It’s midnight, and you’re wide awake, struggling to fall asleep once again. What do you decide to do?
Go on the clock app to watch some funny videos that will hopefully let you drift off! You might think that TikTok won’t help you get a good night’s rest but there are a few popular sleep hacks on the clock app.
But do they actually work? Get Laid Beds have teamed up with sleep expert, Dr Daisy Mae, to let us know if these TikTok sleeping hacks are fact or fiction.
Brain Tapping (792k likes, 8k shares) – the process of speeding up and then slowing down your brain’s rhythmic pattern via repetitive tapping
“Brain tapping is a recently recognised technique which combines cognitive behavioural therapy with somatic stimulation using acupuncture pressure points. It utilises some of the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and kinesiology,” Mae says.
You tap 7-9 times on 3 areas of the face (around the eyes, below the nose and below the lips), the collarbone and under the arm and on the top of the head, while making a statement out loud about your worries and how bad they are on a scale of 1-10.
It may sound like a faff, but it works. In 2013, the journal Psychology published a review of the medical evidence about a group of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFTs), which included brain tapping. This included 23 randomised controlled trials and 17 personal studies.
Military Technique (480k likes, 148k shares) – the process of inhaling, holding, exhaling, holding and repeating this three times or until you fall asleep
“According to the US Army, the Military technique works for 96% of people who try it. It involves consciously relaxing different groups of muscles within the body in a stepwise fashion, starting with the facial muscles and working down the body, which eventually induces sleep,” Mae says.
The theory behind the Military Technique is that the progressive muscle relaxation induces the onset of sleep. With the Military Technique, the aim is for sleep onset within 2 minutes. It is a learned technique, which took initial recruits 6 weeks to master, so anyone trying it, needs to be patient and persistent.
The Anmien Pressure Point (250k likes, 10k shares) – Where pressure and massage are applied to a spot behind the ear to treat insomnia
“Acupuncture and acupressure are techniques of ancient Chinese Medicine. These work on the principle that putting pressure on specific pressure points ensures that Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) – the name for vital energy - flows correctly through the body,” Mae shares.
They believe that when Qi is low, this can result in a variety of symptoms including insomnia and fatigue. Acupressure involves putting pressure, but using your fingers or a blunt object – not a needle - on a particular pressure point.
Studies have shown that exerting pressure on pressure points activates the myelin sheaths that surround small peripheral nerves. These then transmit impulses to the higher nerve centres in the brain, including the hypothalamus and the pituitary, and the spinal cord.
An mien is a pressure point found 1cm behind the midpoint of the ear, over the skull. It is one of the suggested pressure points for improving sleep. Try pressing on the area on one or both sides for thirty seconds when trying to get to sleep.
Yongquan and Tai Chong Pressure Points (6.5k likes, 800 shares) – Where pressure is applied to the bottom and top of your feet and massaged
“Good quality medical evidence to support reflexology is sparse, but there are some small studies to support it,” Mae explains.
During reflexology, EEG studies have shown alterations in brain wave patterns usually seen in sleep. The onset is rapid, within minutes of starting treatment.
Reflexologists often use essential oils, aromatherapy, and subdued lighting – all of which induce relaxation – making it difficult to single out the specific effects to pressure on the pressure points as therapeutic. We know there is tremendous power simply in the action of human touch.
Natural Light Alarm (5.5k likes, 700 shares) – This is the claim that waking up to natural light coming through the windows will help improve sleep quality
“Using blackout curtains to prevent light from coming into the bedroom in the early mornings has been shown to improve sleep, rather than using no blinds or curtains at all,” Mae says.
However, once you wake up, exposure to natural daylight is crucial for getting to sleep that night.
As soon as you wake up, getting outside for half an hour, preferably for an early morning walk, is one of the best ways to help get to sleep at night-time. If you can’t physically go outside, first thing in the morning, open the blinds or curtains wide, open the windows if possible, and expose yourself to natural light.”