Sleep Expert Reveals Whether Viral Sleep TikTok Hacks Really Work
A weighted blanket can also help if you find that you’re up all night, stressed, anxious, tossing and turning, while shaping to your body – which feels like a gentle, full-body hug. It also helps stimulate a calming process called ‘deep pressure therapy’ which counters stress by helping your nervous system switch from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and relax’. If a weighted blanket isn’t for you, I’d recommend the Simba Hybrid 3-in-1 Duvet. It’s the only duvet you’ll need, as it keeps you at a perfect temperature all year round and, with superior airflow and moisture balance, it’s engineered to give you the most comfortable and restorative night’s sleep – whatever the weather.
Hack 3: Buy a sleep monitor to track your sleep schedule
The Hack: This TikToker suggests that getting a sleep monitor is a wearable way to solve your sleep problems.
The Verdict: Buying a sleep monitor to track your sleep alone does not improve your sleep ability or sleep quality. Sleep monitors provide us with blunt information about our nocturnal patterns, and what we do with that information will determine how well we sleep. It’s an information tool, just like any other – it is not a magic pill. Be responsive to the information it provides, adjust your pre-sleep habits and you’ll hopefully see some positive results.
Hack 4: Rub your hands for 30 seconds three times over
The Hack: TikToker, Dr Eileen recommends a two-point acupressure technique to access your heart, make you feel calm, and help you fall asleep faster.
The Verdict: The research on acupressure to modify heart rate variability tells us that there is an immediate impact after the third stimulation, so long as it is spaced 20 minutes apart. The desired effect, however, is not long-lasting. If you like this technique, it may be useful to include it as part of your holistic pre-sleep routine, but don’t rely on it on its own.
Hack 5: Stop Taking Melatonin
The Hack: TikToker, Jake Crossman, has highlighted the belief of dangers in taking melatonin to help you sleep.
The Verdict: Melatonin is a hormone often prescribed when you are experiencing a sleep disruption, for example, changing time zones or for patients with a biological sleep disorder. Doctors do recommend taking melatonin – but for about two weeks to help you adjust to a new time zone.
It is true that taking melatonin for longer periods of time for otherwise healthy individuals is inadvisable because you’ll condition your body to stop releasing the hormone naturally.
Sleep scientist Matthew Walker tested the efficacy of over-the-counter melatonin supplements. He found that only 5% are effective and of good quality. Studies have also found that melatonin products often contain inconsistent dose labelling, making it difficult to monitor your consumption. Hence, it is unlikely you’ll get quality melatonin from the products.
In the long term, taking melatonin products if you suffer from any mood disorders will exacerbate the issues because melatonin will spike serotonin. Additionally, it could contribute to heart issues, blood vessels, and brain dysfunction, but the research on this is inconclusive. Further research needs to be done on the long-term use of melatonin products.