lunch hour. Don’t take your whole lunch break to actually eat; if you can eat while taking a short break late in the morning of in the afternoon.
And inclement weather is no excuse. If it’s raining, walk with an umbrella. If it’s very cold, bundle up. Or, if the weather is indeed that bad, walk up and down the stairs in your building. Listen to a podcast or music to make the time go quicker.
The bottom line is that exercise helps you sleep. Research proves it.
4. Clean up your diet
A lot of people do not eat a healthy diet. Thus, it comes as no surprise that sleep quality is linked with poor gut health. One reason is because melatonin is made in the gut as well as the brain.
Eating foods naturally rich in beneficial bacteria such as low-sugar yogurt and fermented foods can improve good gut bacteria. But some people may have too much beneficial bacteria so it may be a good idea to have a GI Map test done to determine if the gut bacteria is balanced.
Your daily meals should include plenty of green leafy veggies. If you can’t stand eating them, juice them and add an all-natural low-calorie sweetener such as Stevia to make it palatable. Or take a greens supplement each day.
Green leafy veggies are rich in calcium and magnesium, among other sleep-inducing nutrients. Calcium may help prevent sleep cycle disturbances. Magnesium helps you sleep because it has a calming effect on the nervous system.
5. Have a small bite before bed
Another hack for falling asleep fast is eating a carbohydrates before bed. There’s research like this that proves this works as well.
Now, before you rejoice thinking that you can eat a huge bowl of pasta late at night, think again.
You don’t want to gain weight or raise your blood sugar levels, do you? However, eating a small amount of a healthy carbohydrate source, such as a sweet potato can help induce sleep.
How? By triggering tryptophan activity in the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid. One thing it does is produce niacin which in turn produces serotonin. And serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm.It also produces the sleep hormone, melatonin.
So let’s review why a small amount of healthy carbs before bed can help you fall asleep quickly:
carbs => tryptophan => niacin => serotonin => melatonin => sleep mode
6. Sip on herbal tea
There are many herbal teas that can help you relax so you can get a good night’s sleep. Some of the best ones are chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and hops. They work by calming your nerves or soothing your stomach. It is important to remember that it might take a while for these herbs to have an effect on you.
The most popular tea for bedtime is chamomile tea. It contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the reasons it helps you sleep is because it has a calming effect. It also contains natural properties that help with digestion and can relieve symptoms of indigestion.
7. Take a hot bath
It is no secret that a hot bath before bed can help you sleep better. It’s a great way to help you fall asleep better because it relaxes your muscles and lowers your heart rate. It can also make you feel warm and cozy, which is a key factor in feeling sleepy.
According to this study, you should take your bath 1 to 2 hours before bedtime and the water temperature should be between 104 and 109°F for best results. This tried and true method is sure to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Best sleep hacks
Sure, you might be able to get better night’s sleep by using body pillows, sleep masks, and a weighted blanket. And, sleeping on on your side instead of your stomach may even help. However, lifestyle choices are the most important for a good night’s rest.
That means having good sleep habits like a consistent sleep schedule. Ideally, you should go to bed between 9 and 11pm for healthy sleep-wake cycles. The exact time depends on when you typically wake up in the morning. If you fall asleep at the right time each night, you should not need an alarm clock!
It’s also important to turn off all electronics and devices with blue lights at least one hour before you want to fall asleep. You also need to make your bedroom as dark as possible and have it at the ideal temperature.
Other ideas that may help
There are plenty of guided meditation apps that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Try one and see if it can lead to more restful and continuous sleep.
In addition, don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol can interfere with sleep cycles. It might help you pass out quickly. But that second glass of wine is all it takes to disrupt your sleep cycle.
Keep a sleep journal. Make it meticulous. Record everything you ate and your routing before going to bed. Also make sure to note if you exercised and if so, for how long and what kind.
Before long, your journal will help you recognize sleep patterns.
What are your favorite sleep hacking techniques?
More life hacks
For other life tips and tricks, check out these articles.