Written by Lauren Geall
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.
Welcome to Sleepless Nights, Stylist’s weekly series designed to help you put your anxiety and worries to bed. This week, we’re investigating whether TikTok’s most popular sleep hacks are actually worth trying.
From time-saving makeup techniques to gardening hacks that help you to keep your plants alive, TikTok is a treasure trove of advice – especially when it comes to sleep.
Over the last couple of months, countless videos outlining methods to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer have achieved viral status, thanks in no small part to the sheer number of people who struggle with their sleep.
But do these hacks have any scientific basis? And could they really be the secret to a better night’s rest?
We asked Stephanie Romiszewski, consultant physiologist and director of the Sleepyhead Clinic in Exeter, to give us the inside scoop on some of TikTok’s biggest sleep trends. Here’s what she had to say.
Reducing your bedroom temperature
Drinking lettuce water
Trying the 4-7-8 breathing technique
So, is trying a TikTok sleep hack a good idea?
While Romiszewski admits that some of the above techniques could help to aid the sleep process, she’s clear that they won’t help someone who isn’t sleepy in the first place – a problem many who struggle with their sleep usually face. In fact, she warns, relying too heavily on sleep hacks and rituals to solve your sleep problems could actually make things worse.
“The reality is that there are several things that you could do that might have a minor impact on your sleep, but if you fill your time doing all these things, not only would your sleep still not be perfect (because there’s no such thing), but you would probably become very obsessive and ritualistic,” Romiszewski says.
“The problem with seeing these kinds of hacks as solutions to chronic sleep problems (sleep problems which last over three months) is that, when they work, you might start thinking, ‘That really worked for me once therefore I must do it every single night’. And I find people doing these obsessive, ritualistic routines even though they don’t really work, just because they have this anxiety that if they don’t do them, things could be even worse.
“Yes, it’s important to look after your sleep, but it’s also important to understand that your sleep will wax and wane and change – it’s not a linear process, just like life isn’t a linear process. And your sleep will alter because there are so many variables in our lives that we can’t control.”
Romiszewski concludes: “If you have a chronic sleep disorder, you need to get support from an accredited sleep specialist who can help you with the rewiring of your brain, which is essentially what’s going on when you’ve got insomnia.”
To find out more about chronic sleep problems and how to seek help, you can visit the NHS website or check out the Sleepyhead Clinic.
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