Do these viral sleep hacks work? We asked a sleep scientist…

Sleep scientist gives her verdict on whether these 6 sleep hacks work or not

Viral sleep hacks, wellness tips
(Image credit: Kampus Production / Pexels)

If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, chances are you’ve tried your fair share of sleep hacks. From the military sleep method to the open-eye sleep trick, many sleep hacks have gone viral on TikTok, Instagram and other social media channels… but do they work?

With World Sleep Day coming up on the 17th March, I decided to get to the bottom of whether the sleep tricks that pop up on social media are actually effective or not. To do this, I spoke to Theresa Schnorbach, sleep scientist at Emma and she debunked these 6 viral sleep hacks, including lettuce water, green noise and wearing socks to bed.

Before I get started, make sure to check out T3’s guide to the best mattress to upgrade your sleep set-up, and Emma is currently offering up to 55% off its bestselling mattresses and sleep products.

1. Green noise

Verdict: It works!

There are many different types of sleep noise, including white, brown, pink and green. While you’ve probably heard of white noise, which is a ‘shh-ing’ sound reminiscent of TV static, green noise is not as well known but has recently made the rounds on TikTok. According to Schnorbach, “green noise is a variant of sound that tends to sit at a frequency of 500Hz, creating a sound that invokes soft ocean waves and waterfalls. Noises like this can help us to sleep by helping block out nocturnal noise pollution, enabling you to relax.”

2. Sunset lamps

Verdict: Thumbs up

Another popular trend on TikTok is using sunset lamps to get to sleep. If you’re not sure what sunset lamps are, they’re small light projectors that produce calming sunset-like effects on your wall in a range of colours. This light is designed to help you relax in the evening and encourage you to fall asleep. So, do they really work? It turns out, yes. According to studies, sunset lamps and red light bulbs can be used as a way to support sleep as this type of light therapy exposure boosts quality of sleep and increases melatonin levels, a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythm.

Want to wake up more naturally? Take a look at the best wake up lights, many of which offer sunset cycles.

Best wake-up light

(Image credit: Lumie)

3. Lettuce water

Verdict: Leave the lettuce alone!

Yes, you read that right, TikTokers are recommending drinking lettuce water for better sleep. According to Health, the reason lettuce water has this reputation is because it contains lactucarium that’s been reported to promote sleepiness. However, you’d need to steep an insane amount of lettuce to actually get these benefits. Schnorbach says that while “lettuce water is a viral hack that we don’t have much data on, there are foods we do know to be effective in hacking your bedtime. Foods such as protein-rich eggs, nuts and even cheese contain an amino acid known as tryptophan which helps your body to produce melatonin. For more details, check out these 8 foods to eat for a good night’s sleep & 4 to avoid.

4. Wearing socks to bed

Verdict: Tick!

Wearing socks to bed is surprisingly controversial but it’s recommended by many sleep scientists and experts to aid sleep. “Temperature is one of the key elements of getting ready for rest as your body needs to drop by about 0.5-1 degrees in order for you to sleep,” says Schnorbach. “Wearing socks at night keeps feet warm and allows the blood circulation to increase. When blood vessels dilate, there’s a great surface area to release body heat, helping to create the right conditions to prepare the body for rest.” Intrigued? We looked into this further in 5 reasons you should sleep with socks on.

person wearing socks in bed

(Image credit: Livi Po on Unsplash)

5. Breathing techniques

Verdict: Big thumbs up

Focusing on your breathing is a brilliant way to encourage your body to fall asleep and calm any stress or anxiety you might be feeling. According to Schnorbach, “slower breathing has been found to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), bypassing the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the body's fight or flight response. It allows your body to relax and fall asleep more easily… Bringing your focus to your breathing will also take your attention away from other distractions or worries.” A great way to do this is by counting your breaths in your head while decelerating your breathing, much like the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

6. Weighted blankets

Verdict: Scientifically proven!

The best weighted blankets have been “scientifically proven to improve sleep quality with studies showing that they can reduce symptoms of insomnia and depression, and can help us feel calmer and more relaxed whilst sleeping, which in turn increases sleep duration,” says Schnorbach. This is because weighted blankets, including the Emma Hug Weighted Blanket, “simulate pressure similar to the feeling of being hugged which activates the PNS. This lowers heart rate, helping us to fall asleep faster and improving sleep quality.”

If you want to save money on a new Emma mattress, have a look at these Emma mattress deals and for more sleep tips, check out the Emma Up Sleep App.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!