For most people, creating the right sleep conditions for sleep is enough to ensure a peaceful night’s rest. But what if such conditions aren’t working? If you start every morning by repeatedly hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock, it is time for you to try out one of these sleep hacks. The term “hack” has been repeatedly used earlier in various technical fields but in this context, it is used to simplify the entire process of sleep.
Below are some useful sleep hacks that can help you to get a good night’s rest -
Get into Sleep Mode
Sleep is not an on-off switch that will get you to snooze as soon as your head touches the pillow. It is a process that gradually takes shape. You should start preparing your body at least an hour before going to bed. Spend about 20 minutes preparing for the next day, 20 minutes for washing your face, brushing your teeth, and getting into your nightdress. For the last 20 minutes, engage in some meditation or soothing activity that can help you to drop into slumber.
Sleep in a Dark Environment
Reinforce the sleep pattern with darkness and light. Imitate the sunset outside to promote the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep patterns. Then sleep in complete darkness. In the morning, expose yourself to bright light to shut down the production of melatonin by the body. Keep away from any kind of digital or screen activity that might affect your normal sleep routine. If you are unable to find a completely dark room for your night’s sleep, try using a sleeping mask to block out all the artificial light.
Know More About Sleep Cycles
Scientific research reveals that humans sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. The entire cycle consists of 5 stages, including light sleep, deep sleep, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. The stages are –
Stage: 1 – Sleepiness
Stage: 2 – Light Sleep
Stage: 3 and 4 – Deep Sleep
Stage: 5 – REM Sleep
If you try to wake up in the middle of a cycle, you will feel groggy. For this reason, sleeping for 6 hours at night will feel better rested than 7 hours. Therefore, you must plan accordingly so that you complete a full sleep stage during an entire sleep cycle.
Maintain a Sleep Log
Inspired by the writings of author Tim Ferriss, it is important to maintain sleep logs. You can start either by maintaining a sleep diary in a spreadsheet or keep a number of pre-made sleep journals. Some of the data that you should keep track of are –
- The time you went to bed.
- The time it took to fall asleep.
- Whether you got out of bed or woke up in the middle of the night.
- How long did you nap?
- When did you wake up in the morning?
- What diet you had at night?
- How you felt physically and emotionally prior to bed?
After tracking these parameters for a continuous period, you will observe experiencing better sleep patterns and the steps you need to take to ensure a better night’s sleep.
Put a Ban on Your Kitchen
It is a wise decision to close the kitchen hours before sleep. If dinner is your largest meal of the day, make sure you complete it at least two to three hours before bedtime. Or else, you will end up forcing your digestive system to work overtime. Keeping you awake at night. This is more prominent when the food you are consuming is spicy, rich, fatty, and large, as it can create acid reflux, which is another sleep buster.
Follow the 28-Hour Day Concept
While most people follow the 7-days a week, 24 hours per day concept, they are unaware of what a 6-day week with 28 hours in a day is. This concept helps the user to push the clock so that he does not need to rely on external factors like light and darkness to dictate his sleeping patterns. The benefit of this technique is that it allows you to enjoy till late evenings and go out on weekends without experiencing a sleep deficit.
Eliminate Any Surrounding Noise as Much as Possible
Though it may apparently seem easy, even the slightest noise will affect your peaceful sleep and make your restoration period subpar. The noise can be in the form of noisy neighbors, or street traffic, or even snoring partners. There are two simple ways of eliminating noise –
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
There are noise-canceling headphones that are comfortable and lightweight to sleep in. Such buds are designed to block out any external noise while having super soft tips that the user can barely feel. Also, they have an aware setting that can help the sleeper to hear a small fraction of external noise such as the morning alarm clock.
- Ear Plugs
This is a low-tech but cost-effective solution if you simply need to block out all external noise while sleeping.
Paint the Bedroom in Tranquil Color
It may come as a surprise to many, but the color of your bedroom can significantly influence your sleep quality. Research studies reveal that people who sleep in a bedroom painted blue are likely to get a more peaceful sleep at night. This is because blue is a prevalent natural color, which is the same hues as the oceans and skies inspiring a feeling of calmness. Other available color options that promote sleep include muted shades of green, orange, yellow, coral, gray, and beige.
Bright and bold colors like red can increase the energy of the room as they are counterproductive to sleep.
Follow the Military Method
Although it may sound a bit alarming, you will not be deployed in a war zone. But this sleep hack originates from World War II, where the generals and other commanders developed this technique to relieve their troops from stress and fatigue caused by sleep deprivation. This new technique combined mental and physical relaxation and is known to guarantee sleep in around 90 seconds. The 7 steps of this method include –
- Relaxing the entire face muscles.
- Dropping the shoulders to release the tension.
- Letting the hands drop to the sides of the body.
- Exhaling and relaxing the chest.
- Relaxing the thigs, legs, and calf muscles.
- Clearing the mind for 10 seconds.
- Repeating the words “don’t think” over and over for 10 seconds.
The 4-7-8 Method
This method solely concentrates on breathing activities, and specifically creating a rhythm that will help to get into the realm of sleep. This method includes a simple 5-step procedure that requires –
- Parting the lips and making a whooshing sound while you exhale.
- Closing the lips and inhaling slightly through the nose while counting 1-4 in your mind.
- Holding the breath for 7 seconds.
- Then exhaling for the next 8 seconds.
- Completing this cycle for four complete breaths.
Some Pre-sleep Rituals to Follow
Developing a new habit takes time. Apart from the sleep hacks that you follow, there are some basic rituals that you need to take up. These are some end-of-the-day habits to prepare your body for deep restful sleep. These are as follows –
- Have a light dinner at least two to three hours before bedtime. This will give your digestive system enough time to work. Also, make sure that you don’t go to bed on a hungry stomach. It will not let you sleep.
- Engage in some light and fun activities after dinner. Postpone any heavy work to the next day once you have completed your dinner. Read a soothing book (but not an ebook).
- Refrain from using a laptop, phone, television, or any other device that might emit blue light. Reduce screen time at least 2 hours before bedtime. Blue light from the digital screen suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for regulating your sleeping pattern.
- If possible, take a warm shower for about an hour before you go to bed. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime. This will stimulate the secretion of melatonin.
Since the introduction of light bulbs, people started to cheat their body clocks. But everyone should take out time to ensure better and fuller sleep. It will not only make you feel refreshed but also make you highly productive. It doesn’t matter whether you are an early bird or a night owl. If you cannot get enough sleep, you cannot lead a healthy life. So, if you are experiencing sleep problems, try out one or more of the sleep hacks mentioned above. It might change your sleep pattern and provide you with fuller and better sleep.