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Nothing – and we mean nothing – is more debilitating than a bad night’s sleep. Fatigue drags down productivity, hinders your ability to make good decisions and fosters negative moods, to mention just a few side effects. Not to mention the fact that if you’re getting behind the wheel, it can be downright dangerous.
So how can you beat your alarm clock and increase your quality of sleep? Here’s our top pick of the sleep hacks that’ll have you feeling fresher than a daisy, every day of the week.
1. Set yourself a daily bedtime
It may seem a little childish, but setting yourself a daily bedtime and sticking to it plays a fundamental role in helping you establish healthy sleep patterns. You’ll arm yourself with an internal body clock, that’ll help you feel energised when you’re awake, and tired when it’s time to hit the sheets.
2. Sweat it out, sleepy
We all know that exercise is good for you, but according to a University of Washington study, people that run or walk for at least 40 minutes per day enjoy longer periods of deep sleep. Hello trim bod, and a stellar snooze. As for when to exercise? Mornings and afternoons are ideal, with experts warning against intense workouts just before bed.
3. Minimise screen time
Yep, we get that Facebook is addictive. And that you need to catch up on Netflix. But did you know that consuming electronic media before hitting the sack can have a negative impact on your sleep? From flickering TVs to glowing smartphone screens, light-emitting devices stimulate the brain and create a false sense of stimulation and alertness. To all you Kindle Paperwhite lovers out there – the intelligent front lit screen doesn’t count so you can read away to your heart’s content.
4. Visualise your shut-eye
Just can’t seem to switch off? There’s nothing quite as frustrating as a case of mild insomnia, including the dreaded feeling when you just know you’re going to function like a zombie the next day. Rather than stare at the clock for hours, try using a self-directed meditative visualisation technique like this ‘Blue Energy’ practise.
5. Eat to sleep
We all know about chamomile tea, warm milk and turkey. But apparently, there are a host of other foods that can help you get a better night’s sleep. According to the experts, almonds, flaxseed, bananas, potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread are all sleep conductive.
6. Get technical
Smartphones have revolutionised the way the world communicates, and now they’re helping users enjoy deeper, more rejuvenating sleeps. Engineered to enhance shut-eye, some people swear by apps like Sleep Genius. Interestingly, the app was developed using NASA research, and draws on a powerful blend of sleep, sound, neuroscience and music. Sceptical? So are we. Really, the only way to find out if sleep apps really work is to test them for yourself.
Got a sleep tip that helps you catch z’s every time? We’d love to hear about it!