Practical Steps to Help Improve Sleep?

Hi Ozbargain,

Very keen to hear some of the practical steps people have tried that has resulted in significant changes to their sleep. I am always trying new products that seem to improve sleep, but feel like this is the one area that I am always keen to improve and would happily spend. I personally use eye covers and also have just invested in a weighted blanket which I am going to try.

Tips like 'avoiding light' and 'having phone out of the room' is always great to hear, but I am also very keen to hear about products (sleep trackers, white noise etc.) that people have found make a huge difference.

Thanks!

Comments

  • +48

    Steps which have worked for me:

    • Reduce stress
    • Reduce caffeine and no coffee after 2pm
    • Diet (reduce sugar, salts, alcohol)
    • Reduce looking at phones, gaming, tv's etc before bed and alternatively read a book
    • Regular exercise
    • Going to bed at a regular time each night
    • Blockout curtains, fans, earplugs, white noise etc for comfort.
    • -2

      What if the book is on your phone?

      • +6

        Get an eReader instead.

        • Serious question, what's the difference?

          EDIT: Should also add I always use the blue light filter, and have the screen as dim as I can get it and still read the book without straining.

          • +12

            @AdosHouse: Kindle Paperwhite — front lit display. Light source is from the front and diffuses evenly onto the display itself.

            Your phone — backlit display. Light source comes from the AMOLED pixels or from backlight of the IPS panel.

            But I think this has mostly to do with personal preferences and reading comfort. There's nothing to really suggest that either lighting method is better or worse.

            Regarding blue light filters, or the so called "night mode" on your mobile phone, recent research suggests that it's actually worse than blue light.

            https://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2019/dec/17...
            https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/night-mode-bad-for-sleep?reb...

            Most advice surrounding this is to just avoid warm, bright yellow lights and to stick with very dim cool lighting. This is a lot easier if you have a phone with an AMOLED display since AMOLED's have a very low minimum brightness setting, and black pixels are actually completely black (meaning they don't emit any light if you're using a black background with white text)

            • +1

              @scrimshaw: I have a Note20 so an AMOLED display, my reader app is set to minimum brightness, black background with white writing. The blue light filter built into the phone makes the writing more yellow-y, so I'll try not using it.

              But the screen is so dim when I'm reading, that right now, with my ceiling lights on, but still 50% dimmed, I can't even read my phone.

              • @AdosHouse: Try setting using bold typeface and then increase the font size to an acceptable level. The larger the text the easier it is to read in low-light, although it would mean you'd have to do a bit more scrolling as you read.

          • +1

            @AdosHouse: Your brain typically focuses when on the phone, so if you're trying to relax using your phone, your brain subconsciously will stay more alert than reading a dedicated ereader / physical book

            Obviously this differs from person to person

          • +1

            @AdosHouse: Reading from my kindle is much easier on the eyes than from my phone. The screen brightness is just perfect, especially in low light conditions.

      • +3

        Buy the actual book

        • Great idea, except that reading an actual paper book I find is much more stressful on my eyes.

          • +4

            @Baa: if reading a book is more stressful to the eye, then i would look at other things that may be affecting that like eye sight, room lighting and posture.

      • Buy an audiobook

    • +4

      I put a noise machine together using a $50 2.1 speaker set and a shitty smart phone with Relax Rain (set to morning rain and adding distant thunder). This blocks out most of the sounds from the other 30 units around me. I find the thunder tops my ears ringing after listening to the rain all night.

      Some dick playing loud music from 11pm to 2am? Up goes the volume and I am unaffected.

      • +24

        Some dick playing…

        Also this.

        • +2

          Works the best if you want to feel relaxed. Plenty of dicks playing and I don't have trouble falling asleep.

        • +1

          Melatonin is a helluva drug

          • +2

            @goingDHfast: I think you mean oxytocin.

            • +1

              @Scrooge McDuck:

              In addition to prolactin, oxytocin and vasopressin are also released during the male orgasm. These chemicals typically are accompanied by melatonin, the body-clock regulating hormone. The three of these hormones combined lead to relaxation and sleepiness.

              It seems we're both right?

    • Aircon same Temp all night regular bed time blackout curtains as work night job need to sleep in day time.

    • earplugs

      which ones have you used? One of the nurses at rwh recommended me one some time ago, but I forgot the name/ brand :-/

  • +2

    Download Snorelab (free) app and see if you snore. It will show how much, and how loudly. It could indicate sleeping problems.

    • -1

      dog snores louder than some people!

    • +8

      Don't need an app. Wife tells me every day.

      • Cluster could be single.

    • and den wat

  • +3

    Have a CD/MP3 player in your room at LOW volume with good sleep music going (for starters Jean Michel Jarre 'Waiting for Cousteau' track 4, Brian Eno, Thursday Afternoon, anything from Bliss-Music.com or other similar ambient music) but don't play it all night, just for an hour or two while you drift off. No coffee after lunch, no screens for an hour before sleep. If you haven't learned to control your thoughts yet then start to practice meditation so your monkey-mind isn't chattering all night and preventing you from sleeping. These guys have some great guided meditations (and some good docos as well :) ) to get you started https://awakentheworld.com/meditations/ Naturello make a great product called 'Sleep' which you get from Amazon, take one capsule about an hour before bed but only every 2nd or 3rd day as you can get used to them with reduced effect. As you mentioned, no phones in your room or bright clocks etc (we have a battery powered LCD alarm clock that only lights up if you hit the button).

  • +4

    air con.

    • +2

      Shouldn't good sex top the list?

  • +2

    It sounds like you can't get to sleep … because you're thinking too much about getting to sleep (or not getting to sleep).

    Sounds to me like you need to come up with some techniques you can use that will signal to your mind that it's sleep time, rather than (or at least in addition to) "products".

    • My sleep is pretty good - although it used to be bad until I implemented some of the mentioned steps/products. Always on the hunt for things to further help, particularly as technology created newer and better products.

  • +28

    Reduce the temp in the room.

    I also fall fast asleep after sexy time, but unfortunately can't rely on that on a nightly basis.. may have to consider DIY.

  • +2

    Hokay
    1. No caffeine full stop, yes you feel crankier but in the long run i now don't rely on coffee and feel more energetic and can get to sleep easier.
    2. Sleep at the same time each night generally if i get really bad i leave ~1 hour without electronics prior just to settle.
    3. Valerian supplements help quality of sleep if you want to maximise the benefit.

  • +28

    Read a Covid-19 thread on OzBargain.

    • +10

      OP just wants to sleep, not go brain dead.

    • Read a hellopam2019 thread on OzBargain.

  • +1

    Alcohol

    • +2

      Alcohol + tears

    • Agree.. a nip of nice smooth port and away ya go..

    • Alcohol makes you sleep but doesn’t turn your brain off, you need your brain to also be off while sleeping to get a proper rest. Plus over time you will start to suffer from acid reflux. Long term Acid reflux can lead up to oesophagus cancer which is pretty deadly.

      • what if we dont have acid reflux, will we ever know

        • Acid reflux is something that can get started from bad habits. Such as eating late, eating too much chocolate, oily food and alcohol. There is so much the muscles holding your food down can handle over time. Once those give up. Sadly there is no turning back. Acid will slowly start to leak upwards and cause inflation to the oesophagus. Over time this can turn into barret orsophagus and then cancer.

  • +1

    Manta sleep mask helped, very sensitive to light so often would wake up at 5-6am.

    Always good to keep bedroom at an ideal temperature (not too warm) and sometimes magnesium a couple hours before

    • I have one of those sleep masks. Love it. Although I’ve noticed recently it seems to slip up and I find it on my forehead when I wake up.

      • Yeah same issue, I think it's because I roll about too much

        • perhaps we should roll into bed together

    • do you find it hot to wear during summer? Looks like its made of a quite thick material

      • It's not that bad, the trade off is worth it IMO. I recently bought the cool eye cups (they go in the freezer) so we'll see how that goes

  • +2

    I’m a good sleeper anyway, but the things that can help me endurance sleep - 10 to 12 hour sleeps - are:
    - not being hot
    - dunlopillow latex pillows
    - eye mask
    - ear plugs

    • Keen to hear more about the specific pillows you use (and why you like them)

      • The latex pillows provide good neck support, and don’t lose their spring/cushion.
        The Barefoot Investor said it’s one the best investments you can make :]

    • +1

      ear plugs? What if the fire alarm goes off?

    • +1

      +1 on the dunlopillo.. best pillows i’ve ever purchased.

  • +1

    bravyboy What a great topic , I would like a few hints and tips

  • +1

    Get a fat textbook beside your bed. Start reading it while you rest in bed.

    Trying to concentrate on a relatively dry subject gets my mind wandering. Puts me to sleep.

  • Talk with a GP and see a specialist.

  • +1

    See your Gp first.

    Ask about a sleep test to see if have sleep apnea - worth it

    • +6

      worth it

      They say that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That's my view of sleep specialists - if you go to one, it's almost 100% certain that you'll be diagnosed with sleep apnea, whether that's the cause of your sleep problems or not.

      • That is what the test is for, nothing to do with the specialists. Data talks, and if you are having more than 5 apneas' per hour, than it could be problematic.

        • Long story short: Saw a sleep specialist on referral from GP. Did the sleep test, then hired a cpap machine for two months. Specialist was happy with the reduction in apneas, and said I needed to buy a machine. Got the recomended machine. Still couldn't sleep properly. Specialist said there must be something else besides the apneas going on. Many months went by, persevered with the cpap machine, many visits with specialist and GP, prescribed a variety of drugs and other ideas, still couldn't sleep properly. Eventually stopped using the cpap machine because it was absolutely no help whatsoever with my sleep problems. Still can't sleep properly.

          • @pjetson: Sorry to hear, my experience is polar opposite but each experience to their own. Hopefully you eventually find what it is that may be the cause.

      • +1

        That is just not true - a sleep study is an objective measurement that uses multiple quantifiable measures including number of awakenings, how often your oxygen level dips etc. You're given an overall score and if that score is normal, you don't have sleep apnoea. Sleep physicians will then try to find other reasons you may not be sleeping. This is a good primer on the scoring:

        http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/sleep-apnea/diagnosing-o...

        • Yes, I understand that's the general idea, it just didn't work for me.

    • +4

      See your Gp first.

      Thats a bit much to ask each night..

      • Depends how hot she is….

  • +7

    Stop browsing ozbargain 2 hours before you sleep, it makes you too excited

    • +4

      Username checks outZzzz…

  • +1

    CPAP

  • +4

    Try taking a magnesium supplement.

  • +4

    Worth trying a CPAP. If you aren't breathing properly through the night, your body isn't really resting as it's working harder to keep you alive. You can do CPAP trials at some pharmacies; you definitely notice a difference, and for me now I depend on it.

    • -3

      CPAP did absolutely nothing for me except make my bank balance $1800 lighter. Yes, it works for some people, and I'm glad that it works for you, but please don't tell people that they will "definitely notice a difference".

      • +3

        Fair enough. But I did mention doing a trial, especially for the cost involved.

        • how does cpap work

          • +1

            @capslock janitor: It's a face mask that you wear to bed, which is connected via a tube to a machine that pumps air through. It regulates your breathing through the night for you. YouTube has heaps of videos.

      • -1

        i once heard of a simpler solution yet apparently effective, duct tape over the mouth before sleep. remove in the morning.

        I heard it will force nasal breathing.

        *Haven't yet tried myself

        • +1

          No. Just, no.

        • +9

          remove in the morning.

          The police prefer you not to tamper with the body.

        • +1

          An article around this idea that explains it better than me

        • +1

          Please don't do this. I have seen this done and just don't.

        • I don't know if you're being sarcastic but the duct tape over mouth is a dangerous idea. Please don't.

  • +1

    Recordings of Minke whales singing, got that direct from the head of Project Jonah in the late eighties good for relaxing and de stressing