Getting a great night’s sleep!
Get to sleep fast, deep, easy…
Remember the last time you had a “moving day?” You sweated and groaned, you pushed and pulled that furniture and all those boxes, climbed those stairs, unpacked all that stuff. If you could take a guess, do you think you had a good night’s sleep that day? I bet you did, too.
The best cure for lack of sleep is to make the body tired. When toddlers play their hearts out, they get sleepy. Same with us. Only we are too sophisticated to let our bodies play, or work themselves to tiredness–except when absolutely neccessary, like on moving day.
So part of our multi-modal approach to sleep issues is to make the body more tired, no matter what the stress level of the mind is. Other parts of the approach include: food choices, supplements, self-massage, and general sleep hygiene (wow, big word, but it just means setting up your sleep environment and activities around bedtime.)
Making the body tired
Get a trial gym membership for a week. It will be free. Work out 20 minutes a day. Do some strength training on the first day and every third day after that. Strength training means using the weight machines. You can set the resistance level very low, but you should feel at least a tiny bit of **burn. Good. Make yourself tired, you will thank me at the end of the day. Your metabolism will be higher all day long, and the body will be naturally tired at bedtime.
Food and drink
Avoid caffeine after lunch. Limit your caffeine for “wake-up” purposes. You can use matcha tea and greens later in the day to get extra boosts of mental energy, but don’t dip into the coffee pot. If you work out every morning before going to your job, that will serve as a wake up stimulus, as well.
Some supplements, such as vinpocetine, huperzine-A, samE, piperine, gingko biloba, L-theanine, and others enhance your cognitive capacity and do great things for your brain. Favour those over stimulants like caffeine to get you going in the morning.
Starting your day with a protein breakfast will also speed up your metabolism and make your body a bit more tired by the end of the day.
You may want to make sure that your evening meal is substantial. This will help you be more grounded by bedtime. Going to bed hungry will inhibit your sleep.
Of course, eating fresh nutrient-rich foods, with an emphasis on green vegetables is an important part of any healthy-living routine. Make yourself an experimental subject, and try it for two weeks.
If you spend your evening doing some TV watching, you can give yourself a quick coconut-oil massage on your upper body, then pop on some pajamas to keep the sofa etc clean. No need to massage heavily, but leave the oil on for a half hour. If you feel some oil remaining on your skin, you can wash it off with a quick shower and some soap. The oil will serve as a natural sedative to calm you down.
Mental stress can inhibit sleep. Too much going on in your life at work, with the kids, the friends and the “must-do” activities of life saps your adaptation energy and can keep you buzzing and unable to shut down. Our recommendation for stress is meditation, specifically Transcendental Meditation, because it has the best sleep research results. Google TM, or go to TM.org to find a teacher near you. Meditation or medication, your choice. TM training is not free, but it is much better for your wallet, your body and your mind than a year’s worth of sleeping pills.
Get some early morning light, and do try to get outside at lunchtime, at the brightest part of the day, summer or winter. You are not trying to stimulate Vitamin D production, but rather the pituitary gland, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Morning light means good night.
In the evening, reduce mental stimulation. At all costs, avoid work-related activities, such as checking work email, and so on. Avoid arguments, controversial topics, favor good stories of the day you had. Reduce screen time, try a real book or magazine or do some light activities around the house. If you don’t feel physically tired, then go for a walk.
Supplements and habits to help you sleep
Take your magnesium just before bed. There are several supplements that do a great job of making you drowsy, such as L-tryptophan, 5HTP, GABA, passion flower, and others. L-theanine will help you stay asleep once you nod off. Keep your sleep area as dark as possible. Light during the day, darkness at night. Simple, necessary.
Avoid violent, disturbing TV shows in the evening. They may feel interesting and stimulating, but stimulating is not what you want at this time of the day. Opt for something more positive.
Take responsibility for your wellness and Google “sleep hygeine” for starters. Try to follow as many of the recommendations as you can. You can attack your sleeplessness from many angles and overcome through the strategy of “death by a thousand cuts.” Much better than those dreaded pharmaceuticals, by far!
Drop by our store, email or call us if you have any questions about your sleep routine, diet, or supplement selections. We are here to help.