A lot of people think that getting better sleep is a process that requires a lot of time and energy, which can deter them from even trying. But getting a better night’s sleep doesn’t have to require a ton of time or energy; if you have 10 minutes, there are plenty of quick, simple strategies you can use today to get a better night’s sleep tonight.
Let’s take a look at five hacks you can incorporate into your daily routine to get a better night’s sleep—all of which take 10 minutes or less.
Set an alarm to cut off digital distractions
There are few things as harmful to your ability to get high-quality sleep than digital distractions. Not only can the time you spend scrolling through Instagram on your phone, surfing the internet on your laptop, or binge-watching Netflix make you feel stressed out, which in turn makes it harder to sleep, the blue light that those screens can negatively impact your body’s circadian rhythm. And as we all know, this ultimately makes it harder to wind down and actually fall asleep.
So, if you want to get better sleep tonight, one quick and easy step you can take today? Set an alarm to cut off digital distractions.
In the morning, choose a time that you’re going to disconnect from screens—and make it at least an hour or two before bedtime. “Set a cut-off time for the news, social media, work email at least one hour before going to bed. You need to allow your mind some down time to transition into sleep,” says Dr. Nishi Bhopal, MD, board certified psychiatrist and sleep specialist at IntraBalance and member of the review panel at Sleep Advisor.
Then, set an alarm for that time to remind you to power down your devices. Setting an alarm takes less than a minute—but it will remind you when it’s time to disconnect, wind down, and let your brain and body get ready for bed.
Swap your bedding
Making your bed is (probably!) already a part of your morning routine. But if you want to get better sleep at night, making your bed might not be enough—you may need to swap out your bedding.
The bedding you choose affects your body temperature. And, if your bedding is making you too warm, or not keeping you warm enough, it can have a negative impact on your sleep quality.
So, if you find yourself tossing and turning each night—and waking up with either the sweats or the shivers—a quick blanket, comforter, or sheet swap might be just the hack you need to get high-quality sleep you need to feel your best.
Swapping your bedding for something warmer or cooler is a quick fix, so make sure, at the very least, you’re changing out your bedding on a seasonal basis. “You might want to use lighter bedding with a looser weave in the summer to help regulate your temperature and choose a heavier fabric to help you stay warm in the winter,” says Bhopal.
Toss a sleep-promoting food into each meal
Another behavior that’s definitely already a part of your daily routine? Preparing food for yourself. So, if you want a quick way to promote better sleep, there’s an easy hack you can piggyback onto your existing food prep—and that’s adding a sleep-promoting food to every meal.
There are a number of foods that will help promote better sleep—and incorporating those foods into your meals each day will help ensure you get your best rest each night. For example, are you having a salad for lunch? Toss a handful of almonds on top. Just one ounce of almonds contains about 20 percent of your daily value of magnesium, which can help improve sleep. Cooking up a mouthwatering salmon dish for dinner? Good news—you’re a step ahead of the game, as the omega-3s and vitamin D found in fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, and sardines) may help improve sleep quality and quantity.
Tweaking your meals to include sleep-promoting foods takes very little time and effort every day—but can make a huge difference in how you sleep every night.
Schedule movement throughout the day
If you spend just about all your time sitting, you’re going to find it hard to fall and stay asleep. “Being sedentary all day is shown to be associated with insomnia and sleep disturbances,” says Bhopal.
So, if you’re looking for a quick hack to get better sleep? You better get moving. Schedule five to 10 minute “movement breaks” throughout the day. For example, “if you’re working at a desk all day, get up every hour and do some stretching, squats, or other forms of movement,” says Bhopal.
Making exercise and movement a part of your daily routine will ensure that you break up your sedentary time with movement and activity—which can help you get better sleep at night.
Schedule a 10-minute block of “worry time”
If worry and anxiety are keeping you up at night, one of the best things you can do to get better sleep? Create space in your day for that worry and anxiety.
“Do a ‘brain dump’ during the day, also known as ‘scheduled worry time,’” says Bhopal.
Set a timer for 10 minutes—and use that 10 minutes to write out all the fears, worries, thoughts, and anxieties that run through your mind when you’re trying to sleep. “This gives your brain time to pay attention to and process the stressful, anxious thoughts that often pop up the moment your head hits the pillow,” says Bhopal—and carving out time to address those thoughts during the day (instead of before bed) can help you feel more clear-headed and calm when it’s time to go to sleep at night.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.