These Sleep Hacks Could Make You a Shinier, Happier Person | Dedicated
Night for Day
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In 1928, inventor Alois Benjamin Salinger patented the Psycho-Phone, a bizarre record player/alarm clock that he promised could help people get rich, lose weight, and find a spouse, all through a series of motivational slogans that played as they slept.
A credulous 1933 piece in The New Yorker reported that Singer had sold 2,500 devices, priced from $75 to $235, with a series of anonymous testimonials (California “movie actors” among them) attesting to the Psycho-Phone’s efficacy.
Sleep learning has been largely debunked in the 80+ years since – electroencephalographic studies in the 1950s showed no evidence for the phenomenon.
While Salinger’s device might have become a largely forgotten historical curiosity, the idea of hacking those eight hours of shuteye – an estimated 33% of your life – to become more productive, more efficient, and more fit, has not gone away.
Check out the latest techniques and tricks to get more out of your bedtime.
If you associate lucid dreaming with an Inception-style exercise in meta-awareness, you’re only half right. It’s possible that controlling the content of your dreams could make you a shinier, happier person.
Although lucid dreaming has its origins in ancient practices such as yoga nidra, the phenomenon has only been studied scientifically since 1968, when British writer Celia Green published an analysis of 400 accounts of lucid dreaming.
The experience soon seeped into 1970s New Age movements, gaining traction at Esalen in the 1970s and becoming a stalwart of the out-of-body-experience.
But a new generation of researchers are using lucid dreaming to improve everything from marathon training to chronic pain treatment.
And workshops and classes led by Charlie Morley, tie-dyed lucid dreaming teacher and author of Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming Conscious in Your Dream, use the technique to “wake up to your full potential” – naturally he’s also got a TedX talk about it.
Adjust the Lights
Nothing has had a bigger impact on the world’s sleep habits than the simple lightbulb.
A now-famous 1992 study by Thomas Wehr, former chief of the Clinical Psychobiology branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, showed just how deeply we are affected by Edison’s innovation.
Wehr’s deprived volunteers of artificial light – after three weeks, every participant began sleeping eight hours every night, in two four-hour segments (also known as biphasic sleep).
While you’re not likely to pull off the lightbulb-fast outside of a scientific study or cabin in the woods, there are tools you can use to lessen the impact of artificial light on your sleep habits.
iOS’s nightshift mode and f.lux for Android will shift the color temperature of your screen to avoid disrupting your sleep. Van Winkle’s offers a rundown of four bulbs that will help prevent your internal clock from getting too far out of whack. And light therapy boxes can be used to keep your circadian rhythms in order.
Trouble grinding your teeth? The Babylonians prescribed sleeping near a human skull (as well as kissing and licking it over the course of the night).
Dealing with a baby who won’t sleep? Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, chock-full of alcohol, morphine, and ammonia, was just the trick for 19th century America.
Sleep hacks appear to be as old as the act of sleeping itself, though hopefully they have become healthier (and less dependent on dead bodies). Still, it is with several grains of salt that we present some of the stranger trends to appear in recent years.
Bulletproof – the hardcore health company behind putting butter in your coffee – sells a “sleep induction mat”, which appears to be an ergonomically-enhanced version of those beds-of-nails that appear in most kung fu movies.
And brain hackers have been developing smart drug stacks – using naturally-found nootropics to improve the quality and duration of their sleep.
No one wants to be told they’re doing something wrong, least of all a biological necessity like sleep. If you’re happy with your daily dose of forty winks, don’t stress about it – just make sure you’re getting all the sleep you need.
This is part one of our two-part Human Optimization Guide, presented by Casper. If you’re looking for the perfect night’s sleep, then look no further than Casper’s remarkable line of mattresses, pillows, and sheets. You can get $50 off the purchase of your next mattress using the promo code UNCUBED right here.
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