World Expert’s Top Sleep Hacks: The Basics

Expert Cited: Matt Walker
Written by
Brian Leddy
Intermediate
The young couple sleeping in the bed night time 2023 11 27 05 13 22 utc

If you feel like you're sleeping less, with poorer quality than you have in past years, you're not alone.

It's possible that the average person is sleeping about an hour less per night compared to decades ago and the quality of sleep is lacking significantly. 

Expert: Matthew Walker

Field of Study: Sleep's impact on human health

Bio: Professor of neuroscience and the go-to expert for all things sleep.

Primary Sources: TheSleepDiplomat

Matthew Walker is a sleep expert the BodyStack community follows and trusts. He shares knowledge through TED Talks, Masterclass courses, and with influential podcasts and publishers about the subject of slumber. He has said we are in the midst of a "global sleep-loss epidemic."

In an interview with  the Diary of a CEO YouTube channel, Walker discussed essential sleep hacks that everyone should implement. If you're struggling with energy levels, having a difficult time falling asleep, or just not feeling fully rejuvenated after a full night's rest, maybe it's time to try some of these.

Maintaining A Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. No matter what. Yep. Even on weekends.

Your body's internal clock craves this kind of regularity. A consistent sleep schedule promotes easier sleep onset (you get drowsy when you should) and helps you feel more refreshed when you wake up. If you have a bad night's sleep, resist the urge to deviate from your usual wake up time. Don't sleep in or hit that snooze button. You're training your body and consistency is key! */

Creating A Cool And Dark Sleep Environment

Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. There's lots of ways you can do this, but temperature and light quality are maybe the most important.

Your body loves to chill out when it sleeps, so aim for a room temperature around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, yes…that cool! And darkness is key. It helps your brain release melatonin, the sleep hormone that makes you drowsy. To create a sleep-inducing cave, consider blackout curtains or an eye mask.

Avoiding Caffeine And Alcohol Before Bedtime

Caffeine, your beloved pick-me-up found in coffee, tea, and many sodas, can stick around in your system for hours. This can make it tough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Matt Walker's advice? Aim for a caffeine cut-off at least six hours before your head hits the pillow.

What about nightcaps? While alcohol might make you feel sleepy initially, it can mess with your sleep cycle later in the night, especially the important REM sleep phase. This can leave you feeling groggy and less rested. So, consider skipping the booze before bed for a more refreshing sleep.

Exercising Regularly But Not Too Close To Bedtime

While regular exercise can work wonders for your sleep, timing is everything!

Pumping iron or hitting the treadmill too close to bedtime can actually backfire. Exercise gets your blood pumping and temperature rising, making it harder to drift off.

A better practice is to get your sweat on earlier in the day, wrapping up your workout a few hours before hitting the hay. This gives your body temperature a chance to cool down, signaling that it's time to relax and prepare for sleep. 

When timed right, exercise can help you sleep more deeply and wake up feeling truly rested.

Practicing A Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Humans are creatures of habit, and a regular bedtime routine helps you get in the habit of good sleep.

That nighttime ritual is a little primer for your body and brain that it's time to start preparing for sleep. The exact mechanics can vary a lot person to person (maybe it's a warm bath, reading, journaling, sketching, stretching, whatever) but do it daily as part of your evening routine and you could see stress and anxiety levels drop, making it easier to have a more restful sleep.

Managing Stress Through Meditation

Feeling stressed? You're not alone, and it might be affecting your sleep. Walker points out that stress and anxiety are big culprits when it comes to tossing and turning at night. 

As part of the pre-bed routine we discussed earlier, consider rolling mindfulness, meditation, or prayer into the mix. This may end up becoming your secret weapon for taming that racing mind. By taking a few minutes to focus on the present moment and quiet your thoughts, you can dial down stress and create a sense of calm. 

Ready To Level Up?

These are some helpful tips to get you started. Try and pick at least one or two that you can implement right away. Test them out for a few nights in a row, and see what kind of impact they're making.

Once you've mastered the basics you'll be ready to test out some of Matt Walker's more advanced sleep hacks.

Brian Leddy Profile Image
Brian Leddy CEO & Co-Founder, BodyStack (FDN-P)
Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner (FDN-P) and owner of Leddy Functional Wellness. Formerly an Adweek Executive and Media Entreprenuer, Brian pivoted his career to focus on inspiring and coaching people from all walks of life to make positive strides in their respective health journeys. Brian is a Co-Founder, and now serves as the CEO of BodyStack.
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