We all know how great we feel after a good night’s sleep. But most of us aren’t getting nearly enough quality sleep. The lack of sleep is damaging to our mood, health, and performance.
Let’s fix that. Here are 5 simple and cheap hacks to get the best sleep ever.
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1. Take a Warm Bath with Epsom Salt
Hot baths draw heat to the body’s surface, rapidly cooling down the core after getting out of the tub. Rapid cooling of the core is a trigger to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Couple that with epsom salt, a source of the essential mineral magnesium. Epsom salt baths can aid muscle relaxation, reduce pain and inflammation, normalize blood pressure, combat insomnia, and even make skin softer.
Many adults are deficient in magnesium. Low magnesium counts have been associated with Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and ADHD.
I find that the combination of a very warm bath and epsom salt makes me sleep like a baby.
For best results, take the bath within an hour of bedtime. The bath should last at least 10 minutes.
You can usually find a large bag of epsom salt at grocery stores and drug stores for just a few dollars. Or you can buy a bag on Amazon*.
2. Turn Down the Thermostat
Just as a warm bath can reduce body temperature and promote sleep, so can a cooler environment. Research has shown that the optimal nighttime room temperature is in the range of about 60° F to 70° F (16° C to 21° C). A great middle ground is 65° F (18° C).
If 65° F is really too cold for you, you can always use covers and clothing to warm up. So, about an hour before bed, turn your thermostat down to 65.
3. Dim the Lights
Our bodies have an internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, that tells us when to feel awake and when to feel sleepy. When there is a lot of blue light in our environment, such as sunlight during the day, the circadian rhythm gets a signal that it is daytime.
Unfortunately, modern lights and electronic screens emit a lot of blue light as well. So, our circadian rhythm is tricked into thinking it’s daytime all the time.
When the circadian rhythm is not properly synchronized to the cycle of day and night, sleep quality and performance the next day can suffer.
Some ways to reduce blue light at night include:
- Dimming the lights
- Turning off ceiling lights and using lamps with dim bulbs
- Dimming the displays on your devices
- Using apps like f.lux, Night Shift, and Twilight on your devices
- Wearing blue light blocking glasses*
When you utilize these strategies, you’ll also notice that the warmer, dimmer light is a lot more comfortable.
4. Get Lots of Morning Light
Blue light is not all bad. You actually want exposure to blue light during the day to help synchronize your circadian rhythm.
The best way to do this is to get outside for at least 10 minutes in the morning. This will tell your body clock that it is daytime and may even reduce sensitivity to blue light at night. It may also help you feel more energized.
Skip that crack-of-dawn coffee and head out for a morning walk instead.
5. Take a Spoonful of Honey Before Bed
A small spoonful of honey before bed may improve sleep quality. Some people even claim more strength with the simple addition of bedtime honey.
Why does this work? Two reasons:
- Honey restocks glycogen in the liver, preventing the brain from thinking it is out of gas in the middle of the night
- Eating honey generates an insulin spike, stimulating the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Melatonin can help you feel sleepy
The optimal amount of bedtime honey is one teaspoon to one tablespoon. Any more than that, and it can have a negative impact on sleep
So, those are my top 5 sleep hacks. Give them a shot and let me know how they go. Maybe you’ll sleep better tonight.
*I may get a small commission from purchases made after clicking affiliate links.
Originally published at hackernoon.com