Everyone has experienced a terrible night’s sleep and the effects it has on your life the next day. While a single bad night’s sleep is only somewhat unpleasant, chronic sleep deprivation over time can impact your daily life and overall ability to function. It can have detrimental effects on your health. Sleep deprivation is linked to decreased metabolism, energy drain, brain fog, increased blood pressure, risky or poor decision making, and negative impacts on mental health.
As a wellness provider with 25 years of experience, I educate my patients and customers to help hack their sleep habits for the most wonderful dreamy slumber. These sleep hacks are simple, and if you slowly start implementing them into a routine, you will be sleeping soundly before you know it.
Dr. Will’s Simple Healthy Sleep Hacks
Set a Regular Bedtime. Apply a consistent sleep and wake time to set your body’s biological rhythms up for success. Like any other health routine, you need to treat sleep like a health commitment. Consistently start your bedtime routine at the same time every night. Your body’s natural rhythm will regulate, and you will start to release sleep hormones. In a few weeks, you will notice you naturally get sleepy around the same time. If you are bad at self-discipline, set an alarm on your phone to remind you when to stop watching TV, reading, or playing on your phone. If sleep has been an ongoing issue for you, choose wisely which social commitments you attend if they are keeping you past your bedtime on the weekend.
Sleep in Total Darkness! Avoid any external light coming in from windows, glaring off an alarm clock, or from your phone at night. Your circadian rhythm plays a physical, mental, and behavioural role in your body. This rhythm regulates functions like body temperature, hormone levels (melatonin), blood pressure, and sleep schedule –and it responds directly to the impacts of light and dark. Turn off your phone, turn your alarm clock away from your face, and invest in blackout curtains. If curtains are not an option or if you are traveling, then a simple sleep mask can help create the ideal darkness you need to trigger your body to sleep.
Try a Weighted Blanket. If you find yourself feeling physically or mentally anxious at night, then it might be time to try a weighted blanket. Daily stress that bleeds over into “nighttime worry” can cause you to release cortisol which triggers your body for fight or flight instead of relaxing. Studies show that weighted blankets offer a gentle pressure known as deep touch pressure therapy. This firm and tactile sensation similar to receiving a hug which promotes calmness and can reduce feelings of anxiety.
Take a Hot Bath to Simulate a Temperature Drop. The human body naturally craves cold when it sleeps. When falling asleep, your body temperature naturally drops into a hibernation mode. Studies show that sleeping environments of 60 and 67°F are favourable. Taking a hot bath before bed will raise your core temperature and then artificially drop it once you get out. This temperature drop tricks your body to prepare for sleep. Bonus hack: use Epsom salts in the bath to soothe aching muscles and tension and to help reduce restless legs.
While we all know we need a good night’s sleep, worrying about sleep only causes stress that inhibits us from falling asleep and staying asleep. The first step is to just put your body through the motions of these new habits and allow your natural internal rhythms to catch up. Before long these hacks become habits, and you are reaping the rewards of a good night’s sleep.
About the Author
Dr. William Heidary is a chiropractor with over 25 years of experience in the health and wellness sector. As Clinic Director/Owner of Back on Track Wellness Clinic, he has treated over 20,000 patients and specializes in chronic pain management. He has been a chiropractic provider to celebrities, musicians, and numerous professional athletes. Dr. Will is part owner and designer of Winkzzz, a customized pillow company and trusted sleep resource that strives to make a global impact on sleep for every-body!