Tech, Now + Beyond

9 ways to hack your way to the perfect night’s rest

Put down the coffee, throw out your energy drinks, and learn to sleep through the night so you can wake up refreshed in the morning!

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Pumpkin spice latte season is upon us, and what better time to try that autumn goodness in decaf? Pumpkin spice should be a delicious, savored treat, not the only thing that stops you from falling asleep on the subway. A lot of people have normalized the idea of never getting enough sleep, but beyond normal Monday morning sleepiness, daily exhaustion shouldn’t be tolerated.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is the time when your body heals and your brain strengthens its memories.  So, while you may think you’re cutting back on sleep to get more work done, you’ll be sharper and more efficient if you set aside plenty of snooze time.

1. How much sleep do you need?

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If you’re an adult, you need 7-9 hours of sleep. And don’t try that whole “Oh I’ll catch up on the weekend” thing because that’s a myth! Figure out how long it takes you to fall asleep and make sure you schedule enough time to fall asleep and stay asleep long enough to be rested for your age group.

2. Be consistent

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The best and easiest way to maintain a healthy sleep cycle is to keep it consistent. That means you need to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day. Staying up till the small hours every weekend will ruin your sleep for the rest of the week.

3. Create a bedtime routine

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Have a set ritual you do every night before bed. Make a cup of tea and do a crossword puzzle. Take a shower and read a few chapters of a book. Wait to wash your face and brush your teeth until right before you hit the hay. The key is having a routine that your brain associates with going to sleep.

4. Work with your body

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Ideally you should wake up naturally when your body is ready, but that’s not always a realistic goal if you need to be at the office at a set time every morning. Instead, try an alarm that wakes you at the correct point of your sleep cycle. There are apps and wearable tech that track your sleep and make sure you’re up by a certain time.

5. Catch the sunrise

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OK maybe not literally, but light helps signal your brain that it’s time to wake up, just like darkness tells it to go to sleep. Unfortunately nature doesn’t always help with that, and you can’t sleep later in the winter just because the sun isn’t up. Wake-up lights like these from Lumie simulate natural sunrises and sunsets to lull you to sleep and wake you naturally.

6. Turn off your screens

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No, really, shut them off! The light from your screens is messing with your melatonin production and ruining your sleep. Turn off your tech at least an hour before you go to bed.

7. Get some exercise, but not too late in the evening

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Exercising regularly will help you sleep better, but if you do it too soon before bed your endorphins will keep you awake. Get your workout done right away in the morning to jump start your energy instead!

8. Make your bedroom a sleep-friendly paradise

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Keep it quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Try white noise if you live in a noisy neighborhood.

9. Take a nap

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Listen to your body! If it’s the middle of the day but you want to nod off, even ten minutes of rest can help boost your productivity and your mood.

There’s more to life than dark circles under your eyes and miserable mornings. Take control of your sleep hygiene, and you’ll feel immediate benefits.

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Chelsea Ennen

Chelsea Ennen

Chelsea Ennen is a New York City-based writer and recovering academic with an MA in contemporary literature, theory, and culture from King's College London. Her nonfiction writing has been published on The Mary Sue, HelloGiggles and The Female Gaze, and her dissertation on postfeminism versus third wave feminism in contemporary pop culture was accepted for presentation at the 2016 Indiana University of Pennsylvania English Graduate Organization Inter-Disciplinary Conference. She is the fiction editor of the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal and a novelist who would very much like to pet your dog, please.

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