Between the near-constant anxiety and the long working hours, getting a good night’s rest is difficult to do these days. Many of us have been logging less sleep than usual, and we all know that’s not good for our health. Research shows that poor sleep can increase the risk for several diseases and illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, infection and obesity.
Luckily, there are plenty of tried-and-true tips for getting more sleep. If you’re tired of being, well, tired, try these eight sleep hacks that promise to revolutionize the way you snooze.
1. Make Your Bedroom Pitch Black
Sleeping in a dark, quiet space is crucial to getting a good night’s rest. You can reduce your exposure to light in the evening by installing blackout curtains and room-darkening blinds. If you can’t make your bedroom pitch black, try using a weighted eye mask to block out light.
2. Slip on a Cozy Pair of Socks
Believe it or not, achieving a better night’s sleep could be as easy as wearing socks to bed. According to the Sleep Foundation, wearing socks in the evening increases a process called distal vasodilation, which helps you fall asleep faster by increasing blood flow to the hands and feet.
3. Breathe in the Scent of Lavender
Stressful day at the office? Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a diffuser an hour or so before you go to bed. The calming and mood-boosting aroma of lavender has long been known for its ability to promote a relaxing environment conducive to sleep. If diffusers aren’t your thing, you can also try lavender pillow sprays, bracelets and roll-on essential oils.
4. Improve Your Gut Health
There is a growing body of research to support the idea that our gut health affects the quality of our sleep. In a 2017 study, Japanese scientists found that students who consumed more probiotics in the weeks leading up to an exam enjoyed better quality sleep compared to the placebo group, suggesting that certain probiotics support better sleep during times of high stress.
The microbes in your gut play a vital role in producing sleep-regulating hormones such as melatonin, serotonin and dopamine. To get high-quality shut-eye, try munching on these gut health-supporting foods:
- Wild Salmon
- High Fiber Foods
5. Wind Down for Bed with a Weighted Blanket
If your anxiety is getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, consider using a weighted throw blanket in the hours leading up to bedtime. These soothing blankets surround you with gentle pressure, which helps you relax by increasing serotonin and melatonin levels and slowing your breathing and heart rate. You can toss one on while reading a book or sipping on a cup of chamomile tea. Prefer to wear your weighted blanket around the house? Try one of our weighted robes instead.
6. Take a Coffee Nap
Although it may sound counterintuitive, drinking a cup of coffee right before you take a nap can help you feel more energized after you wake up. Coffee takes about 10 to 20 minutes to kick in, which is the ideal duration for a refreshing nap. If you want to try taking a coffee nap, make sure to drink your caffeine fairly quickly so you have enough time to fall asleep before you start feeling the effects.
7. Try the Military Method
Despite the intense-sounding name, the Military Method is a surprisingly relaxing way to wind down for bed. This four-step sleep hack teaches you to doze off to sleep faster, so you can feel more alert and well-rested the next day. Here’s how to do it:
- Get into a comfy position (i.e., in your bed).
- Relax your entire face, including your jaw muscles.
- Let your shoulders drop and keep your hands relaxed by the sides of your body. (This helps relieve tension.)
- Clear your mind for 10 seconds and let your thoughts pass through without entertaining them.
8. Hypnotize Yourself
Contrary to what movies and TV shows would have you believe, hypnosis isn’t some nefarious form of mind control – rather, it’s a psychological state in which people experience heightened focus and attention. Sleep hypnosis often involves listening to a recording of a licensed hypnotherapist who makes suggestions or says phrases that help lull the listener to sleep. If you want to give sleep hypnosis a try, start listening to guided sleep hypnosis videos on YouTube or downloading a sleep hypnosis podcast on iTunes or Spotify.
Simple Hacks for Better Sleep
If you’re tossing and turning more than usual, give one of these sleep hacks a try. Whether it’s pulling on a cozy pair of socks or snuggling with a high-quality weighted blanket, anything that helps you get more shut-eye is a major win for your sleep quality, and ultimately your health.