Getting up early after tossing and turning all night is about as fun as a double root canal. No one signs up for a sleepless night willingly, yet millions of people suffer from poor sleep or a lack of sleep.
Shockingly, the entire world is sleepless, not just in Seattle. Japan and Saudi Arabia have the biggest sleep debt 1, but the rest of the world isn’t far behind them. Most folks don’t get even close to seven hours a night, let alone the recommended 8 to 10 hours so that their bodies can repair cells, allow their brains to rest and reset2, and get rid of toxins.
Sleep has almost become a luxury for an elite few – but that could include you, if you practice some simple sleep hacks to ensure that your body and mind can rest as they so desperately need to.
1) Reduce Inflammation to Sleep Better Longer
Most people are completely unaware that chronic inflammation can be causing their sleeplessness.
Inflammation is what causes a broad range of symptoms that accompany sleeplessness. Brain fog, drowsiness, and muscle aches and pains are just the beginning of what a few nights of bad sleep and inflammation can cause.
There is a mound of research describing how inflammation impacts sleep, including the increase of pro-inflammatory cytokines3 which do everything from alter sleep-wake cycles, to inhibit or immune response.
To further reduce inflammation, make sure you exercise consistently, drink plenty of water, and eat a highly-nutritious, plant-based diet.
2) Reduce Your Intake of Caffeine and Alcohol So You Can Sleep
Caffeine is a stimulant. While it can be helpful to kick-start your morning, and even has beneficial antioxidants that can boost health, it can also alter your circadian rhythm making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Try drinking herbal tea like chamomile instead of coffee past noon, so that your body and mind can settle down when they need to. Also try kava kava, or valerian root for extra sleep help.
Alcohol is also something you will want to replace with a non-alcoholic option since it can block deep, REM sleep and interfere with natural circadian rhythms. Try a virgin Bloody Mary the next time you go out with your friends, and not only will you skip the extra calories that come with alcoholic drinks you’ll also be prepping yourself for solid sleep tonight.
3) Turn Down the Lights to Sleep TightThere are special receptors in the pineal gland6 in your brain that react to light. The same gland synthesizes or helps the synthesis of melatonin, serotonin, and the “spirit molecule” also called DMT. All of these hormones have an important role to play in creating quality sleep for you.
By making it pitch black in your room you can help the pineal and pituitary glands create the hormones which tell your body to fall asleep.
Use black-out curtains or a face-mask so that you can block out every last shred of light. This will ensure quality sleep.
Also turn off the television, your cell phone, and electronic devices at least an hour before retiring so that the blue-light and electromagnetic frequencies from these things don’t interfere with your hormones.
4) Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night to Promote Sound Sleep
While you likely fall asleep at a similar time each night, often a change in our day – like staying out late with friends on the weekend – can interrupt the sleep rhythm that our bodies create on a day-to-day basis. Try to keep your late-night partying to a minimum so that you don’t wreck a good sleep pattern you’ve created during the work week.
If you travel to different time zones often, try to rise with the sun and sleep as the sun is going down to help your body adjust to the time difference.
5) Lower Stress to Sleep Like a BabyStress7creates more hormones that inhibit sleep like cortisol and norepinephrine, and lowers hormones that contribute to sleep like serotonin and melatonin. Chronic stress can also cause your adrenal glands and endocrine system to ignore signals that you are tired or worn-down, oddly making you feel even more exhausted, but unable to fall sleep at night because you are “over-tired.”
Lower your stress by spending time in nature, laughing with friends, reducing time with people that drain your energy, and meditating or practicing yoga.
6) Get More Magnesium and Vitamin B for Better Sleep
There are lots of nutrients which can help you fall asleep and stay asleep for a full eight hours, but for the fastest results, focus on getting more magnesium and Vitamin B. Most people in the world are deficient in these important nutrients.
Vitamin B regulates the body’s level of tryptophan, an amino acid important for maintaining healthy sleep.
You can take both of these in supplement form or just add more foods that contain them like leafy greens, walnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, beans, lentils, and dark chocolate.