Other than food and water, quality sleep is an essential component of your daily life and is crucial for anyone’s survival. If you are unable to sleep, everything else suffers, including your work, your energy level, your weight, and especially your motivation. Within this post, we will be talking about 50 Sleep Hacks that work.
Hopefully, these survival sleep hacks and tips will provide you with some saving grace that will allow you to have more restful nights of sleep.
4 Pressure Points That Matters.
We all have pressure points on our body and some are proven to help you with your sleeping disorders. The most effective one to help with insomnia like symptoms is called the Neiguan, also referred as The Inner Gate.
The location of the Neiguan is on your inner wrist by a small depression between the tendons. You can find this by placing a couple of fingers at the base of your wrist until you locate the depression. When you apply pressure on the Neiguan, its said to relieve tension and stress.
An excellent hack to give you continuous pressure over an entire night is by taping a small marble over the Neiguan. Doing this might just help and it takes virtually no effort on your part.
Our second pressure point is the Shimien; it is also known as the Insomnia Pressure Point. You can find it on the bottom of your foot.
It’s relatively easy to locate by placing both fingers on each ankle bone and then meeting them at the bottom of your foot following a straight line. You will know when you find it, as it is the most tender part of your heel.
Apply pressure and see if it helps. It should not hurt when you apply pressure. The best part of this pressure point method is that it is entirely free!
The Anmien is another pressure point that seems to work wonders. Some people call this the Peaceful Sleep pressure point. You can locate it along the tender part between your neck muscles and your jawline. To make this work, bring your middle and index fingers and press firmly into the depression.
After approximately 20 minutes, you should begin to feel calm, relaxed and ready for a restful night.
Finally, we have the Shenmen, also known as the Spirit Gate. Some say that it regulates the pathways and energy to your heart. The crease at the base of your pinky finger is where you will find it.
Use your opposing thumb to apply pressure for approximately 30 seconds to disperse the energy levels that will help provide a better nights sleep.
Ditch the Tech!
The evolution of technology is something that can help or hinder your sleeping habits. Something as simple as a light bulb can have an enormous affect on your bedtime rest. My advice is to keep some of your old incandescent light bulbs after you make the switch to LED bulbs. LED lights tend to mimic daylight, which is going to tell your brain that it is not bedtime. The older incandescent lights are warmer and more gentle on your eyes.
You can also install a red Christmas light in your bedroom. The wavelengths emitted by a red light are the most conducive to sleep. I personally think this is a bit on the extreme side of things, but if you are suffering from insomnia, extreme can be your new standard.
Try to leave all your tech toys away from your bedroom. That would include television, tablets, computers, and smartphones. The light emitted by these screens will only wake you and not necessarily make you sleepy.
The only screen I can look at in bed is my e-reader since the screen is designed not to mimic daylight, and the reading makes my eyes tired. A good old fashion book also works in conjunction with your incandescent lights of course. Keep all your gadgets out of your sleep sanctuary, unless they are specifically designed to help you sleep.
Lavender has many health benefits. Not only does it help you fall asleep by making you feel more relaxed; it also helps to treat headaches, migraines, and minimize stress and anxiety levels. These factors are all things that can hinder your sleeping patterns.
Lavender essential oil aromatherapy has been proven to induce sleep and be an alternative to fighting insomnia. You can either place the lavender oil in a defuser or some even place it directly on their pillow. Studies have shown in elderly patients that by replacing their medication and putting lavender oil on their pillow, it increases their sleep regularity.
You can buy the oil in the form of vapor or can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to your skin when receiving a massage for treating pain in your joints.
Some studies have shown that by using lavender mist in respirators of patients, it helps reduce pain post-surgery. Essential oils have many useful benefits, however, it is best if they are pure therapeutic grade with no additives.
Warm Milk, Tryptophan, and Melatonin!
As you may have heard, drinking warm milk is a great way to help you relax and fall asleep faster. This is due to the hormones melatonin and tryptophan, which is an amino acid in milk that helps to induce sleep. Turkey also contains tryptophan, which is why you might feel so sleepy after a large turkey dinner! Realistically though, warm milk has always been an old wives’ tale.
There are no conclusive medical studies that have proven this, however, drinking warm milk may elicit memories of your mother and your childhood home, which could help you relax. If drinking warm milk as part of your nightly ritual has become a habit, that could be the key in relaxing you and releasing stress. There’s no harm in trying it!
We mentioned that milk contains the hormone melatonin. That amount is negligible compared to what we naturally produce in our bodies. We have the highest levels of natural melatonin in our blood at night.
You can even buy a bottle of melatonin in the form of small capsules and it is generally safe for short-term use. Unlike many conventional known sleep medications, you are unlikely to have a diminished response to the repeated use or become dependent on it.
While in Bed
When you are finally laying in bed, make sure your bedroom is kept cool. Research says that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Making sure your bedroom is at the right temperature is non-negotiable if you want quality rest.
If you find that your feet are too cold, then put on a clean pair of socks before jumping into bed. This will ensure that you will not experience any varying temperatures throughout your body.
Make sure your room is as dark as you can get it. Even the glow emitted from your alarm clock can be disruptive. Some alarm clocks can laser the time on the ceiling or even the farthest wall from your bed. If it is impossible to get rid of all the light, you can buy a comfy eye mask.
They are much better quality than the use to be. You can now buy eye masks that are the perfect fit for your head/face size and they will provide optimal comfort while sleeping.
Try to have a quiet room. If you live in the city and can hear traffic and sirens, then consider wearing a pair of earplugs. However, make sure you are able to hear the smoke detector if it turns on in the middle of the night. You also don’t want your room to be too quiet because you will end up hearing every small noise like the drop of a pin.
Consider buying a white noise machine. These machines are specifically designed to drown out any outside sounds. You can also turn the volume up and down as desired. These devices are perfect if you don’t already have a fan running to drown out all the noises.
Pets, Keep Out!
I know, who wants to kick their furry friends out of bed when they seem so cute and comfy? The truth is, we all know our pets sometimes keep us awake or wake us up in the middle of the night and disrupt our deep sleep.
If you do have a pet that tends to keep you awake while you are in bed, it might be a good idea to have a room where you can lock them up for the night. Some people start this as they bring the new pet home. Designate a place in your house and make it comfortable for the animal to be during the night, therefore, it becomes a habit and they don’t know any different.
A Warm Soak
A warm bath before bed doesn’t only relax you but it also quickly drops your body temperature after you hop out. This mimics the natural drop in body temperature caused by the brain as it readies the body for sleep.
Paint for Solitude.
Try to paint your bedroom a beautiful warm color. We suggest a relaxing blue and make sure the paint is matte and not glossy. The color is not as important, just as long as it relaxes you. You should also decorate your bedroom with furniture fitting for a room reserved for sleep and sex only. Remember, it’s a bedroom and not a man cave.
Need a New Mattress?
Speaking of bed, make sure your mattress is right for you and still comfortable. The mattress itself can be a big reason why some people have sleepless nights and wake up with a sore back and neck. Consumer Reports says that you should change your mattress at least every 5 to 10 years depending on how heavy you are. You spend a third of your life in bed so know the value of its importance and don’t skimp out and buy a cheap mattress.
You can now pay a bit more money and buy yourself a “Smart Mattress.” These types of mattresses monitor your sleep patterns throughout the night and send the information to the specific phone app.
By having all this information, you might be able to discover when you slip into a deep sleep from the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It will also tell you at what time you wake up and when you seem to move more during the night.
Try a New Pillow!
WebMD reported that you should change your pillow every 12 to 18 months, didn’t know that huh? Well, apparently it’s true since there has always been a strange love affair between dust mites and old pillows. An old pillow also loses a lot of its supportive properties as it ages. We talked about a smart mattress, well would you believe that they also have smart pillows?
These are more geared for people that have sleep apnea or a snoring problem. If you don’t want to spend too much money on a pillow for your snoring partner, you can always use this weird sleep hack. Sow a tennis ball to the back of their T-shirt so that it makes it very uncomfortable to lie on their back, thus forcing them to sleep on their side.
Waking Up in the Middle of the Night, What do you do?
If you wake up in the middle of the night and still can not fall asleep after lying in bed for 30 minutes, you should get up! Try to do something that will tire you out. A great way to make your eyes sleepy again is by reading a book. The worst thing you can do to try to make yourself drowsy at 3 am is turn on the TV, computer, tablet or phone. Another thing you should stay away from in the wee hours of the night is work material. Work material is most likely going to escalate your stress level and make you more likely not to fall asleep quickly.
Ever Heard of Circadian Rhythms?
Ever noticed that you tend to feel a burst of energy or extremely drowsy around the same time every day? That’s your Circadian Rhythm, also known as a form of the internal clock that regulates your brain cycles between alert and sleepy during a 24 hour period.
Most experts call this the sleep/wake cycle. The majority of adults receive their most significant dip in energy between 2 am and 4 am and again between 1pm and 3pm when you are wondering if it is frowned upon to take a nap at work.
These hours are not the same for everyone, and shift workers would be a bit different. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, you’re more apt to have these dips if you’re sleep deprived. When your brain runs on autopilot, it will send signals to your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls your Circadian Rhythm.
If it is dark out, your eyes send a signal to your hypothalamus for your body to feel tired. While this is happening, your brain sends a signal that releases melatonin to make you sleepy. When it is daytime and your eyes come into contact with sunlight, that sends a message so you feel awake.
That is the main reason why you should not have LED lighting, as I mentioned earlier, due to the fact that it simulates sunlight and sends the wrong signals to your brain when it is time to go to bed. Overall, keeping the same routine is crucial so that your Circadian Rhythm does not get out of whack.
Alcohol and Sleep
Try to avoid consuming copious amounts of alcohol before bedtime. Some of you might think that alcohol will make you pass out and give you a great sleep. You are right on the passing out part but not on the rest. The reason for this is that alcohols affect tend to wear off after 4 hours, just at the time where you are in your deep sleep.
When this happens, your sleep patterns get interrupted and you will begin to wake up. It may not be apparent during the night, but that is one of the reasons why you are usually not refreshed when waking up hungover – even if you got a full 8 hours of sleep!
Tobacco and Sleep
In 2013, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that smoking tobacco can alter your clock genes in both the lungs and the brain (Circadian Rhythm), thus ruining a restful nights sleep. After exposing mice, both chronically and acutely to cigarette smoke, the researchers noticed a substantial interruption of their natural circadian clocks.
This interruption worsened with increased tobacco exposure. The consequences of this disruption include risks of developing depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Not like you needed another reason to stop smoking right?
Smoking also can be the cause of sleep apnea in some people. Smokers are 2.5 times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea because the smoke inhaled irritates the tissues in the nose and throat. This causes swelling that will further restrict air flow.
Nicotine is quite similar to caffeine as they are both a stimulant. This means that like coffee, you should not ingest Nicotine too close to bedtime. Try avoiding cigarettes at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Also, smokers usually start feeling the withdrawal symptoms a few hours before morning comes, leaving them anxious and agitated and waking up prematurely.
Resist the Snooze Temptation
Try to resist pushing the snooze button because snoozing would not qualify as quality sleep. If you wake up after snoozing for 10 minutes, you are going to wake up groggier than if you would have got up after the first alarm sound.
The reason for this is waking up from a REM sleep is not as good as waking up from being in a deep sleep for an extended period. A trick to avoid snoozing is placing your alarm clock away from your bedside. A great place to put it is in the bathroom and not in your bedroom. If you have to get out of bed and make your way to the washroom, then you have less of a chance of crawling back into bed.
If this doesn’t work for you, then you can always buy an alarm clock that will separate. It will eject a piece from the clock and the alarm will only stop when you place the part back on the clock. You’re probably going to stay up after all that running around. We know that this is a bit ridiculous but it does work for some people so it might actually work for you as well!
A 2013 study from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who exercise regularly reported getting the best sleep. It doesn’t take much to add this to your daily routine; you only need upwards of 5 to 10 minutes a day to make a difference in some people. If you already have a hard time falling asleep, try not to exercise too close to bedtime since it will only rev you up. Aim to have your workout finished at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Yoga and meditation can be beneficial. These soothing activities will slow your breathing and your heart rate, helping you to fall asleep faster. If these acts aren’t your style, some simple breathing exercises may do the trick. NPR reported that taking deep breaths mimics how your body feels when it is relaxed. After inhaling and exhaling for a few rounds, you may just find yourself feeling calmer.
Ever Tried Separate Blankets With your Partner?
If your partner shivers while you’re in bed sweating, it might be a great idea to make the bed with separate sets of sheets. Make the bed with twin-size flat sheets and blankets to meet each other’s needs. Finish it off with one single comforter so everything looks normal. If this proves to be too complicated, fold the flat sheet in two so the cold partner has double the amount of layers than the hot partner.
Therapy Could be the Key
If these survival life hacks / Sleep hacks do not seem to help, you should strongly consider seeking professional help. Sometimes we can not cure sleeplessness with quick tricks and need some advice from a doctor.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a practical, hands-on approach to problem-solving. This is also considered a fantastic way to treat insomnia. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind a person’s difficulties, therefore change the way they feel. It usually involves meeting a therapist for various sleep assessments, keeping a journal, and adjusting some of your bedtime habits.
A couple of notable mentions in the products department
One item we came across that really surprised us is Swanwick Sleep Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses! They are getting rave reviews from all over the world with people that have suffered from sleeplessness and have tried so many different sleep aids.