Technology has an answer for everything, right?
I'm sure that at some point in the near future those boffins in Silicon Valley will have invented an app that makes us fall asleep at the touch of a button.
Well, that's great for any of us who make it to this magical future, but right now our lack of sleep is killing us.
One out of three Americans suffers from some form of sleep disorder at one stage in their lives – chief amongst these disorders is insomnia. And all this missed sleep is having a real impact on our health.
But don't worry, I’m here to help! Below are just a few of the ways in which you can hack your bedtime routine and become a certified sleep machine.
Get sweaty every day
Man, I don't care how you do it... just get sweatier! Exercise is the best way to get tired and getting tired is the best way to get sleep. If your head hits that pillow exhausted, then no amount of lumpy mattresses or snoring partners are going to keep you from getting the sleep you rightly deserve.
So go for a run, climb a tree, swim across a lake, carry a big rock up a bigger hill, have more sex, hunt a deer, dance the god-damned funky chicken... do whatever, just do more of it and do it for at least 30–60 minutes a day. Get that sweat on.
And one, maybe two solid sessions at the gym a week don't count. You need to be getting daily exercise. At the very, very least, take your lazy ass for a walk around the block.
Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference.
Note: If you're suffering from a genuine, hardcore sleep disorder, exercise isn't going to be an instant magic pill – but over time consistent regular exercise will help you sleep better.
We all love eating. Eating is the best. But listen up – give your stomach a rest before you go for a rest. Because eating large meals before bed is not helping you sleep.
Large, protein-heavy and fatty meals all have their time and place, but not before bed. Your digestive system finds them harder to process and with all that churning going on down below it is difficult for your body to get into a sleepy mood.
So, swap out those super-sized suppers for something a little lighter. Some foods have even been shown to be active 'sleep promoters'.
Instead of gulping down that third slice of cheese on toast, why not peel a banana, knock back a handful of nuts or sip from a lovely sophisticated glass of cherry juice? Yum.
Dump the distractions
Dude, why are you checking your Twitter feed in bed? Leave that shit for the morning, beds are for sleepy people, yo!
Your bedroom should be treated like a zen palace of sleep. It definitely shouldn't be treated as an office, a cinema or your social media cave.
All screens, whether they are attached to TVs, laptops or smartphones, give off a dastardly blue light which mirrors the effect that daylight has on our brains. And unfortunately our caveman minds have yet to evolve to that stage where we don't associate daylight with activity.
Plus all those Tweets, Whatsapps and Snapchats are frankly overstimulating and lead to stress. You should be lying in bed dreaming, not up all night worrying about why only 4 people liked your latest post!
Dump ALL the distractions
And while we’re at, distractions can mean loved ones, friends with benefits, whatever you call that special one who shares your bed.
If, whoever’s beside you is a bad sleeper – that includes snorers, starfishes, sleep farters, or anything of the kind – then they’re having an negative impact on your sleep that needs to be addressed.
Now, I don't really mean go out and dump them, but it is a problem that needs to be looked at, and discussed like sensible adults.
It could be as simple as investing in some earplugs for yourself or something a little more permanent, such as giving a septoplasty as a Valentine’s gift. Romantic.
And if that fails and you have the space at home, then seriously have a think about separate beds. Stick around for the sweet stuff, then sneak off for some sleep. That's what I say. Seriously, take it from me, separate beds could be the key to a happy life.
Also, don't sleep with your dog in your bed. Don't be that person. Nobody likes waking up to dog breath in the morning!
So, there you have it, four little ways to hack your bedtime regime and become the rampant sleep machine you deserve to be.
Sleep is like a drug – when we get enough we feel invincible, when we don't our bodies and minds crave it. Well rested, we are smarter, more productive and basically a little bit better at everything we do. So it’s worth taking seriously.
If, after taking on board the advice above, you're still struggling for a little shuteye…then don't worry, have a look at the tips on the Sleep advisor blog, where many more secrets to slumber await you.
Bio: Hi, I’m Sarah. I graduated from UCLA in sunny California, where I met my colleagues at The Sleep Advisor. We’re driven by all things sleep-related and firmly believe that we could have a happier, healthier and more stable society with better-quality sleep!