My search for easy to implement simple sleep hacks started when I became desperate to gain control of my failing health. How to get quality sleep and my lack of sleep was my focus for a while. I was ill, not feeling rested when I woke up, sleeping at odd times of the day, just falling asleep anywhere, migraines, pain in my joints, weight piling on…
I spent 2 years in and out of the doctors, scans, blood tests, medications, more medication, changing medication, poked and prodded till I could not face any more. I could go on, but I will spare you the detail!
The more ill I got, the more my quality of sleep deteriorated. Or was it the more my quality of sleep deteriorated, the more ill I got? Probably a combination of the two!
These days, I sleep much better. A full night’s sleep is normal rather than rare as hen’s teeth! I’ll share with you my tried and tested tips for better quality sleep that I still use today.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, how busy you are, or how much money you have. Sleep is the ultimate tool to sharpen every skill and add more quality years to your life.” Dave Asprey (Click to Tweet)
Tip #1 Sleep the proper amount of time
You are an individual and your sleep requirements and definition of quality sleep are very likely different to mine. The most basic sleep hack for achieving better quality sleep is to first discover what your body naturally wants from you when it comes to sleeping. It’s not the number of hours sleep that matter, but the quality of your sleep.
Discovering how much sleep you need is not that hard to do, but it does mean allocating the time to do it. Some people refer to it as “free-running” sleep.
In an ideal world, you would have no schedules, no alarms, no sleeping pills or aids. You would simply get tired, go to sleep and wake up in the morning. If you need an afternoon nap, you’d take an afternoon nap.
If you are lucky enough to live this way – I envy you!
For the rest of us with schedules to keep…
Allocate some time out for a week so you don’t feel pressured to get up for work or school runs etc. Go to bed when you are tired and allow yourself to wake up naturally.
The first few times you try this you may sleep for hours. I know I did – I was so sleep-starved that just switching everything off and allowing myself to sleep meant that I slept a good 15 hours!
Or you may be the opposite and struggle to get to sleep, tossing and turning.
That is why it is best to do the free-running sleep check over several days so you discover your natural sleep length of time.
Mine is 6-6.5 hours of sleep per night. Yours may be longer. Or shorter… You may be one of those people who sleep fewer hours in a block but require a siesta.
Tip #2 Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Getting better quality sleep can be a simple case of creating and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. If you know the proper amount of sleep you need, maintaining a regular sleep pattern is much easier.
For example, I know I need 6.5 hours of sleep each night. I also know I need to be out of bed around 6 AM to enable me to get everything I want to do in the morning done and still get to work on time. So, I need to be in bed by 11 PM.
I try to maintain that 11 PM at the latest bedtime, even at weekends, to avoid feeling like I have jetlag! That’s not to say I don’t occasionally stay up late, of course, I do. It’s ok once in a while.
Because I maintain my sleep schedule, I get up most mornings without the jolt of the alarm. Once you get into a regular sleep pattern, the quality of the sleep you get improves.
Tip #3 Take time to wind down before bed
Block out at least 1 hour before your bedtime to allow yourself to wind down ready for sleep. I cannot stress how much just this one simple sleep hack changed my quality of sleep for the better.
Your body and brain need a timeout to relax, feel safe and prepare for sleep. Unfortunately in these modern days, we don’t give ourselves that time. The phone or tablet is beeping away, we’re gaming or watching TV. We’re eating, or exercising or squeezing one last task in before bed.
Our stress flight, fight or freeze sensors are on high alert looking for the next threat constantly. Then we wonder why we can’t sleep!
Turn it off.
Turn it all off at least an hour before bed.
Put the phones on airplane mode, turn off the wifi, power down the PC or games consoles and prepare to relax.
Figure out what relaxes you, it doesn’t have to be the same thing every day.
Here are some of my favourite things to do to wind-down before bed.
- A warm bath
A warm bath on its own is enough to relax. But I love my bath with Epsom Salts and lavender oil. Epsom Salts are magnesium sulphate. Magnesium is a mineral known to relieve stress, relax muscles and promote better quality sleep. It also can be absorbed through the skin.
Lavender is also known for it’s relaxing and soothing properties.
Try a warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom Salts and 2-3 drops of lavender oil. Pure bliss…
No bath? A foot spa works too 🙂
- Magnesium and oil massage rub
Massage a blend of oils and magnesium into my neck and shoulders and settle in bed with a book. Yes, I do fall asleep reading…
Why not try HB Naturals Sleep Lotion?
- Watch something relaxing on TV
I do this after a hard day and I just need to turn off. For me, that’s usually watching Antiques Roadtrip! Anything where I can just let my brain power down.
Just breathe. Sit quietly and focus on the in and out of breathing.
A breathing technique to try in bed if you are struggling to sleep is the 4-7-8 breathing method. I find it works really well.
* Breathe in through your nose for the count of 4
* Hold your breath for the count of 7
* Breathe out through your mouth for the count of 8. Make a wooshing noise as you breathe out.
* Repeat 3 more times.
- Guided relaxation
A guided relaxation before bed is another favourite. Download one so you don’t need to keep your WiFi on 🙂
- Practice gratitude
Keep a journal or even write down on scraps of paper and put in a jar – what are you thankful for today?
- Try a sleep app
There are lots out there that do everything from guided relaxations, to sleep stories to noise or gentle music. Find one you like best.
At the moment I’m using a paid app. I chose it because as well as a choice of sleep stories, noise, music and ASMR, it tracks my sleep pattern and records my snoring. I know if my snoring time increases my sleep quality is deteriorating, so I can look at what I am doing differently that has affected my sleep. It also has a gentle wake up alarm. While I wake up naturally most mornings now, I still set an alarm “just in case”!
Tip #4 Sleep on an incline
This is one of those sleep hacks that make you think:
I tried raising the head of my bed on blocks and it works. More often than not, I sleep right the way through the night and I feel refreshed in the morning.
I removed the blocks from under my bed when I moved house, and I noticed a difference in my sleep quality. Back they went!
Tip #5 Get outside in natural light in the day time
What you do in the daytime can really affect the quality of your sleep. We spend so much time cooped up unnaturally indoors.
To get better sleep go back to basics. Go outside in the morning when the sun is low in the sky. Don’t wear sunglasses, just let your body adjust to the morning light naturally.
Go for a walk. Get a dog or borrow one! Get a walking buddy if you must. But just get outside. Spend the first 20-30 minutes of your morning walking.
Throughout the day, spend time in natural light. Open your blinds or curtains and let in as much natural light as you can.
There are many more tips for better quality sleep from fixing your environment to eating the right fats and more. I chose these 5 simple sleep hacks because I am still using them today.
If you enjoyed this article, please share! Click on any of the social sharing buttons below.
P.S. Did you know you can join the HB Vitality team to gain access to HB Naturals essential oils, sleep lotion and a wide range of healthy natural products at wholesale prices? Discover how, click here!