Want to be a billionaire? Simply come up with a gadget, sound, device… anything at all that will help folks sleep better at night!
The latest idea to come along is called the “Gravity Blanket.” The idea behind it is that if you pile a 25-pound blanket (which sells for $250!) on top of you at night, you’ll drift off to dreamland in the wink of a sleepy eye.
That idea, apparently, is so captivating to sleep-deprived Americans that the company behind the idea managed to raise over $3 million in start-up capital — not from corporate investors, mind you, but from individual insomniacs all over the country!
But if you don’t especially like the idea of sleeping beneath pounds of plastic pellets, there are lots of other inventions out there to help you snooze, such as the Sleep Shepard hat. This beanie-style head covering is actually a complex device that measures your brain waves — one that tracks the activity in your cerebral cortex and emits an audible frequency to slow your brain waves down. That, the manufacturer claims, will lull you to sleep.
And, of course, there are many, many more such inventions, from goggles to wristbands to mattresses that cost more than an entire living room set!
But while we keep on searching for that elusive way to get our 40 winks, there are three easy tried-and-true methods that really work. And they won’t have you squished under a giant blanket at night!
A wake-up call
At one time not too long ago, getting to sleep at a decent hour was expected. Unless you were a cop, nurse, or doctor on the night shift, going to bed before the witching hour was the norm.
Then, somewhere along the way, stores started staying open all night, television stations kept broadcasting 24 hours a day, and the late show morphed into the early show.
It’s no wonder that we’ve become a nation of zombies!
And as you no doubt know, lack of sleep can set you up for a list of bad health outcomes that’s as long as your arm — including high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
As someone who’s done their share of tossing and turning, I know how it can sometimes feel like you’ll never ever fall asleep. And my deepest sympathies go out to those who have that problem every single night.
But while there are lots of tips and tricks you’ve probably already heard about, three rise to the top as being the safest and most effective ways to turn your nights around for the better!
#1 Light matters: Any amount of light in your bedroom — be it from a window, night light, TV, or even a clock that glows in the dark — can zap your production of the all-important sleep hormone melatonin (more on that in a minute). Keeping your bedroom as dark as possible is the first step toward getting the sleep you need.
And if you need to get up during the night, simply put a flashlight on your nightstand.
#2 Cap the caffeine: You wouldn’t have a double latté before bedtime, but there are plenty of other ways that this stay-awake drug can sneak up on you. One is decaf — that’s right, decaffeinated coffee, cola, and tea can still contain enough caffeine to keep you up at night.
A Consumer Reports study found that decaffeinated coffees are all over the board in terms of how much caffeine they contain. For example, one from Dunkin’ Donuts was found to have 32 mg (a standard cup of java has 85 to 100 mg), Seattle’s Best had 29 mg, and a large Starbucks decaf contained 21 mg of caffeine!
Other hidden caffeine sources include chocolate (even hot cocoa), non-herbal tea, drugs such as Excedrin, and even some brands of “enhanced” spring water.
#3 Supplement your slumber: When it comes to sleep, melatonin is king, and as we get older, unfortunately, we make a lot less of it. This amazing hormone is produced by the body’s pineal gland after sunset. But a lot can interfere with that process, which is why taking a melatonin supplement is a safe and natural way to get back to the days when sleep just happened!
“A $250 weighted blanket won’t cure all of your sleep woes” Arielle Pardes, February 4, 2018, Wired, wired.com