Toss and turn and turn and toss? Mind going at 400 mph? Takes 2 hours to finally fall asleep only to wake up an hour later? Many people suffer from insomnia and have difficulty falling asleep and getting a restful night of sleep.
Sleep is a studied science and I’m certainly no expert on all aspects of it. However through trial and doing some different things I now fall asleep within 5 minutes most of the time. There are still times that it takes longer and occasionally I don’t sleep well at all.
Some Sleep Truths
We need to sleep in the dark so that melatonin is released from the pineal gland to help your body restore and repair itself. Sleeping in a dark room is a must.
Sleep is a habit that can be created just like any other habit. Many people have the habit of not sleeping and consume harmful sleep aids and narcotics to improve their sleep
You need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to maximize your health and well-being.
There is a natural sleep cycle called the circadian rhythm and following this cycle will aid in your sleep.
Sleep is improved as you consume a balanced diet of about 30% healthy fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrate.
Sugar will keep you awake long after you consume it.
Caffeine and other stimulants stay in your body long after you consume them and can hinder your sleep.
You can train your mind to be quiet.
The 5 Minute Method
Create the habit of sleep by following these pre-sleep steps:
- Only use your bed to sleep or have sex. Don’t read or watch TV in your bed to fall asleep or stare at your bright phone.
- Read or watch TV outside of your bed perhaps in a chair close by. Then as you begin to get drowsy move into your bed. You’ll then be training your mind that your bed is for sleep only. If you read, watch TV or stare at your phone your mind associates your bed to staying awake.
- Avoid eating a meal right before bed. Eat at least one hour before bed.
- Make your room dark and cool.
- To maximize the natural circadian rhythm retire to bed about 9 pm when your body begins the release of melatonin. If you stay up longer with the lights blaring in your home your brain will not signal to release melatonin. The closer you can follow a pattern of going to bed at 9 pm the better you’ll sleep sound during the night.
After you retire to bed:
Turn your mind off (I know your laughing now). Use these three methods to turn your mind off. It may take time to train your mind to be quiet but as you master each of these three methods, you’ll have three ways to shut done the thoughts that chatter in your head.
- Method one: Staring at a spot on your wall or another very small area or faint light in your room. Try and keep you eyes open and fixated on the spot. Your mind will be focused on trying to keep your eye on a spot and not on some other thought that may be troubling you. This is the method I use the most if I’m having trouble turning my mind off. You’ll soon find that you’re fighting to keep your eyes open. As soon as they shut you’re fast asleep.
- Method two: Intense listening to the small sounds around you. This method is to train you to turn your mind off by really listening. You may find that words pop into your mind but you’ll recognize that those thoughts are stopping you from hearing the quiet of your room and you’ll turn your thoughts off so you can hear better.
- Method three: Breathing through your body. This method works to relax you whether you’re failing asleep or just meditating. You breath in through your nose but you visualize the air being drawn through your toes. You’ll focus on your toes and recognize if they have any tension. If they do not have any tension you move up to the middle of your foot, then your heel, ankle, below your calf and then your calf all the way up toward your head. You can even start at an area that is tense like your shoulder or lower back. Not only will this relieve tension it turns your mind off. When I do this I never get up past my lower back before I’m asleep.
Some Natural and Safe Supplements to Consider
As you age your body does not produce the amount of melatonin it did when you were younger and supplementing with melatonin may help. I personally use a product from Isagenix called Sleep and Support Renewal. I’ve used several melatonin supplements and found this works the best. You’re instructed to start with one pump of the spray and leave it in your mouth for about a minute. Each night you keep adjusting the number to find the amount that works the best for you. I’ve found usually 2 or 3 pumps of spray works best.
I also have a weak adrenal gland and my sport’s injury doctor turned me onto Pro -Cortisol Balance. You can purchase it over the counter from several vendors. Do a Google search to find the best pricing. I’ve included a link to the vendor I use. I use one tablet directly after a work out to start reducing the harmful amount of cortisol I’ve created during exercise. Then at night right before I use the sleep spray I take another tablet.
I hope you begin to build great sleep habits and fall asleep fast for the best nights sleep ever!