5 Scientifically Proven Steps to Improve Sleep

Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 22nd Oct 2013

When it comes to getting a better night’s worth of rest each night, each person has their own routine. Some simply wear themselves out, others look to pills or supplements to make themselves more tired, while the rest look to in-the-moment changes, like heading to the couch. Whatever the method, however, few seem to work toward long-term results. Unless habits are changed for the course of one’s resting periods, small adjustments just don’t seem to hold up.

But when science and facts are considered, those odds can take a sharp turn for the better. Author Tim Ferriss, who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, has taken this stance into account when reevaluating the way we sleep. By looking at proven figures, he’s created a simple standard of optimizing the way we sleep.

His advice includes:

Taking a Short Wake Break

While waking up at night is generally considered a bad thing, it could actually improve the way you sleep. Short “wake breaks,” about 5-10 minutes long, can rapidly increase one’s REM numbers. This timing is ideal about 4-5 hours of sleep time in, while an additional wake at 6.5 hours can help to further the cause.

Test this method for an increase in REM efficiency; different time slots can even be tried; see which times leave you feeling the most rested

Avoid Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much before bed actually decreases one’s sleep levels – drastically. In fact, just two drinks within four hours of one’s bedtime will lower “deep wave sleep” between 20 and 50 percent. This means, despite sleeping, one will likely still feel tired and unrested because the alcohol affected the quality of sleeping levels.

Look to Supplements

While alcohol or heavy foods can lower one’s ability to sleep, there are several options to actually increase deep sleep levels, such as California Poppy extract. By taking multiple drops before bed (15 or more, depending on directions), one’s deep wave sleep levels can be increased by 20 percent.

One or two tablespoons of peanut or almond butter can also help fight off tired feelings. Eat them on celery sticks for an added nutritional boost. While flaxseed oils can repair cell damage overnight. Take 1-2 tablespoons to reduce that tired feeling for the following morning.

The above are also a natural option that doesn’t require heavy medicines or adverse effects. However, patients should always talk with their doctor before introducing new supplements.

Lower (or raise) the Temperature

Almost everyone has woken up in a dead sweat – or because their body is far too cold. In contrast, finding the perfect sleeping temperature can keep you resting comfortably all night. Ideally, the thermostat should be set between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, which leaves quite a bit of room for personal preference. Look to blankets or warm PJs to help make up the difference, as a cooler sleeping environment can increase the quality of sleep on a regular basis.

Don’t Move

One of the biggest reasons people stay awake at night is because they toss and turn, constantly in search of a more comfortable position. Whether or not it can be found, it accounts for much of the night by way of fully awakened movement.

To achieve a non-moving sleeping position, try the “half military crawl.” This is done by laying on one’s stomach, with the head looking toward the right. One’s right knee is then raised to a 90-degree angle, with the right arm sits at a square opposite. Meanwhile the left leg is straight, and the left arm lays flat and palm up. (It can also be reversed to the left side.) Here, the sleeper is basically trapped by their own devices, forcing themselves to move the entire body to readjust. While less moving means more sleep, and less time spent getting there. [Huffington Post]