In this four part series on ways to promote healthy sleep, we have examined many factors and solutions in sleeping restfully through the night and in keeping the following day performing the way it should.
And today, we come to the conclusion of our series as we look at Five Minute or Less Hacks That Can Promote Restful Sleep.
Our hope is that you have been able to examine the suggestions we have given while also adding a few favorites that are yours personally. By hand selecting a few of our options along with yours, you will have designed a beautiful night’s sleep made just for you.
If you could do something that took less than five minutes but could provide a day of waking concentration would you do it? Of course!
In Taylor Kubota’s “Do You Have Insomnia’s” definition of insomnia, she explains that it is only classified as thus IF it “affects daytime performance.” These quick and easy fixes are the first step in the journey of the night of sleep and the day of productivity.
1. Wear Socks to Bed.
Heating cold feet causes vasodilation—dilation of the blood vessels—which may tell the brain that it is bedtime. After the blood vessels open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed throughout the body to prepare for sleep.
In fact, some research has shown that the more vasodilation in the hands and feet, the less time it takes to fall asleep. The relationship between warm hands and feet and falling asleep may be what’s behind the age-old belief that placing a hot water bottle at the foot of the bed is good for sleep (https://sleep.org/articles/wearing-socks-to-bed/).
2. Dim the Lights in Your Room.
This might seem obvious, but it bears repeating: One of the worst things you can do for yourself at night is keep the lights on. In Rafi Letzter’s “Tricks to Falling Asleep Faster and Sleeping Better,” he describes why: “Bright light — especially blue-ish light — tells your brain that it’s still daytime and prevents the release of chemicals critical for sleep, like melatonin.”
Harvard Medical School goes so far to recommend using dim red lights in the evenings and, conversely, exposing yourself to bright lights during the day to help regulate your sleep schedule.
And just in case you were wondering, turn your phone, computer screen, and television off, off, and off.
3. Turn the Thermostat to 65.
There’s a reason hibernation occurs in the winter. Bears have built in blankets, but what better excuse to cuddle up under the covers with another sleepy friend? If 65 is just too chilly for you, Zee insists that you stay below 75. But 65 is better.
4. There’s An App For That.
If you have ever been bored and tried to kill time testing out apps for your phone, you know that lots of really bad apps are out there. The problem is by the time we figure that out, we are too busy to delete and look for something new. Lauren Kirkwood and Rena Goldman have done the work for us regarding sleeping apps.
Lauren Kirkwood’s shares a new and inventive app for snoring in “Your Phone Could Cure You From Snoring.” She recommends a device and an app called Nora to assist in the difficult dilemma of snoring or sleeping with someone who snores. Here’s information about ordering this healthy and uber cool device for $259.00: https://www.smartnora.com/products/pre-oder-nora
Getting to sleep can be virtually impossible if your spouse or partner is prone to snoring, but Nora aims to help. Rather than incorporate intrusive, anti-snoring methods such as moving a user’s jaw or forcing the sufferer to sleep with his head in a specific position, Nora aims to gently interrupt snoring by moving the user’s head slightly while he remains fast asleep.
Rena Goldman listed the top insomnia apps for 2016 in her informative and fun article for healthline.com. We tried out the apps and here are our favorites. Thanks, Rena and Healthline! You put us right to sleep!
Interface: Are dreams waking you up at night? Awoken will help you understand your dreams and eventually learn about lucid dreaming, or dream awareness.
Usability: The app is pretty self-explanatory. It walks you through exercises in dream awareness and allows you to keep track of your dreams in a journal. However, it does take time to learn lucid dreaming.
Favorite thing: Being able to earn achievements and track your progress.
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Interface: Clean design helps you focus on the task at hand, which is meditating and relaxing. The soft blue background sets the mood.
Usability: Step-by-step instructions make it easy to guide yourself into meditation.
Favorite thing: The app is based off of Andrew Johnson’s best-selling CDs and MP3s that have helped people worldwide cope with stress, anxiety, and addiction.
Interface: DigiPill is creative and playful. The app “prescribes” you digital pills for different circumstances. You can buy your “pills” from the pill store.
Usability: There’s a sanctuary “pill” to clear your mind, and a sleep deeply “pill” to get to bed. Each is actually a guided meditation.
Favorite thing: The ability to try lots of “pills” without negative side effects.
Interface: Pzizz doesn’t play around. The app is designed to help you fight insomnia and take power naps during the day.
Usability: The app generates new sounds each time you use it, so your mind can’t get used to the same overplayed sounds. You don’t need to organize a sound library or make your own mix.
Favorite thing: Just turn it on and let it go to work! No need to create your own playlist.
Relax & Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold
Interface: Soothing colors of white, purple, and blue help set the tone for relaxation. Everything in the app is designed to flow together and help you meditate.
Usability: Now optimized for both phone and tablet use. Easily navigate through different meditation and relaxation exercises.
Favorite thing: Having access to Glenn Harrold’s over 20 years of hypnotherapy experience at your fingertips.
Interface: Peaceful screen images pair with hundreds of calming sleep sounds.
Usability: As one user review raves, this app “has only gotten better over time.” You can use it on both your iPad and iPhone after only one payment. It’s easy to completely customize your own sound mix.
Favorite thing: Mix and match Sleep’s sounds with music from your own collection.
Interface: A dark blue background makes the screen easy on the eyes at night.
Usability: Sleep Cycle is rated number one in the United States and around the world. Easy-to-read graphs help you make sense of your sleep patterns. The alarms and snooze functions are also very user-friendly.
Favorite thing: While you sleep, Sleep Cycle rests under your pillow and works to gather data. The app then uses that information to wake you up when you’ll feel the least groggy.
Interface: Sleep Time+ has a calming dark blue background that makes it easy on your eyes at night.
Usability: Get a full analysis of your nightly sleep patterns with the colorful graphics and stats. You can also use the app as a daily alarm. Set the alarm with one gesture and have it wake you up when you’re most rested.
Favorite thing: You can now set Sleep Time+ to check your resting heart rate when you wake up.
Sleep Well Hypnosis
Interface: The app’s aqua background makes the screen relaxing to look at and clear graphics make it easy to choose your sessions.
Usability: Sleep Well Hypnosis uses relaxing sounds along with the voice of a hypnotist to lull you into relaxation. Clickable icons allow you to easily navigate through the app’s options.
Favorite thing: Sessions can be looped as you sleep.
Yoga for Insomnia
Interface: Pictures and written descriptions explain how to do each pose so there’s no confusion.
Usability: The app makes doing yoga at home accessible to almost anyone. Simple graphics and basic adjustment features allow you to focus on designing your own yoga routine and learning the poses.
Favorite thing: You can pick your difficulty level.
In conclusion, as we stated at the beginning of this series, endless experts, studies, research, and articles exist in regards to what is indeed the magical ingredients for a night of sound, restful sleep. And yet, we still find ourselves twisting and turning night after night in frustration.
Through this series of writings we highlighted the daytime activities, the nighttime activities, the food and drink choices, and we finished today with quick five minute solutions for promoting healthy sleep patterns.
Just like no size really fits all, not every one of these suggestions will work for you, but hopefully, you have read and recognized that so many of these ideas are simple and easy. Imagine how many more you may be able to find on your own to add to your new affordable, practical, and healthy sleep inducing nights and success ahead days!
Good night and sweet dreams!