If you’re spending a third of your life on an activity, you’d be forgiven for assuming that you’ve mastered the craft by now. Except it’s getting tougher. Two thirds of the UK population suffer from disrupted sleep, and a third say they have insomnia. It’s a problem that’s not going away anytime soon.
There’s a very good chance you’re not part of the genetic elite that can get by on 5 or 6 hours sleep. A study did find a mutated gene that allowed people to function as human beings on limited restime, but these odds were less than 5%. It’s better than the lottery, but you shouldn’t be playing those odds.
The single best approach to fixing sleep is by making sure you’re spending enough time under the covers, that much is obvious. That’s giving you a fighting chance to wake up fresh the next day. The second step is becoming better at it. In this article, I’ll suggest some simple hacks that you can start doing straight away.
1. Use Blackout Curtains
Light is the body’s main way of figuring out whether it should be getting fired up or settling down. And that’s an issue, because we don’t really get plunged into darkness once the sun sets. So you need to make sure your bedroom is pitch black.
2. Shut Down Electronics Two Hours Before Bed
If that’s a tall task, just switch off what you can without getting to the nervous scratching stage. Lack of screen time is the biggest advantage that our cave ancestors had over us. It’s a shame we can’t compare mental health records to back that up, but there are still hunter gatherer populations around that squash us in sleep efficiency.
3. Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses
There’s a general theme here so far. Having a decent pair of blue-light blockers will go a long way towards filtering out the sleep-destroying rays that keep telling the brain that it’s daytime. And it saves you the hassle of dimming every light in the house after sundown. Which I would still recommend you do anyway.
4. Increase The Warm Light Setting On Your Phone
This can be painlessly done through an app, which will slowly transition and dim the colours on your screen as the evening progresses. There’s a good chance you won’t even notice what’s happening. Bonus points if you can do the same with other screens. Filters will also exist for laptops, TV’s, and so on.
5. Don’t Eat After Sundown
As I’ve explained in this article, through the topic of fasting, light isn’t the only thing that tells your brain what time it is. The presence or absence of food in the stomach will also play a role. Eating late into the evening prevents the digestive organs from shutting up shop, which diverts valuable resources that the body should be committing towards recovery.
6. Say Your Prayers
It doesn’t have to be a religious experience, but there’s good scientific basis to having some personal quiet time before bed. Pray, meditate, write in a journal, plan your tasks for the next day, there’s plenty of options to pick from. Anything’s going to be an upgrade from having one last refresh of tinder before you start crying into your pillow.
Any other sleep hacks that are working for you right now? Let me know in the comments. And check out the rest of my blog for a hundred and more training and lifestyle fixes.