Now is the time when I hear most people complain about insomnia. I think it’s the combination of Christmas stress and the lack of daylight in many parts of the world.
I used to suffer horrible insomnia for years. Especially during the dark months of the Scandinavian country I grew up in (surprisingly I never had trouble sleeping when it was bright 24 hours or maybe I didn’t care). But I figured out simple techniques that have helped me sleep like a dog every night without taking sleeping pills. In today’s feature article, I’ll share with you my top ten tips.
Please read more and share with us your best sleep tip in the comment section at the end of this article.
Have bright lights during the day but dim them after dinner. Melatonin is the hormone that controls if you feel sleepy or not. And one of the main things that controls melatonin output in the body is the amount of light around us. Bright light slows down melatonin release and darkness flushes it out. However, it is the contrast that in many ways creates quality of sleep. You’ve no doubt experienced spending all day long out in the sun and then had the best night’s sleep after that. One reason for this is because all day melatonin was kept in reserve and then when darkness hit, your body had clear message “SLEEP.”
Even if you can’t enjoy all day sunlight, it’s very important to put bright bulbs in those office lights and tell the boss it’s for his/her own good. But two, three hours before going to sleep, let that melatonin seep out by lowering the lights. And try to have your bedroom as dark as possible. If you absolutely must have night-light, make it red as that has the least melatonin-suppressing effect.
Exercise during the day but not four or five hours before going to sleep. This again creates contrast between waking time (with a lot of action) and sleeping time (when you’re relaxed and take it easy).
Lack of physical activity during in the modern day computer world is a major reason that insomnia is so common. Remember being a kid and playing all day outside, once you finally settled down at night you were so tired you couldn’t even move and dozed off immediately when hitting the pillow? Why not do that now?
Eat healthy and make sure your lunch is protein rich and not too high in carbohydrates. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s a good idea to monitor your diet and note what you ate when you couldn’t sleep and when you slept well.
Among foods that help you sleep are: pumpkin seeds (great source of magnesium), cottage cheese (contains tryptophan, a sleep inducing amino acid), sesame seeds (high in trytophan and balanced nutrition for better sleep), whole brown rice (have soothing effects on the nerves system) and spinach (loaded with chlorophyll and magnesium plus balanced nutrition that helps you sleep).
Foods that keep you awake include: refined carbohydrates (drain your body of vitamin B, which causes mental anxiety), MSG (very stimulating), alcohol (may help you fall asleep but you most likely will wake up in the middle of the night or not have zero sleep quality), coffee (especially late at night), bacon (contains natural stimulator tyramine, which keeps you up.) Other foods that also contain tyramine include tomatoes, sauerkraut, eggplant, chocolate, potatoes, ham, sausage, sugar and wine. If you want to eat some of those stimulating foods, try to do so for breakfast and lunch rather than later at dinner.
Take natural sleep aids like Valerian Root and Melatonin. Both can bee found in most health food stores. Note that melatonin often comes in pretty big doses, which is okay if you’re going to use it temporarily. If you want to use it on regular basis, it’s more effective to break the tablet in tiny pieces so you only take 0.3 mg/night.
Laughter – several studies have proven what we all know, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Study conducted by Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea, tested 109 elderly persons for depression and sleep quality. After providing half the group with only four sessions of laughter therapy over a period of month, that half had significantly better sleeping quality and less risk of depression.
Try to have relaxing time a couple of hours before going to sleep- but not in your bed. Turn off the TV and the computer and read a good novel (not work-related or school book) or listen to relaxing music. The calmer you are when you finally lie down, the quicker you will fall asleep.
Take a hot bath. People differ in how a hot bath affects them. Some fall asleep immediately, others are temporarily rejuvenated and then get sleepy an hour or so later. Find your rhythm and follow it.
Control the temperature in your bedroom. The body naturally cools down when it gets into sleeping mode and is coolest during the deepest sleep. So make sure your room is cool enough – especially your head. In fact, studies using special chilling pads put on the head found them even more effective than sleeping pills. You can get the same effects by placing cooling pads used to cool down drinks on your forehead for a few minutes before going to sleep. Or wrap ice-cubes into a cloth and place it on your forehead. You’ll quickly fall asleep.
Count in threes from 300 down to zero. 300-297-294-291… I guarantee when you’re down below 100, you’ll be feeling really tired, bored and drowsy. This is a modern version of counting sheep.
Check out our insomnia program. It is based on some of the techniques mentioned before by using sound, brain and relaxation techniques to literally knock you off in 24 minutes. Our local tests have proven it more effective than any sleeping pill without the side effects. Learn more about our insomnia program here…
These are only 10 of many great natural methods to fall asleep. Please share your thoughts and methods below…