I’ve been searching How to Sleep Better for some time. And these are my findings. I’m not a medical professional and these are not medical advice. However, I have scoured the web, books, and videos looking for all possible manner of helping with getting better sleep. While there are many who have said they’ve tried everything, there may still be some tidbits of information found on this site that they may not have tried and may help.
As we age, sleep becomes increasingly elusive such that lack of adequate sleep has become almost epidemic. There are many different causes of this. That is why not all sleep tips will work for everyone. It depends on the particular cause of the sleep issue for the particular person.
Nevertheless, let me summarize my personal opinion on how to sleep better here and then you can dive into the details in the links provided.
1. During the day get exposed to as much light as possible with being outdoors in natural sun and in the morning being preferred. This sets and strengthens the body’s circadian rhythm which is very important for sleep regulation. Use therapy light box if needed.
2. During the night, eliminate as much light as possible after sunset. This includes avoiding or limiting all electronic devices and television in the evening. If this is not practical, use amber filters or Googles to filter out blue light. During sleep, eliminate all light sources including digital clocks and use block-out curtains.
3. Sleep as early in the night after sunset as possible. 10pm is good. Then if you wake up at 6am, you’ve got 8 hours. Your body naturally wakes during dawn (unless you have delayed sleep phase syndrome). So the earlier you get to bed, the more hours you are likely to get.
4. Doing shift work or working nights violates all three of the above principles. Get out of shift work if possible. Many people work in the office all day, they come home, eat dinner, and get on their computer to work again. That is shift work too.
5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. If you must have your morning coffee because you haven’t been able to sleep, then drink early in the day and not after noon.
6. Bedroom environment should be cooler than normal and should be as quiet as possible. Remove all EMF emitting devices — no motors like refrigerators and no cell phones (put in hall or in room as far from head as possible). Some people go as far as shutting off the electrical power source to the bedroom. Have regular bedtimes same weekdays and weekends. Don’t do work, read, or watch TV in bed.
7. Replicate the behavior of human animal. They eat and hunt and gather during the day. They do nothing but relax and sleep after sunsets. Get adequate exercise during the early day (but no virgorous exercise too close to bedtime). Don’t eat after sunset and leave three hours between last meal and bedtime.
8. Check for sleep apnea. Sleep on side or using a bed that recline the upper body up slightly.
9. Check for medical conditions such as thyroid conditions, low blood sugar, low progesterone, too low carb, adrenal fatigues, high cortisol, and gluten sensitivity. You be surprised at the number of things that can affect sleep.
11. Eat whole foods with adequate nutrients, protein, healthy fat, and quantity. Some insomnia is caused by nutritional or mineral deficiencies. The brain needs fat and cholesterol to function well.
12. Make judicious use of supplements. Be careful about using supplements. Not all supplements are suitable for everyone and condition. Check with your doctor. Some supplements that may help for some people are such as magnesium, calcium, Passion Flower, St. John’s Wort, melatonin, B6, 5-HTP, and glycine. As with all supplements, you should not take long-term or in high doses and stop taking two weeks before any surgery. Many supplements can have interactions with other medications. Some supplements should not be taken while pregnant.
13. While all the same precaution applies, be even more careful of prescription pharmaceutical drugs. Avoid pharmaceutical drugs whenever possible. These include benzodiazepine receptor agonist, Ambien, and Zolpidem. If you really must use a prescription sleep drug, there is one that some say that is least worst (but read this before taking any of it).