10 simple hacks to improve your sleep

By Pinnacle Health Group

Sleep disorders in Australia have become widespread among the adult population. One in every five Australians are affected by a major sleep disorder (including sleep apnoea, insomnia and others), but just as worrying is the prevalence of us that have generally poor sleep.

Studies released on World Sleep Day in 2021 indicate that 38% of the population are dissatisfied with their sleep, and a whopping 75% of people said they had trouble falling asleep at least some of the time.

Given that the average person requires 8 hours of sleep per day (and with those calculations we spend around a third of our lives dozing!) – the importance of addressing sleep and its relation to our overall health is clear. To help you address this key health area, we have compiled a list of 10 “Sleep Hacks” to help you hit the hay, and sleep OK!

  1. Create your haven: keep your bedroom tidy, comfortable, dark and quiet – and avoid any reminders of work such as mobile phones, laptops and checking emails in your haven! 
  2. Reduce light after dinner (especially artificial light): reduce the amount of light in your home after dinner time to have a candlelit feel, which helps promote melatonin production (the body’s sleep hormone) and reinforce this biological response.
  3. Keep consistent: one of the best ways to keep a regular successful sleep rhythm is by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Choose a wake up time and aim to get up within 30 mins of that time every day, as this helps the natural sleep-wake cycle regulation of the body.
  4. Try these “sleepy foods”: high melatonin-engaging foods include tuna, jasmine rice, nuts, and milk products will naturally increase the sleep hormone production
  5. Don’t nap for >30 mins: a little cat-nap in the day can be great to recharge and refresh – but if its too long it can disrupt your usual sleep wake cycle and throw everything out.
  6. Avoid sleeping in: whilst its tempting to sleep in late if you have had a late night or you think you are “catching up” – however it is much better for the sleep-wake continuity to get up at your usual time, and sleep better the next night (even though you might struggle during the day!)
  7. Avoid vigorous exercise near bed-time: those 10pm mixed netball games can be tough on sleep – high intensity exercise will push out your natural sleep time, so consider this if you need a good nights sleep!
  8. Turn off your screens: particularly blue-lit screens, as our internal body clock is particularly sensitive to the light emitted by phones and tablets. 
  9. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: caffeine is probably more of an obvious one – and given its stimulant properties, you should avoid coffee and other caffeinated drink for around 6 hours before your bed time. Alcohol is a depressant and whilst it can assist getting to sleep initially, the quality of sleep is poor and it can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.
  10. Eat early: according to the Sleep Health Foundation, the evening meal should be at least 2-3 hours before bedtime – as having a full stomach will make sleep difficult.

Try these sleep hacks to take control of your sleep health today! 

Sleep Health of Australian Adults in 2020
Philips 2020 Global Sleep Survey – Royal Philips.