When it comes to trying to get a good night’s sleep, I’m not ashamed to say I’ll do just about anything. I’ve listened to Harry Styles tell me stories to fall asleep (via the Calm app), and I’ve tried meditating before bed. And while I’ve tried to be a better sleeper, I’ll also admit that I’m a revenge bedtime procrastinator who can’t help but endlessly scroll through TikToks before drifting off, which we all know isn’t great for sleep hygiene.
But what if the very app that’s keeping me awake at night also holds the key to tips and tricks that could leave me well-rested? It turns out TikTok has a number of creators who are offering up their advice on different ways to improve and inspire sleep — and I tried three of them in hopes of hacking my way to dreamland.
Related: How much sleep do you really need? this study breaks it down.
The TikTok sleep hack: Listen to spa music
@victoria.alario such a game changer for sleep and mornings #greenscreen #sleeptips #relaxing #fyp #foryou #forthegirls ♬ original sound – Victoria
If you’re like me, white noise and sounds of nature aren’t relaxing when trying to wind down at bedtime. Listening to water falling and birds chirping keeps me on edge instead of being soothing. I’ve also tried classical music, but Beethoven and Tchaikovsky just don’t bring the kind of serenity I need when trying to get comfortable at night.
Luckily, TikToker @victoria.alario shared music that works for her when she’s trying to fall asleeep: spa music. This calming playlist she shared features ambient sounds that are perfectly mellow, and I was curious to see if it would work for me. She advises sleeping with the playlist on throughout the night, and listening to it in the morning as well. While I can fall asleep to music, I can’t keep it on, so after listening to it for a while and starting to feel drowsy, I turned it off and tapped out.
I slept through the entire night with ease and didn’t wake up once. I powered the playlist up again in the morning while I made breakfast and got ready for the day, but it started to make me feel sleepy, so I quickly switched to some more upbeat music. Overall, I liked the calming music, and I appreciated that it avoided sounds from nature, which helped me to quickly hit the hay.
Result: It worked for me, and I would try it again.
Related: 10 reasons you can never get enough sleep.
The TikTok sleep hack: Try the relaxation technique used by fighter pilots
@justin_agustin Technique to falling asleep in 2 minutes! Insp. AsapSCIENCE on YT #sleep #fallasleep #insomnia #insomniac #learnontiktok #howto ♬ You – Petit Biscuit
According to this TikToker, this technique was developed in the military to help soldiers fall asleep in uncomfortable environments. First, as the video describes, you need to relax your body and next, you must clear your mind by focusing on one of the two scenarios.
This technique apparently takes six weeks to master, but I was still curious to see if it would work if I tried it for one week. I got into my comfiest PJs and proceeded to go through the process of relaxing my muscles and trying to empty my head of all my thoughts. But, the very act of thinking about not thinking, made me a bit anxious.
I eventually fell asleep each time I tried it, although I don’t think this technique had anything to do with helping me. If anything, it helped me de-stress, which was helpful — but not key to me falling asleep.
Results: With more practice, this could be useful.
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The TikTok sleep hack: Use a chalky visualization
@anndunnington #sleeptips #fallasleep #relaxationtips #visualization ♬ original sound – anndunnington
I’ve never been one for visualizations, especially when it comes to ones that are supposed to relax me in order to help me sleep. But this was one I’d never heard of before, so I figured there couldn’t be any harm in trying. The idea is that you visualize drawing each letter of the alphabet on a chalkboard and then erasing it. It didn’t sound super exciting, but maybe that’s why I figured the repetition of it would let me drift off.
Staring up at the ceiling, I tried to draw and erase the letters over and over again. It made me bored, not sleepy. I figured maybe it was just something I needed to clear my head in order to focus on. But by the third time I tried it, I found myself more awake than I was before and I ended up reaching for my phone. It felt as useless as counting sheep, which has also never worked to help me feel tired.
If counting and other rhythmic activities help you to unwind, this hack will be right up your alley. But it’s not something I enjoyed, nor would I try again.
Result: If you’re into visualizations, this might work for you. It didn’t work for me.
Related: Poor sleep linked to mental illness, large-scale study says.
After trying all three TikTok sleep hacks, the spa music was the most helpful for me. I especially enjoyed getting ready for bed while doing my skincare routine and listening to it while getting cozy, so it really helped me mentally ease into falling asleep. With more practice, I also feel that the military sleep technique would also probably benefit me, but I need to try it for long enough to see.