In modern days, there are just as many ways to lose sleep as there are ways to regain it. This is why so many people have become insomniac. Don't lose heart. It is easier to take back your sleep than you think because once you get over the easier tips, the rest will fall into place as well. When I first learned these tips, I was excited because I knew they would help me get my best childhood friend (i.e. sleep) back again.
1. Filter the Blue light
Blue light from screens of electronic devices disrupts production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. On top of inducing sleep, melatonin also reduces cancer rate, normalizes blood pressure, prevents plaque from forming in the brain, reduces weight, improves thyroid function, and alleviates migraine and pain.
I use a free software, f.lux, to filter out blue light on my screen when the Sun goes down. Many people are like me. They cannot let go of their electronic device until they get very tired. The problem is, as long as you are staring at the screen, you will get a second wind to browse the Internet some more, then a third wind, and a forth wind, and you will never want to sleep. Before long, in a few weeks, you will have an upside down circadian rhythm, and will exhaust all your adrenal reserve and get burnout.
Some people simply need high dosage of vitamins to increase energy level during the day. Some natural supplement can put you into sleep fast. Unlike prescribed sleep medication, these supplements have no drug dependency and little to no side effect.
Chamomile, kava kava, and valerian are herbs that put your mind at ease, relax the muscle, help you fall asleep faster, and promote uninterrupted sleep.
5-HTP, GABA, and L-Tryptophan are isolated chemical our body uses or produces. You may purchase supplement forms of these chemical to see which ones help. 5-HTP is converted into serotonin by the body. Serotonin is then converted into melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.
The brain uses GABA to inhibit excitatory chemicals. People feel much more calm and happy when they get the effect of GABA and even ditch their medications.
L-Tryptophan is a precursor to 5-HTP. You may find trace amount of L-Tryptophan from foods, which may not be enough.
What work for some people might not work for you, because everybody has different chemistry. In a way, you can try different supplement until you find something works, which also gives you hint of what hidden condition you are dealing with. Under-diagnosis and mis-diagnosis by doctors are pretty common. If you don't want to slip through the crack, you must be your own primary doctor.
3. Get Under the Sun
You need sunlight to coordinate the cycle of melatonin production. During the day you want to get exposure under full spectrum of natural light, but at night you want to keep all artificial light at the minimal to maximize natural melatonin production.
If you are like me, who is very sensitive to season and lighting, you need to get a SAD light for gloomy season. SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder. Expose yourself to the SAD light or natural light in between 6am to 8:30am to fully awake your body.
If you work indoor, take your lunch break outdoor, because office workers who work in a cubicle sleep 43 minutes less compared to those who have access to windows.
It sounds unfair- the more people have, the easier for them to have more. It is little thing like this that drags you down or put you ahead.
4. Apply Topical Minerals on the Skin
Most people are deficient in magnesium. Without sufficient levels of magnesium, it is difficult to relax. The blood vessels need it to dilute and the muscle needs it to relax. Some migraine sufferers spray topical magnesium directly at the pain spot, which relieves the pain immediately.
The best way to absorb it is through the skin. Many people were able to fall into sleep by taking the oral supplement, but it can also cause diarrhea.
5. Exercise in the Morning
Morning exercisers get 75 percents more "deep" and "reparative" sleep than late exercisers.
Exercise is a heavy stressor. It is best to have exercise early in the morning to stimulate cortisol production and wake up the body. When we exercise late at night, our core temperature would become too warm for sleep. We need our core temperature to be cool if we want to sleep well. It can take up to six hours for your body to cool down after an intense exercise session.
This is why for most people who work out very hard still don't get the results they want. You need to time your work out intelligently to reap the benefit.
6. Regulate Your Hormones
Ladies might have a bigger problem with this than men. Starting in your 30s, you might start experiencing lower sex drive, mood swing, night sweat, painful period, and other hormonal issues.
It is not easy to sort this out, even for doctors. I have written an article on pre-menopause sleep problems. Adjusting lifestyle and diet could do wonder to rebalance hormones and regain your beauty sleep.
7. Easy on the Jogging
Jogging for long time periods can increase stress hormones and radically reduce muscle mass. This process of muscle loss is called gluconeogenesis. Muscles are fat burnings organs. If you lose too much muscle, you deplete your metabolism. This is why some people quickly gain weight once they stop running for a while.
Running for extensive period accumulates significant amount of stress hormones, which get stored up in the body and impede your sleep.
Build muscles in the morning instead. Just 3 sessions of half an hour work out a week could transform your body.
8. Total Darkness
Light pollution in the bedroom from even a tiny source such as night light or alarm clock steals from your sleep. We are evolved to sleep in total darkness. Our skin can sense light too and the light receptors on our skins determine the level of melatonin in the body.
Research indicates that just a simple nightlight could leads to myopia in children and significant vision problems later in life.
The bedroom should be totally dark even in day time. There should be no leak of light from the outside. What you can do is to get a "blackout curtain".
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