Seven viral sleep hacks that actually work

From drinking lettuce water to journaling there are many viral sleep hacks on TikTok, but which ones actually work and improve sleep? 

To help you get a good night’s sleep (or just any sleep!) if you regularly suffer from insomnia, the wellness experts at Area 52 have trawled through viral sleep hacks to reveal seven top tips that actually work. Try them for yourself and see if they help you get a better nights sleep.

1) Paradoxical intention

Paradoxical intention can help you fall asleep, as this simple method centres around your body doing the opposite of what you tell it to do.

This method works as when we tell our brains to not think about something, we automatically do. Therefore, if you think that you are not going to fall asleep, do the opposite and lie in bed with your eyes open and tell yourself you are going to stay awake, eventually your body will do the opposite and you’ll drift off to sleep.

2) 4-7-8 Breathing

This next technique can help to relax your body and therefore improve sleep. The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds and exhaling for eight seconds.

3) Lettuce water

Drinking lettuce water can help you sleep due to lettuce containing high levels of lactucarium. Commonly called “lettuce opium,” this powerful substance is a sedative that helps promote feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.

The hack on TikTok suggests steeping a handful of lettuce leaves for several minutes in boiling water, then drinking the liquid,in order to fall asleep faster. With this in mind, focus on including salads in your dinnertime routine if you’re having trouble sleeping (if you’re not keen on drinking it!)

4) Journalling 

Journaling before bed can help reduce bedtime worry and stress, increase sleep time, and improve sleep quality. To try the technique used in the study, set aside 15 minutes each night for writing about a recent positive experience or any goals you need to complete that week. 

5) Put on socks

Temperature regulation is an important part of falling asleep and if you notice you’re struggling to sleep at home then pop your socks on!  Wearing socks in bed increases blood flow to feet and heat loss through the skin, which helps lower core body temperature. In turn, this helps a person get to sleep faster.

6) Listing

There is nothing worse than being unable to turn off your brain when you’re trying to sleep. One TikTok hack suggests listing random items in your head which will distract any worries or anxiety you may have and therefore help you drift off. It’s a bit like the old classic of counting sheep.

7) Weighted blankets

A weighted blanket can help improve sleep quality while creating a deeper sleep. The blanket’s weighted pressure stimulates serotonin, the relaxation hormone, which helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and feel rested in the morning.

Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, which is thought to stimulate the production of a mood-boosting hormone (serotonin), reduce the stress hormone (cortisol), and increase levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. 

Photo by Abbie Bernet