According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. In the short term, sleep deprivation can lead to impaired judgment, moodiness, an inability to retain information and more. The long-term effects, however, are really worrying. Deprivation has been linked to increased risk of a number of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and mood disorders. Sleep is so important that studies have shown those who sleep less than five hours per night increase their risk of death (by any cause) by 15%. Yikes! While more and more Americans are taking medicine at night to put themselves out, we all know natural is best. So, we dug deep to find out how you can get better at it before it gets the better of you. Here, every sleep hack you need to know in order to optimize your health and sanity via quality z’s.
Every Sleep Hack Ever
While you don't want to eat a big meal within two to three hours of your bedtime and you should avoid alcohol entirely if you're seeking high-quality sleep, some foods and beverages have been proven to benefit. According to a study out of Louisiana State University, drinking tart cherry juice twice a day can help insomniacs sleep up to 90 additional minutes per night, as cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin. Another study showed "kiwifruit consumption may improve sleep onset, duration and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances." Eating two before bed, apparently, can help you fall asleep quicker and improve the quality of your z's. Bananas, meanwhile, are a good source of potassium and magnesium, both of which are muscle relaxants. They also contain tryptophan, which the body converts to melatonin.
If you haven't yet tried Lush's Sleepy lotion, we suggest you do so immediately as our beauty editor—and half the internet—swears by it. If you're a hardcore insomniac who isn't convinced lavender-infused lotion is going to help to solve your problems, you may want to try a magnesium lotion instead. While not exactly an Ambien-strength sleep aid, magnesium may relax those whose anxiety keeps them awake.
Here, five science-backed tips for creating the perfect sleep haven. Everything from your mattress to your bedding to your lighting counts!
All types of artificial light are messing with our circadian rhythms, and for many of us, that's what we see all day. For this reason, biohacker Dave Asprey of Bulletproof fame invested in a company called TrueDark, which makes glasses that block out certain biologically confusing types of light. They aren't exactly style-forward yet, but we presume they will be in the not-too-distant future. Dave has also commissioned special lighting for his offices and cafés that change colors to signal the brain to wind up or wind down. Until such lights become the norm, you can hack these effects by stepping outside first thing in the morning, again around midday and limiting your exposure to blue light (computer, iPhone) at night.
In other technological news, sleep trackers may be worth the hype for troubled snoozers. Various options work with your body, your mattress or both to collect comprehensive data on your sleep quantity and quality and help you figure out what time to wake up for least groggy results. Make your bed a smart bed, for example, with this tracker from Tomorrow Sleep.
Did you know Tom Brady worked with Under Armour to create bioceramic sleepwear meant to help your body recover while you sleep by reflecting far-infrared waves? If you, like us, are like "huh?," just know far-infrared can reduce stress among other benefits that may aid sleep.
You've probably heard of melatonin, but you may not be as familiar with valerian root, which promotes relaxation. You can also try powders such as Moon Juice's Dream Dust, Nature Vitality's Calm Powder and the soon-to-be-released Sleep Inner Beauty Powder from Beauty Chef, all of which comprise a host of supplements meant to aid relaxation and sleep. (Note: We do not recommend you add supplements to your daily routine if you're taking prescription meds unless you speak to your doctor first!)
If you're looking for something a little stronger but still natural, and you live in a state where marijuana is legal recreationally or medicinally, try hmbdlt's new Sleep dose pen. We're obsessed! You can find it in stores near you here.