We’ve published dozens of handy guides to solving sleep problems at Lifehacker over the years. To conclude Sleep Week, we’ve rounded up all our recent key sleep information in one easy-to-reference post.
Picture by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
For something we spend half our life doing, a lot of us are pretty awful and sleeping. Here are our top 10 tips for falling asleep faster, getting quality rest, and waking up easier in the morning.
Sleep is a mysterious process, and that means it’s the subject of many untruths and much ill-informed wishful thinking. If you’re trying to improve your quality or quantity of sleep, don’t fall for these myths and you’ll be well on the way.
Dear Lifehacker, I’m a terribly restless sleeper, and when I wake up, I’m often not well rested at all. Is there anything I can do to stay comfortable and sleep soundly through the night? Sincerely, Light Sleeper
It’s easy enough to decide to go to bed strictly at a certain time, but actually doing it is another story. We often get carried away in the late hours of the night, trying to knock off just a few more things we wanted to do, whether it’s for work or fun. The next day, we’re tired and filled with regret, yet we don’t stop. If this sounds like you, it’s time to start “force quitting” yourself at the end of the day. Here’s how.
Sleep. It’s the one thing we all do and the one thing that few of us are willing to screw around with — if only because a bad night of sleep can ruin an entire day. Still, hundreds of sleep tricks, hacks and dream induction techniques exist that are supposed to give you a better night of sleep, and they’ve all been ported to your phone. But do any of these really work? If so, are these apps worth using? We’ll take a look at the science supporting various sleep apps, and then see how it really feels when your sleep and dreams are tinkered with.
“Just one more go,” you say to yourself as the clock nears midnight. You know that this time you won’t make that stupid mistake. You’ve solved the puzzle, you’ve cracked the code. You are in control. Just one more go. The next thing you know, it’s 4am and you have work the next day. Gaming has stolen your night and your precious sleep once again. We’ve all been there — but we need to stop going there if we don’t want to ruin our sleep patterns and our health.
We asked Sarah, the editor of our awesome sibling site BellaSugar and an expert on more beauty products than you ever imagined existed, for her advice on techniques and products to look rested when you feel anything but.
Humans have a very short fasting period. We eat several times in a 16-hour period, only stopping to sleep for the other eight. Gary L. Wenk, PhD, writing for Psychology Today, points to a study that shows sleep and health may improve if you limit your feeding hours.
Being awake in the middle of the night is more common than we sometimes think. Rather than stressing over sleeplessness, take advantage of your wakeful state to plan for what’s ahead.
If you often have trouble falling asleep quickly, a change in your shower schedule can help. Taking a warm shower or bath at night adjusts your body temperature so you’re nice and groggy by the time you hit the sack.
Last week I learnt that a 15-20 minute nap between the hours of 1pm and 3pm could cure your afternoon slowness. Still sceptical, I thought I’d put it to the test and see if it really made a difference. Here’s what I discovered.
We’ve looked extensively at apps designed to improve your sleep patterns, but there’s always a lingering question: can the data from the apps be trusted? Writing at open academic site The Conversation, University of Western Australia software expert David Glance suggests the answer is “yes”.
The notion that eight hours sleep is essential to health is widely repeated, but — as we’ve noted before — fails to take into account that individual requirements vary. Something else you probably didn’t know: the idea that we need a long continuous period of sleep is a relatively modern innovation.
When you’re lying in bed trying desperately to fall asleep, your mind may seem like your worst enemy, keeping you awake. If you keep your mind focused, however, you may fall asleep faster. Redditor JarlOfBacon suggests counting the Fibonacci sequence.
Scottish Lunacy And Sleeping Challenges
For one month Kotaku editor Mark Serrels intends to sleep using the Uberman Sleep Schedule. Instead of one eight-hour block of sleep, he will have six 20-minute naps spread evenly throughout the day. Madness, panic attacks, zombie sleep walks, catastrophic failure. These are all very real possibilities. This is Sleeping Like Superman.
I was aware of it in the beginning, but somehow I forgot. I was aware the night before my last eight-hour sleep, when I curled up beneath my sheets. At that point I remember specifically thinking to myself: “tomorrow you can’t do this”. Or the night after that. Or the night after that.
Mark’s attempts to adopt the Uberman schedule of polyphasic sleep have already pushed him to the brink. Here’s a video diary he filmed this morning at 3am. Surprisingly, he was in a better frame of mind than the night before, or when he write this morning’s post. Can anyone say mood swings?
The train has become my sworn enemy. The morning air is crisp enough. I open the door of my apartment building and fill my lungs with cold oxygen. On any other day that cool, sharp sensation would be enough to put a spring in my step, or at the very least shock me into action, but today it just reinforces the hard fact that my brain has been dulled. I am exhausted and I feel drunk. Utterly punch drunk.
The above video was made at roughly 4am. At that precise moment, I had never been more tired in my life. It’s not in shot, but to my right is a television. I can’t be 100 per cent sure, but it was most likely showing the Max Payne 3 kill screen. On it a single question: Retry/Quit?
Sleep deprivation — it’s like a barrier that shields you from the world. It’s like trying to walk underwater, or pounding on the windows of a glass case. When you’ve had no sleep you evacuate your body, and keep the world at a distance.
“This isn’t for you. You’re not good at this,” says my wife, shouting from the other side of the apartment. She’s curled up in bed, reading a book, lazily. I’m hunched over the computer desk, jaw clenched, inches from a monitor screen. I can feel the pulsing of the brain inside my skull. “You’re not Superman,” she says. “You’re a sleepy man.”
I’ve never felt such relief. Laying my head on the pillow, bracing myself for a full, guiltless sleep. Bliss. My polyphasic sleep experiment had ended. I could enter back into normal society as a fully rested, fully functional human being. At that precise moment my mind was empty, scattered, exhausted. Only later, after 13 hours of sleep, did I attempt take stock and ask myself: what went wrong? What could I have done better? Was my experiment a complete and utter failure?