There are fewer things more frustrating in life than when you have trouble sleeping. You roll over every few minutes and look at the clock. You do a quick calculation in your mind that goes something like this: ”If I can fall asleep RIGHT THIS SECOND, I’ll be able to get 4 hours and 17 minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off”.
To say that sleep is important is a vast understatement. The old adage of successful people going long periods with less sleep is quickly going the way of the dinosaur. Your brain cannot function properly when deprived of sleep, and everything else in your life can suffer greatly. Sleep is the time when your brain reorganizes your thoughts and priorities into a searchable database. There are countless articles online about the dangers of sleep deprivation, so let’s skip to what we can do about insomnia.
Here are some things I have implemented to help, as I used to have that same issue.
- Magnesium supplement at night before bedtime. Research has shown that even a small deficiency can make it difficult for the brain to settle down. Calm is the name of the supplement I use. Available on Amazon. One study mentioned that almost 100% of insomniacs are magnesium deficient.
- No blue light after 6pm. Blue light from screens, phones, tablets, and tv’s tell our brain it is time to wake up. Cortisol goes up, melatonin goes down. This equals no sleep or poor sleep. It might look funny, but my wife and I wear orange tinted shades after 6pm if we want to watch a little television or work on a computer screen. The old “blu blockers” are what we have. You can get them on Amazon also.
- Your bedroom should be completely blacked out. Put some electrical tape over any LED’s. Get room darkening curtains to prevent any light from coming through. In my experience, when I have not done this in the past I wake up in the middle of the night and have a terrible time going back to sleep. With our bedroom blacked out, going back to sleep takes only a minute or two, if that.
- Caffeine curfew. Caffeine has a half life of 8 hours, meaning if you have any product containing caffeine, it will still have some sort of effect on your body several hours later. Picking a time during the day to stop caffeine is your best bet.
- Eliminate all BPA’s from your water source. BPA’s have been linked to insomnia and countless other ailments. Learn the types of plastics and avoid the bad ones. Some say even the good types of plastics are bad, as they leach chemicals with heat and over time.
- Stay on a regular sleeping schedule. Waking up very early every morning, and staying up, almost guarantees you will have no issue falling asleep at night. My dad used to say nothing good happens after 9pm. I used to laugh at that. He was right.
- Avoid alcohol if possible. Many people believe alcohol helps them sleep. Not true. Just one drink can greatly disrupt the quality of sleep you get. When you drink alcohol close to bedtime, you go straight to deep sleep, missing out on the usual first stage of sleep, called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As alcohol wears off, you come out of deep sleep and back to REM, which is much easier to wake from. A regular sleep pattern (without alcohol) usually has 6 to 7 REM cycles. With alcohol, you might have only 2-3, leaving you tired in the morning.
To your health,