Can’t Get Enough Sleep? 5 Ways to Cheat Sleep

sleeping on a couch

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Are you tired of sleep cutting into your jam-packed schedule? Would you be relieved to have more energy in the day and more time to work? If you’ve got a mountain of work ahead of you and nobody but you to do it, you don’t have to stress anymore; compelling evidence is suggesting that you don’t need as much sleep as you think. Especially if you sleep smarter. We already showed you five great ways to sleep better, and now we’re back with the second installment in this series. If you are excited about gaining up to three hours in your workday, here are are five more tips to help you cheat sleep and increase productivity.

1. Hydrate

Dehydration could be the most significant reason that millions of people lose sleep and awake fatigued. Water is essential to homeostasis in the body, governing functions like temperature, metabolism, and lubrication of tissues.  Not getting enough water will reduce your metabolism, which in turn dampens sleep quality.

Try drinking 10 ounces of water before bed to keep you hydrated throughout the night, and a big glass of lemon water when you wake up for maximum hydration. You’ll notice a dramatic improvement in sleep quality without any extra sleep. An important note: Minerals like salt, potassium, and magnesium are critical to maintaining pH and fluid balance, so incorporate more fruits and vegetables like oranges, bananas, leafy greens, and sea salt for maximum hydration.

2. Eat more (protein)

During sleep, your body burns more calories than it does while at rest. If you don’t have sufficient calories throughout the day, your metabolism will decrease during the night, which limits your ability to burn fat and sleep deeply.

Despite carbohydrates being negatively branded by the paleo fad, your body needs carbs to burn energy. If you aren’t getting enough quality whole grains throughout the day, then supplement your meals with extra blue corn, quinoa, buckwheat, or rice.

Since sleep is when your body repairs itself, boost your intake of quality protein throughout the day to provide the essential amino acids your body needs to rejuvenate. Since protein is heavy and hard to digest, try taking your heaviest meal in the early afternoon, like the Germans have traditionally done, so you aren’t bogged down through the night.

3. Supplement with GABA

Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is the main neurotransmitter in your central nervous system which promotes sleep. Since GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, it will help you to feel calm and relaxed enough to get to sleep and stay sleep. Try taking GABA at night for best results.

4. Increase your melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone secreted in your pineal gland that promotes sleep. Your body produces more melatonin when it is dark, so the first thing you can do to improve melatonin production is to cut out blue light from computers, fluorescent lights, TVs, and smartphones within the hours before sleeping.

You can shut off all your electronics to avoid melatonin-blocking blue light, or you can cheat it with blue light blocking glasses. Since melatonin is one of the hormones regulated by your circadian rhythm, you can optimize sleep by getting exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning as well.

Certain foods like barley, oranges, oats, pineapples, tomatoes, sweet corn, and rice naturally increase melatonin production, so make sure to incorporate those foods throughout the day if you don’t want to supplement.

5. Use your bed for sleep and sex only

If you want to maximize your sleep efficiency and productivity, try reserving your bed for sleep and activities like sex. If you associate stimulating activities like watching TV or doing crossword puzzles with your bed, sleep will have more competition than you want when you tuck into bed.

Bonus: Have more sex before bed

Sleep researchers have found that sex before sleep can improve the quality and duration of sleep.  According to authors Mark Leynard and Billy Goldberg, orgasm releases hormones like prolactin and dopamine, both of which promote sleep.

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