Sleep psychologist's 30-second sleep hacks to try tonight

Improve your sleep in an instant with these bedtime routine techniques

person wearing socks in bed
(Image credit: Livi Po on Unsplash)

If you're struggling with your sleep, really the thing you should do is to take a proper look at your bedtime routine. Cut down on your coffee. Stop doomscrolling in bed. Perhaps invest in a bed upgrade from our best mattress guide. But let's say you don't have the time or the inclination for all that. Is there are quick trick that'll help improve the score on your sleep tracker, with minimal disruption to your evening? Maybe. 

As part of a new study with Happy Beds, sleep psychologist Katherine Hall has come up with four tricks that can help you get some better shuteye. None of these take longer than 30 seconds to achieve, so they're probably worth a try.

Got a bit longer? Try this 2-minute TikTok sleep hack, or check out our guide to how to fall asleep quickly

1. Squeeze your muscles

"Squeezing then releasing your muscles promotes full-body relaxation," explains Katherine. The technique is known as 'progressive muscle relaxation' and it's a bit like a low-budget version of a massage. 

2. Put some socks on

"Studies show that wearing socks to bed can improve blood flow through a process called distal vasodilation," says Katherine. "As the blood vessels in your feet warm up or dilate, your core temperature begins to drop." 

Getting an appropriately cool core temperature is key for the best sleep ("Most people achieve optimal sleep in a room that’s 65 degrees [Farenheit – just over 18 degrees Celsius]," explains Katherine. "Cool surroundings prevent your body from overheating.")

3. Do a headstand

We said quick, we never said easy, okay? "Headstands help circulate refreshed blood to your brain, specifically the master glands – the pituitary and hypothalamus," says Katherine. "It also helps detoxify the adrenal glands to help expel negative thoughts and promote more positive thinking."

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).