31 Oct 101 sleep hacks that have worked for you
Lately, the folks over at ABC Health and Wellbeing have been focused on sleep. They recently asked their readers questions about their shut-eye in order to take a national sleep snapshot. More than 20,000 people answered the call, giving a clearer picture of what’s happening under the covers in Australian households.
The data collected gave an insight into what’s keeping people awake at night, what helps them sleep and how much sleep people think they are getting. Furthermore, readers shared thousands of tips on how to get to sleep – and stay that way. There were so many good ideas and tips that ABC have compiled the top 101 sleep hacks.
Daytime activities to help you get some zzzs
1. Keep busy during the day.
2. Don’t take work home with you.
3. Walk around the block after dinner.
4. Cut back on caffeine, even if you desperately love coffee.
5. Pay attention to your diet.
6. Swim during the day.
7. Cut back your alcohol consumption, and don’t drink too late in the evening.
8. Don’t drink caffeine after midday.
9. Talk through any problems with a partner or friend earlier in the day.
10. Do a Sudoku puzzle before bed.
11. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even on weekends, as much as you want to sleep in.
12. Don’t listen to the experts — have a glass of red wine with dinner.
13. See a psychologist if you have insomnia.
14. Regular exercise. You always sleep better on the days you exercise.
Bedtime routines matter
15. Have a chamomile tea.
16. Have a cup warm milk and honey before bed.
17. Don’t eat right before bed.
18. Don’t go to bed angry.
19. Listen to audiobooks narrated by David Attenborough.
20. Enjoy a mug of warm Milo.
21. Moisturise your hands and feet.
22. Drink apple cider vinegar (two tea spoons 20 minutes before bed).
23. A warm shower or bath leading up to bed. It helps wash the day away and makes you feel relaxed.
24. Avoid overeating in the evening. You may enjoy the food, but it will keep you awake — especially if you get indigestion.
25. Make sure everything is ready for the next morning.
26. Have a regular bedtime routine that sets your brain to sleep mode.
27. Eat peanut butter on toast.
The dark side of blue light
- Light from screens shining into your eyes sends signals to your brain that interfere with the production of melatonin, a chemical needed for sleep.
- Although all wavelengths of light have this effect, blue light is particularly problematic. Blue light is so good at helping us feel awake, it’s used in places like factories to help night workers stay alert.
- Repeated use of a bright screen in the evening over five nights can delay the body clock by 1.5 hours, the Sleep Health Foundation says. This means you want to go to bed later and sleep in longer, which is a problem when work or study schedules call for an early start.
28. Turn your screens off at least an hour before bed.
29. Use a blue light filter app on your smartphone.
30. Remove as much technology from the bedroom as you can — especially from your bedside table.
31. Get over social media FOMO and switch your phone off.
… and relax
32. Get ear plugs if you live in an apartment building, or sleep with a snoring partner.
33. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique (breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven and breathe out over a count of eight).
34. Meditate to relieve stress and clear the mind of anxiety.
35. Write in a journal to quieten your mind and get thoughts out of your head.
36. Listen to the sounds of nature. There are apps which play raindrops, crashing waves or rainforest sounds. Or you can leave the fan on for white noise.
37. Stop worrying about things you can’t control.
38. Count sheep or something equally inane to divert your attention away from what’s keeping you awake.
39. Listen to guided sleep meditations.
40. Listen to podcasts — as long as they’re interesting and not too riveting.
41. Listen to a radio talk program on very low volume.
42. Wear an eye mask.
44. Avoid scary movies.
45. Sing to yourself.
46. Have a footbath with magnesium salts, bicarb soda or your favourite garden herbs.
47. Do stretches before bed.
48. Progressively relax every muscle in your body.
49. Diffuse oils.
50. Practice breathing exercises.
51. Wash your sheets and air your doona regularly.
52. Put lavender drops on your pillow.
53. Invest in a good pillow. It’s game-changer.
54. Keep your bedroom window open.
55. Get blackout curtains and remove all sources of light.
56. Keep your room temperature cool.
57. Dim the lights around your home.
58. Burn eucalyptus oil.
59. Keep your room free of clutter.
60. Use a silk pillowcase in summer.
61. Ditch the doona. Use layers.
62. Get a comfortable bed — you spend a third of your life in that thing.
63. Make sure your feet are warm.
64. Sleep naked.
Bedfellows can help or hinder
65. Have sex. Lots of sex.
66. Kick your husband out of bed.
67. Don’t let pets sleep in your bed.
68. Don’t be afraid to sleep in a separate room to your partner.
69. Cuddle your lover.
70. Don’t have pets or children. Always have sex.
When you lay down
71. Rest a warm heat pack across your eyes.
72. Read less interesting books.
73. Reflect on the good things you’ve done that day, and what work you are looking forward to doing the next day.
74. Go to the toilet right before getting into bed.
75. Stay still if you feel restless.
76. Count back from 100 in a foreign language. You’ll give up and fall asleep before 90.
77. Think about interesting scenarios that will never come to pass.
If you wake
78. Have pen and paper nearby to write things down, instead of worrying you’ll forget them by morning.
79. Avoid looking at the clock when you wake up in the night.
80. Imagine yourself in your favourite TV show.
81. Stop agonising over poor sleep.
Well… it might work
82. Take magnesium and melatonin tablets.
83. Get better neighbours. Seriously.
84. Nurture a clear conscience.
85. Don’t get old.
87. Put ‘going to bed’ on your to do list.
88. Leave the children with their grandparents.
89. Don’t sign up for shift work.
90. Count your blessings.
91. Don’t have children unless you are willing to be sleep deprived for literally years.
92. Have an orgasm.
94. Travel overseas! Sleep is better in the northern hemisphere.
95. Don’t go Scottish country dancing the hours leading up to bed.
96. Don’t fall in love with astronomy.
97. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
98. Practice self-acceptance.
99. Sleep in the foetal position.
100. Have regular holidays.
101. Follow your own advice.