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4 Sleep hacks brought to you by science

At Koala we like to ponder the big questions about sleep: what’s up with the comatose hallucinations?

If a = sleep and sleep = happiness ∴ does a = happiness?

One thing there’s no doubt about is that everyone loves sleep: they want more of it, for longer, every night.

So, this week we bring you the best sleep hacks (courtesy of science) for the nights when warm milk and lullabies just won’t cut it.

Drown out that racket with white noise

Have you ever been seconds away from blissful snoozing, only to have it snatched away by a possum scrambling on the roof, or a messy late-night argument that happens to take place just under your window on the street below?

In an unfortunate leftover evolutionary hangover from caveman days, your body is poised to alert and awake you if there is possible danger in the environment.

It just so happens that most minor annoyances register on the danger scale (thanks, evolution), but the good news is that listening to ambient white noise can help drown them out so that you can get back to dreaming about your high school finals again...and again...and again, in peace.

90 minute rule

Fact: during sleep, your brain progresses through a series of 90 minute cycles. You know that feeling when you simply can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning, and you wonder why you feel so exhausted after a full night’s sleep? That’s probably because you woke in the middle of one of those 90 minute cycles. Waking up at the end of one of these will leave you feeling a great deal more chipper than dragging yourself out mid-dream, regardless of how many hours you’ve been asleep.

If counting out your sleep cycles sounds like the opposite of relaxation station, apps like sleepyti.me make it pretty simple. Just let it know what time you need to wake up, and it will tell you what time to tuck yourself in. What could be simpler?

Ease your eyes with an amber filter

Blue light (that thing that beams out of every device you own i.e. smart phone, tablet, laptop, tv) is a serious set-back on the road to zzz-ville. The light from these devices suppresses production of melatonin, a hormone that anticipates the onset of darkness and sleep.

If you’re one of those people whoneeds your phone surgically removed from your hand, let alone from your bedroom, apps like Twilight apply an amber filter to your screen, cancelling out the majority of blue light and helping your brain adjust for bed.

Eating a serving of carbs before bed will give you a spike in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases melatonin production and could help you to sleep better.

The bad news is that this does not mean you can go crazy on giant bowls of ramen, burger platters or pizza the size of your head - sorry-  think more along the lines of a small piece of toast with cheese or a cup of cereal with milk (or anything that clocks in at about 200 calories).

It’s still a win!

Say no to ‘just one more episode’  

Staying in tune with your body’s natural sleep cycle gives you a serious one-up on sleepless nights.

When you wake up, you produce a surge of the hormone cortisol, in anticipation for the stress and strain of daylight activities (another evolutionary trait).

If you’re awake after 11pm, it will generally trigger another increase in cortisol production to prepare your for important late night activities like guarding the camp, scanning for predators, watching the whole of ‘Making a Murderer’ in one go.  

So, if you want to feel refreshed, just say no to the Netflix binge ...at least until Saturday.

Use these simple hacks to increase the quality of your shut-eye and set yourself up for the most awesome sleep of your life...Tune in next time for the Koala Mattress guide to lucid dreaming.

Until then, sweet dreams, koalas


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