If you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep rule could be the answer to your problem. Sleep hacks have taken over the internet over the past few years, and many people have found tricks like the military method, the open-eye hack and 4-7-8 breathing can improve sleep quality and quantity.
I recently came across the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep rule, a hack consisting of 5 simple steps that promises to get you back into a healthy sleep routine and improve sleep hygiene. I looked into what the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep hack is and put it to the test to see if it works… spoiler: it does!
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What is the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep hack?
Favoured by sleep experts and doctors alike, the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep hack is a method that helps you get a better night’s sleep by making adjustments to your day. Having a good bedtime routine can do wonders for your night’s rest and can help you feel more refreshed and motivated the next day. All you have to do is follow these 5 simple steps:
- 10 hours before bedtime: no caffeine
- 3 hours before bedtime: no food or alcohol
- 2 hours before bedtime: no work
- 1 hour before bedtime: no screen time
- 0 times: you hit snooze in the morning
Sounds easy, right? Well, depending on the day or week you’re having, these sleep rules can be difficult for some. For example, if your day has been extremely busy, you might be tempted to have a risky 3pm coffee to get you through or you might be on a strict deadline so working into the night might be necessary.
But in general, having a cut off time for caffeine, alcohol and electronic devices is necessary if you want to have a good night’s sleep. As discussed in our what time should I stop drinking coffee? guide, caffeine disturbs your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm, which is the same as taking in too much blue light right before bed. If you’ve ignored the 10, 3, 2 and 1 rules, the 0 rule of not snoozing your alarm is even more difficult, but it turns out that hitting the snooze button can be bad for your health, as found in recent studies.
Does the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep hack work?
I’m definitely guilty of having coffee too late in the day and a risky nighttime scroll on my phone. But with the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep rules in the forefront of my mind, I decided to be stricter with my sleep routine to see if it helped me sleep better.
First up was caffeine. I typically get into bed at 10 so to stick to the 10 hour rule, I had to have my last coffee at around 12pm. This wasn’t as hard as I expected as I’ve started to ease off having a cup of coffee in the afternoon – so far so good!
The 3 rule was tricky as I tend to workout in the evenings, meaning my evening meal can be delayed. However, I’ve found that eating too close to bedtime affects my digestion which can cause pain or leave me feeling too full to fall asleep. After looking into how eating late at night affects sleep, I made sure to have my last meal at 7pm which was the ideal time for my food to go down and it freed up my evening, too.
The biggest challenge was the 1 rule, as I tend to watch videos to wind down while cleaning my teeth. But cutting out this light helped me be more conscious during my routine and feel sleepier. When I fell asleep, I slept very well and found it easier to wake up so no snooze button was needed. Overall, the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep hack definitely worked for me and it’s worth trying if you’ve trying to get out of bad sleep habits.