Do These Sleep Hacks For Insomnia Actually Work? Here's What We Found

TikTok swears these are the best way to get those Zzs.
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Autumn is almost over and winter is on its way. The days are getting shorter, and for some the change in weather drastically affects our sleep cycles . Perhaps you’re someone who has always struggled with falling asleep.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, the internet is not shy when it comes to offering you sleep advice – especially Tik Tok. The #sleeptips hashtag alone has 274.5 million trending views on the app.

Getting a quality night’s sleep helps us manage the challenges of the day – the right quantity of kip improves our mental performance capacity by 25%. Conversely, those who suffer from sleep deprivation are about 2.5 times more likely to experience mental distress.

So we’ll try anything when it comes to sleep through then night. But, do TikTok’s most popular sleep hacks actually work? Hope Bastine, UK psychologist and resident sleep expert for the mattress manufacturer Simba, reviews five of the latest sleep trends on TikTok.

Listening to brown noise

The hack: Most of us are familiar with white noise, but brown noise is becoming more popular as a tool for calming the ADHD mind – and for anyone trying to get a good night’s sleep.


Double tap ‘♥️’ save this video and comment how this sound makes you feel 🕊 Tap the IG icon in bio to subscribe on YouTube for 1-hour of brown noise and other relaxing sounds to sleep to 😴 #brownnoise #sleepsounds #viral #fyp

♬ Brown noise - Pure Brown Noise - Power of Noise

White noise is a static-like sound that uses all frequencies that the human ear can distinguish and helps to mask sounds that keep our brain in high alert mode, especially when sleeping in a new environment, while brown noise has lower frequencies and produces a deeper rumbling sound – like a heavy downpour of rain.

The verdict: – Due to its frequencies, brown noise is better for masking the ringing in your ears if you suffer from tinnitus. And if it’s a sound you’re already used to listening to when you are falling asleep, then it will work for you, says Bastine. If not, white noise is a better way to go.

Eating almonds every night

The hack: This sleep tip boldly declares that eating almonds every night before bed will make you fall asleep fast.

Often an imbalance between two adrenal hormones: cortisol and adrenaline can cause wakefulness. While cortisol regulates blood sugar, it’s also responsive to prolonged stress. During sleep, we are effectively fasting, and as a result, our blood sugar levels drop. Cortisol should be lower when falling asleep, before starting to slowly increase throughout the night – peaking first thing in the morning which wakes us up. A smooth process.

The problem arises when we’re under stress – cortisol levels are dysregulated, turning what should be a steady slow rise into a blunt, flat cortisol level. This is when adrenaline rushes in to save us. In the absence of cortisol, adrenaline arrives with a sudden shock, stimulating our nervous system into overdrive. So when you wake up between 2-4am, you can’t get back to sleep because your internal alarm system is flashing a red alert.

The verdict: Although eating almonds alongside protein can help you fall back to sleep, they won’t help speed up the process. That said, if you are someone who doesn’t struggle to fall asleep but has problems staying asleep, this tip might be worth trying, says Bastine.

Using a sleep monitor to track your sleep

The hack: This TikTokker suggests that investing in a sleep monitor is the wearable way to solve all your sleep problems.

The verdict: Buying a sleep monitor to track your sleep alone does not improve your sleep ability or sleep quality, Bastine says. Sleep monitors provide us with blunt information about our nocturnal patterns, and what we do with that information will determine how well we sleep. It’s an information tool, just like any other – it is not a magic pill.

Rubbing your hands for 30 seconds three times over

The Hack: This hack is a popular one, so popular that HuffPost has tried it out.


Two points on the hand to calm and help you fall asleep faster 😴 #insomnia #goodnight #sleephack

♬ Emotional Piano Instrumental In E Minor - Tom Bailey Backing Tracks

Unfortunately, it didn’t help our reporter Faima Bakar. “Perhaps I had the wrong point (I watched a video about pressure points and it seems I did rub the suggested area). But what stopped me from falling into a slumber was being conscious that I was rubbing my wrist,” she writes.

The verdict: The research on acupressure to modify heart rate variability tells us that there is an immediate impact after the third stimulation, so long as it is spaced 20 minutes apart. The desired effect, however, is not long-lasting. If you like this technique, it may be useful to include it as part of your holistic pre-sleep routine, but don’t rely on it on its own, says Bastine.

Ditch the melatonin

The hack: TikTokker Jake Crossman has highlighted his lack of faith in taking melatonin to help you sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone often prescribed when you are experiencing a sleep disruption, for example, changing time zones or for patients with a biological sleep disorder. Doctors do recommend melatonin, but only in certain situation and for a specific amount of time to adjust your sleep cycles.

Sleep scientist Matthew Walker tested the efficacy of over-the-counter melatonin supplements. He found that only 5% are effective and of good quality. Studies have also found that melatonin products often contain inconsistent dose labelling, making it difficult to monitor your consumption.

The verdict: Taking melatonin for longer periods of time for otherwise healthy individuals is inadvisable because you’ll condition your body to stop releasing the hormone naturally, says Bastine. In the long term, if you suffer from any mood disorders, it can exacerbate the issues because melatonin spike serotonin. Further research is needed on the long-term use of melatonin.