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10 Hacks to Help You Get Better Sleep

Your complete guide to getting the best sleep ever, so you can wake up feeling energetic and refreshed — every day.

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I love hanging out in bed cuddling, and I require a blissful seven hours of sleep a night—minimum. Which is why I’ve been a little cranky about the less than satisfying slumber that’s plagued me over the last few weeks. I can never sleep on planes, and I rarely sleep well the first night in a new place, so when I bounce around a lot while traveling, I often end up feeling like I need a vacation at the end of it! All the excitement of traveling makes winding down for bed more difficult, not to mention the fact that I find myself waking up in the middle of the night.

10 Hacks to Help You Get Better Sleep

But what about sleeping pills?

Pharmaceutical sleeping pills can be addictive, have serious side effects, produce poor-quality sleep, and give you morning grogginess. Melatonin pills are dangerous because they eventually mess up your body’s ability to generate melatonin without the help of a daily pill. You should avoid them both. The one type I’ve taken that works and is safe is an herbal blend called Deep Sleep. I take it when I have a big day coming up and need to be 100% sure I’ll sleep well, or when I’m traveling. Here are a few more products I love:

But what about an everyday solution?

Me being me, I set out to learn everything I could about sleep. What I learned is shocking. First of all, MELATONIN! This super-potent antioxidant is naturally produced by your brain based on signals from the sun. If you’re asleep between 10pm and 2am, it leads a clean-up crew in your body that gets rid of cancer cells, delays aging, and regenerates and repairs your cells? The question is — how do we get more of it??

Timing Matters

It sounds weird, because everyone is supposed to be different, but study after study shows that your body is designed to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day — around 9:30pm and 6 or 7am. No matter your regular routine, when you stay up too late, your body misses critical deep sleep hours. Your body does its cell-regenerating, detoxifying, and healing routine between the hours of 10pm and 2am. After 2am your sleep will get much lighter and less beneficial. If you notice you’re waking up between 2 and 3am, it may be because you’re not getting to bed early enough for your body to initiate this renewal deep-sleep process.

Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market – it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters when you invest.

The science is clear: you have an internal clock lodged deep within the brain that regulates your sleep – the pineal gland. It receives information about the sun through your eyes via the optic nerve. As the sun sets, the pineal gland is able to sense the change in light transmitted through your eyes and it begins to secrete melatonin to prepare your body for sleep.

If you are still awake, the “second wind” phenomenon occurs at 10pm, and this process of free radical removal becomes significantly impaired, which causes aging, disease, and is extremely harmful to your health. If you’re currently falling asleep well past 10pm, make it a goal to sleep earlier by 15-30 minutes each week until you hit the 10pm goal. This should help:

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She’s always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 61 Comments

  1. Blanche Martina

    Such helpful article! Really knowledgeable. I shared this article with my Mom cause she needs this after all the stress!

  2. Arlen Given

    I tried this! I seriously got 9 hours of sleep which was the best sleep I ever had in years. THANK YOU HILARY

  3. Brett Lee

    Before going to bed, my wife has this habit of spraying our room with some air freshener. I could suggest she tries to get some lavender scent, maybe using a diffuser.

    • Just make sure that you use real essential oils in a diffuser, or an air freshener that is made using real essential oils and no chemicals. A lot of chemical scents are toxic and could make sleeping harder.

  4. It’s true that having fresh flowers can help you relax. It gives you some sense of calmness whenever you look at them!

  5. Nataliya Smith

    Comfy pillows! I want to get for myself since I love having many pillows in my bed. I can’t sleep if it was less than four 🙁

  6. Jurik Smith

    I can’t do the electronic-free bedroom. Well, I will have at least a TV in my room.

  7. Juli Woods

    I never thought about trying Cherry Juice! Might get one from the market later!

  8. I don’t think I can do this on a Sunday night ‘coz I might end up getting late for Monday because of having too much of good sleep! Haha

  9. Frances Shapiro

    Getting this kind of good sleep is perfect for the weekend. Instead of going out on a Friday night, I’d rather pamper myself with these.

  10. Quin Meri

    This is helpful! But what can you suggest since I’m also a traveler and I’m always having trouble getting sleep the first night and ended up getting all groggy?

    • Claire Martinez

      Maybe try to make the new place look serene… like somewhere you’re feeling good… and just relax in there? I like doing some yoga, in the night or even early in the morning, it’s soothing and always wakes me up in a good way!

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