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A sleep hack is a technique that is adopted in order to improve one’s quality of sleep.  In this article we are going to explore the top sleep hacks and how to use them to get that great night’s sleep you have been dreaming about.

Current State:

In the science of improving things there are a few basic techniques that are critical to follow to improve any process. 

Sleep is no different and we should follow a scientific approach to improving our sleep process.

There is a business saying that is attributed to Peter Drucker that goes “what gets measured, gets managed.”  (Prusak, 2010)

Understanding where we are currently at is the first step in problem solving and is called defining the current state.  Only when we clearly define current state can we start to move forward in improving anything.

In order to define the quality and quantity of sleep you are receiving nightly is to collect data.  This data provides as with a baseline of the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting.

With this data you now can start implementing sleep hacks and by using the ongoing data you collect can now know for certain if the hack being used is working.

How to Measure and Collect Sleep Data

We are fortunate to live in times where technology is ready available to help us manage and solve the majority of problems.

There are several devices that are capable of measuring sleep ranging from a health tracker to even a smart pillow.

The main question to answer about sleep trackers is do you wish to wear a device or not.

I am a big fan of the Fitbit Smart Watches as they are in my opinion are the best health trackers on the market and track your sleep results nightly and even provide a sleep score.

The Fitbit Smart Watches need to be worn in order to work to record your sleep data.

Smart Pillows and even Smart Pads that are slipped between your mattress and foundation require no physical contact with your body.

These devices range in their capabilities but all provide useful information that is required in order to define your current state of sleep.

Armed with this data you now have a baseline of your sleep.  Now try a new sleep hack and collect the data during use to see if there are any positive changes.

Sleep Hacks the Definitive Guide: 

For details on each read below this list.

  1. Keep room cool
  2. Darken Room
  3. Exercise Regularly
  4. Keep room quiet
  5. Use naps correctly
  6. Create a sleep routine
  7. Hot bath before bed
  8. Try a new pillow
  9. Need a new mattress
  10. Quit smoking
  11. Avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon
  12. Limit alcohol before bedtime
  13. No screen time 1-hour before bedtime
  14. No large meals right before bedtime
  15. Separate blanket if sleeping with a partner
  16. Reduce Stress
  17. Snoring causes issues

 

Keeping Your Room Cool:

Typically it is suggested that the temperature in the bedroom for adults should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. (Michelle Drerup, 2018)  

There are way to keep your room cool and seen in this article "Why is My Room So Hot".

Darken Your Room:

The sun has a powerful effect on our circadian clock which in turns affects our sleep.  When you truly understand these effects on your body you can learn to manipulate light exposure levels to help yourself sleep better at night.

Keep in mind your circadian clock uses light and dark signals to predict what to do in the future: when to prepare you to be active and when to prepare you to sleep. (Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms, 2020)

If you are a person that the smallest amount of light will wake you up then consider wearing a sleeping eye mask as a sleep hack for needing a darkened room.  Sleeping masks are much cheaper than blackout shades.

Exercise Regularly

Stress and anxiety are sleep’s worst enemies. But exercise can relax you and fight off the things that keep you tossing and turning.

Exercise is probably the best anti-anxiety medication that we can get for our bodies. When we exercise, our brain releases feel-good chemicals that combat stress and anxiety. (Cleveland Clinic, 2020)

Also when we exercise more our bodies will automatically push us to sleep, rest, and recover.

Is the room to noisy or too quiet?

Well for the majority of sleepers a noisy room will keep most from getting a good night’s sleep.  However, there are some sleepers who can manager to sleep in the nosiest conditions.

Sudden loud noises will wake the majority of sleepers while most would benefit from a constant noise.

The best type of noise is for sleeping can be described as ambient, consistent, or soothing.  The sounds from the beach, as waves crash onto the shore, or the sound of a soft rain on the roof of your house, and even the sound of a fan can encourage sleep. (Premier Health, 2019)

There are also some sleepers that can’t get the sleep they need if the room is too quiet.  This can be challenging to find that of kind of quiet unless you live in a rural area.

I personally use a pink noise machine that I highly recommend to my family, friends and readers and in my top five of personal sleep hacks.

 Use naps correctly:

The American Heart Association lists these benefits that come from short napping at the right time of the day, increased alertness, attitude adjustment, improved memory, and even helps creativity. (American Heart Association , 2018)

What does the American Heart Association recommend around napping?

  • Best time for napping – 3:00 pm
  • Where? – cool quiet place
  • How Long? – 20 minutes

This is a sleep hack you might need to adjust to fit your own personal preferences in order to get the greatest benefit.

Create a sleep routine

If you are going to start getting the best night’s sleep possible then it’s time to develop a bedtime routine. (National Institute on Aging, 2020)

You need to follow the same routine nightly and your body will adjust nicely to this new rhythm and you will be sleeping like never before.

Take the sleep hacks you learned from this article and develop a bedtime routine that works for you.

 

Hot bath before bed:

A study found that taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bed could help people fall asleep more quickly.

The results of the analysis revealed that the best time for taking a shower or a bath is 1–2 hours before going to bed. The duration of the shower or bath does not need to be longer than 10 minutes for a person to reap the benefits. (Medical News Today, 2018)

This is an easy and hot sleep hack that will make a difference in getting you to sleep faster and improving your overall sleep cycle.

Try a new pillow

This is not so much a sleep hack as it is excellent sound advice that unfortunately I had to learn the hard way by years of sleeping on poor quality pillows.

Back in my younger days I had no idea what a difference that a quality pillow would make in my sleep cycle.  Once I quick buying cheap department store pillows and bought my first down pillow my world of sleep changed for the better.

You will spend one-third of your life sleeping why not invest in a quality pillow that will get you the best night’s sleep possible

Need for a new mattress:

Considering the time we spend on our mattresses most overlook or skimp on these just as we do pillows.

A good sleep hack here if you can’t afford a new mattress then overhaul the old one by adding a quality mattress topper at a fraction of the cost of new.

Quit smoking

Okay, we are all adults here you don’t need a lecture from me on smoking as we all know the benefits to quitting this habit.

Avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon

We all love our caffeine drinks to keep us energized throughout our busy days while trends are showing people are consuming more and more caffeine daily.

With the introduction of energy drinks and people consuming more coffee this is affecting a lot of people’s sleep.

The best practice in drinking caffeine according to Unity Health Network is to avoid caffeinated drinks 6-hours before bedtime. (Unity Health Network, 2021)

No screen time 1-hour before bedtime:

There are many credible sources that warn us that we should not have screen time 1-hour before bedtime in order to get to sleep faster.

The National Sleep Foundation's most recent Sleep Health Index found that people who used technology such as phones, tablets, or computers in bed before they went to sleep scored lower on measures of sleep quality than those who didn't. (Harvard Health, 2019)

No large meals right before bedtime:

You don’t need to go to bed hungry as that will not help you sleep either.  But on the flip side you don’t want to indulge in a heavy meal as that will keep you awake the same as being hungry.

The answer is simple and lies between those two points and no one knows your body better than you as you will know the proper amount to consume.

Separate blanket if sleeping with a partner:

This sleep hack seems obvious but is one of the most overlooked ones.  When you are sleeping with a partner who is constantly pulling your cover away this causes periods where you awake and then must get back to sleep.

This is an easy fix and in my top 5 sleeping hacks.  Get a separate blanket, problem solved.

Reduce Stress:

Reducing stress is much easier said than done.  But a simple sleep hack that may not address the root cause to your stress, but more relax you in order for you to sleep is a weighted blanket.

Snoring causes issues:

There are smart pillows that can help you reduce and even eliminate snoring in some people.  But the best sleep hack here is to go seek professional medical help on this one.

Works Cited

American Heart Association . (2018, May 11). Take a Nap: The Benefits of Napping and How to Make It Work for You. Retrieved July 19, 2021, from American Heart Association: 

Cleveland Clinic. (2020, November 11). How Exercise Affects Your Sleep. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from Cleveland Clinic: 

Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms. (2020, April 20). Retrieved July 18, 2021, from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: 

Harding, E. C., Franks, N. P., & Wisden, W. (2019, April 24). The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from Frontiers in Neuroscience: 

Harvard Health. (2019, July 1). Bedtime screen time may reduce sleep quality. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from Harvard Health: 

Medical News Today. (2018, February 21). Bathe 1–2 hours before bed for best sleep. Retrieved July 19, 2021, from Medical News Today: 

Michelle Drerup, P. (2018, Novemeber 8). What Is the Ideal Sleeping Temperature for My Bedroom? Retrieved March 3, 2021, from Cleveland Clinic: 

National Institute on Aging. (2020, Novemeber 3). A Good Night's Sleep. Retrieved July 19, 2021, from National Institute on Aging: 

Premier Health. (2019, May 2). Is It Too Quiet to Sleep? A Little Noise Might Help. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from Premier Health: 

Prusak, L. (2010, October 7). What Can’t Be Measured. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from Havard Business Review: 

Unity Health Network. (2021). Sleep Medicine. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from Unity Health Network: 

 

Robert Frontier

Robert Frontier

Getting quality sleep is important to people of all ages and is just one of many areas of our health we need to be maintaining. When I was younger, I didn’t understand that my health was my greatest asset and took it for granted. I have spent the last twenty years of my life in the pursuit of a healthier life style. I am a parent, grandparent, author, and entrepreneur. My desire is for you and your family to get the best possible sleep and that starts with quality sleep products. Welcome to VJ Pillow.