Know Your Sleep Quality Score And 6 Sleep Hacks That Work

— Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy.

63% of people are unhappy with the amount of sleep they get. Are you one of them?

Sleep often takes a back seat in today’s social-media-driven, algorithm-addicted world. We are constantly scrolling through short video clips on our bed, thinking, “Just one more.” But it doesn’t stop.

As we get older, we realize that getting enough sleep is non-negotiable for our mental and physical health. Science tells us, sleeping for a full 8 hours a night can even help prevent brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

These six tips based on science can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They are the most effective ones out there according to sleep experts.

First, get your Sleep Quality Score:

  • Sleep duration: How many hours do you sleep per night?
    • Less than 7 hours — 0 points
    • 7–9 hours — 1 point
    • More than 9 hours — 0 points
  • Trouble sleeping: Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
    • No — 1 point
    • Yes — 0 points
  • Snoring: How often do you snore?
    • Never — 1 point
    • Rarely/occasionally/frequently — 0 points
  • Feeling overly sleepy during the day: How often do you feel tired during the day?
    • Never/rarely feel sleepy — 1 point
    • Sometimes/often/almost always feel sleepy — 0 points
  • Snorting or stopping breathing: How often do you snort or stop breathing during sleep?
    • Never — 1 point
    • Sometimes/occasionally/frequently — 0 points
Sleep Quality Score
Sleep Quality Score

Total Scores:

  • Healthy sleep: 4–5 points
  • Intermediate sleep: 2–3 points
  • Poor sleep: 0–1 point

Now, on to the 6 Sleep Hacks For Adults, From Research:

1. Set A Sleep Schedule: Power of Consistency.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, aiming for 7–8 hours of sleep.

Consistency is the master key to your sleep schedule. The idea is to train your body to wind up and wake up at fixed times.

A fixed sleep-wake time gradually aligns with your mind and body to your internal clock (circadian rhythm). When this alignment is complete, you can fall asleep as if on a cue, have a deep sleep, and wake up fresh and well-rested in the morning.

Sleep consistency also helps the immune system work better, as it “learns” your non-active hours. You also get better at focusing and handling tough situations at work the next day.

  • Try to maintain your sleep schedule even on weekends.
  • Set a bedtime alert to fix a time to go to bed — it can be more vital than your wake-up alarm.
  • Consider using a sleep tracker. Use a wrist-worn sleep tracker to monitor your sleep stages. The better your deep sleep, the higher your sleep quality.

2. Take The Power Nap: A Midday Boost.

Fight the afternoon slump with a strategic power nap.

Studies show 15-20 minute afternoon naps can enhance brain function, improve mood, and even benefit your health.

Afternoon naps can boost your focus, creativity, and problem-solving skills, and also improve your mood and well-being. Research suggests naps may lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Trace your personal “nap window” — when you naturally feel drowsy, typically after lunch.
  • For best results, aim for a short duration (15 to 20 minutes) and a quiet, comfortable place.
  • Napping shouldn’t replace a full night’s sleep. Consider it a midday pick-me-up to supplement your regular sleep routine.
Proven Sleep hacks for adults that work - Know Your Sleep Quality Score And 6 Sleep Hacks That Work - 1

3. Cut the Afternoon Potions: Avoid Stimulants After 2 PM.

Cut off brain stimulants at least six hours before bedtime.

    An afternoon coffee or chocolate can set you up for a restless night.

    This study found that consuming caffeine six hours before bed disrupted sleep, even though the participants did not feel the effects of the caffeine and could sleep.

    • Stop caffeine-containing stimulants by 2 p.m. since caffeine can linger in your system for up to six hours.
    • Sleep researcher Patrick M. Fuller from Harvard Medical School recommends avoiding all stimulants after midday/noon.
    • The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting daily caffeine intake to 400 mg a day, or 4 cups of coffee.

      Nicotine, another stimulant found in cigarettes, also disrupts sleep. If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do for your overall health is quit.

      Finally, blue light from electronic devices also acts as a stimulant, so power down for at least 30 minutes before bed. Try calming activities like mindfulness meditation to unwind after putting away your electronic gadgets.

        4. Move Your Body, Sleep Better: Exercise for Better Sleep

        Exercise in the morning sun every day for better sleep.

        Regular exercise is a sleep game-changer. It helps you fall asleep faster, deepens sleep quality for a more restful night, and even reduces stress hormones that can disrupt sleep. Light activities like stretching or yoga before bed can also be helpful.

        • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
        • Start with a brisk walk or short workout routine; the idea is to exercise regularly.
        • Morning or afternoon workouts are ideal; avoid evening sessions, as they can be stimulating.

        Exercise not only helps you get better sleep, but also helps you stay in a better mood during the day.

        Here’s a guide on how to make exercise a daily habit.

        5. Create Pre-Sleep Rituals.

        Make a list of rituals to do before bed every night.

        These pre-sleep daily activities can signal your body that it’s time to wind down for sleep.

        • Eat Light Before Bed: Don’t sleep hungry. Have a light dinner, at least 2–3 hours before bedtime. An empty stomach can be as disruptive as a heavy meal when trying to sleep.
        • Do Something Relaxing After Dinner: Once you’ve eaten your last meal of the day, steer clear of heavy-duty tasks. You could do some light, fun activities. Read a paper book.
        • Shut Down The Blue Screens: Shut down your phone or laptop at least 2 hours before bedtime. Blue light from e-devices disturbs your melatonin (sleep hormone) levels, making it harder to fall asleep.
        • Warm Up to Wind Down: A hot shower an hour before bed can help you relax, and prepare your body and mind for sleep. Research shows it can increase sleepiness and improve sleep quality.
        • Set the Mood With Lighting: Dim your bedroom lights about an hour before sleeping. Lower light levels stimulate your melatonin (sleep hormone) production.

        Remember, these rituals aren’t quick fixes. Stick with these rituals for 3 to 6 weeks, and you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep quality.

        6. Have A Sleep-inducing Bedroom.

        Sleep Onset Latency is the time it takes to go from fully awake to fully asleep. The goal is to keep it under 20 minutes.

        Here’s how to modify your sleeping place to achieve a 20-minute sleep onset latency:

        • Declutter Your Space: A messy room can mess with your sleep. Keep pets out; they’re cute but not sleep-friendly.
        • Tech-Free Zone: Laptops and phones have no place in your sleep haven. Here’s why you should also skip the bedroom TV.
        • No Food or Drinks: Eating in bed is a no-go. Your mattress and pillows play a big role in sleep quality.
        • Cleanliness Counts: Fresh sheets make for better sleep. Change them weekly and consider replacing your mattress every eight years.
        • Dim the Lights: Lower light levels signal your body it’s time to wind down. If noise is an issue, consider earplugs or white noise.
        • Temperature Matters: Aim for a room temperature around 65°F or 18.3°C. Here’s more on why that’s important. Note for Spaniards: Don’t go below 27°C.
        • Can’t Sleep? Get Up: If you’re tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring until you feel sleepy.
        • Student Sleep Hack: Avoid heavy study material an hour before bed. Light reading is your friend. And no, scrolling through Instagram doesn’t count.
        • Bed is for Sleep and Intimacy Only: Keep it that way to ensure you get a solid 8 hours of restful sleep.

        Unusual Sleep Hacks From Research

        1. Beat Sleep Inertia: Keep naps short to avoid entering deep slow-wave sleep. Failing to complete a sleep cycle can lead to feeling foggy and even sleepier than before.
        2. Lavender Aroma: According to research, the scent of lavender acts as a mild sedative, promoting deep sleep in both men and women.
        3. Skip Late Alcohol: While alcohol can make you drowsy, it disrupts deep sleep and dream phases. The result? You wake up groggy. More info.
        4. Evening Exercise: Contrary to popular belief, moderate exercise 60-90 minutes before bedtime won’t ruin your sleep. Here’s the study.
        5. 4-7-8 Breathing: This technique involves a specific breathing pattern to help you fall asleep quickly. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Repeat four times.
        6. Combat Painsomnia: Reducing sensitivity to pain can help you sleep better. A study found that 95% of adults lost at least an hour of sleep due to pain, with back pain being the most common culprit.
        6 tips for better sleep | Sleeping with Science, a TED series

        FAQs On Sleep

        1. What is the Military Method Sleep Hack?

        The Military Method Sleep Hack is said to help soldiers fall asleep quickly in tough situations. It involves:

        • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Systematically relax each muscle group in your body, one by one. Tense and release the muscles in your face, neck, shoulders, and work your way down to your toes. Focus on the feeling of relaxation spreading throughout your body.
        • Deep Breathing: As you relax your muscles, focus on slow and deep breaths. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and exhale slowly for a count of 8. Pay attention to the feeling of your chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath.
        • Mental Imagery: While maintaining your relaxed state and deep breathing, conjure up a calming image in your mind. It could be a peaceful place you’ve visited, a serene natural landscape, or simply a dark and quiet room. The key is to create a mental image that evokes feelings of tranquility.
        • Clearing Your Mind: For the next 10 seconds, try to clear your mind of any thoughts or worries. If a thought pops up, acknowledge it, then gently release it. Refocus on your breath and a calming image.

        2. Can some foods improve sleep quality?

        Yes, certain foods may help one sleep better.

        • Foods rich in tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts into serotonin and melatonin, both involved in sleep regulation. Examples include turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
        • Foods with magnesium: Magnesium helps relax muscles and regulate sleep-wake cycles. Examples include leafy green vegetables, bananas, avocados, and dark chocolate.
        • Tart cherries: Cherries are a natural source of melatonin and may help regulate sleep patterns in people with insomnia.
        • Warm milk: Milk contains tryptophan and a small amount of melatonin. While the amount may not be significant, the warm drink can be a relaxing bedtime ritual that promotes sleepiness.
        • Avoid heavy meals, sugary snacks, and caffeine close to bedtime, as they interfere with sleep.

        3. How much sleep do you need by age?

        According to the National Sleep Foundation:

        • Neonates should sleep between 14 and 17 hours
        • Infants between 12 and 15 hours
        • Toddlers between 11 and 14 hours
        • Preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours
        • School-aged children between 9 and 11 hours
        • Teenagers between 8 to 10 hours
        • Young adults and adults between 7 to 9 hours
        • Older individuals between 7 to 8 hours.

        5 Books on Sleep

        1. Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams — Matthew Walker
        2. The Sleep Solution – Why Your Sleep Is Broken And How To Fix It — Chris Winter
        3. Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes — Tom Rath
        4. The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night – Guy Meadows
        5. The Effortless Sleep Method: The Incredible New Cure for Insomnia and Chronic Sleep Problems
          Sasha Stephens

        Final Words

        [• Download a PDF of this article: 6 Science-Backed Sleep Hacks]

        Honestly, ever since the debut of the electric light bulb over 140 years ago, the world has never stopped working. That was when we first began to cheat on our body’s internal clocks and skip sleep.

        There is no doubt that you must make time to sleep better and longer. A good night’s sleep can make you feel upbeat and productive. It keeps you in a good mood and raises your positivity.

        You can’t live a healthy life until you get enough sleep, whether you’re a night owl or an early bird. Mind the words of Aldous Huxley, author of the 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World:

        “That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.”

        √ Please share it with someone if you found this helpful.

        √ Also Read:

        Our Story!


        When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.