Top 10 tips for better sleep from Matt Walker

Overview: Looking for some simple sleep hygiene tips? Matt Walker has you covered and I stole them from him. Reading time ~ 2 minutes. 

I’ve mentioned Matt Walker before on this blog. I recommended his book Why We Sleep.

He popped up in my podcast feed today with a short but good summary of his top 10 sleep tips.

You can obviously listen to the podcast itself. It is a svelte 20 minutes. But here are the 10 tips if you like spoilers 😊

1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to satisfy your body’s internal clock which likes regularity 🛏

2. Try to get your room temperature to 18 degrees or below to assist the body and mind in lowering their temperature (which is needed for sleep). You can use whatever night clothes or rugs/quilts necessary to achieve comfortable state 🌡

3. Get the room as dark as possible and decrease total light in the hours leading up to sleep time 🌚

4. If it has been 25 minutes and you still can’t get to sleep, get out of bed, go and relax in another room and return to bed later 🪑

5. Abstain from coffee consumption after midday and alcohol consumption in the evening. Both disrupt sleep time and/or quality ☕🍷

6. If you have a bad night’s sleep, don’t change your routine to try and catch up. Try to make it through to your normal next sleep time 🥱

7. Build yourself a wind-down routine in the evening that combines increasing darkness and relaxing activities. We don’t just fall into sleep, it is a process 🛀

8. Stay away from naps after 1pm 🕐

9. Counting sheep is pointless. Instead imagine yourself going on a familiar walk. Imagining something you know well is less arousing that attempting to visualise something novel 🐑

10. Remove or cover all clocks faces in the room. Obsessing on them when you can’t sleep will just make things worse ⏰

Walker talks about how these tips are best suited to those wanting to enhance the quality of their sleep, but not those who are struggling with insomnia. Those struggling with insomnia need to get specialised sleep help. Such help exists here at Flinders with the FHMRI clinic. More podcasts from Matt available here. I also really like this sleep blog from ex Flinders sleep researcher Michael Gradisar. Finally there is this podcast episode from Andrew Huberman on optimising sleep.

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