We can all agree that sleep is important. You know you need to get more and you’ve already tried everything to no avail. Insomnia is dreadful. Ask anyone who’s battled the condition for a while and they’ll tell you. No matter what you try, nothing gets you to sleep. And when you finally crash, you’re awake within a few hours and the cycle repeats itself.
I’m sick of hearing stories of epic doctors visits, overnight sleep studies and recommendations for expensive & uncomfortable machines with the promise of improving your sleep. Sure they work for some people, but I can’t imagine having to sleep with a big machine on my face, let alone seeing the damage said machine would do to my bank balance. No thanks.
As with most conditions, looking for a pattern in cases I have seen and then comparing the common trends with my understanding of human physiology, self experiments and research data helps me confidentially share 5 NATURAL tactics that you can try from as early as tonight that will increase your chances of punching insomnia square in the face.
1. Triple your exercise volume.
The first trend that I have identified in people who suffer from insomnia is a severe lack of exercise. Before you tell me that you walk, I’ll tell you that walking is not enough. You need to get into some resistance training.
Well resistance training makes you more tired. When you exert your muscles at a greater intensity, your body craves sleep so it can have the time to repair your muscles. Sure, your body can repair while you’re awake, but the peak regeneration time for your muscles is while you’re asleep. Your body will urge you to sleep so it can get to work – great!
Resistance exercise also helps with regulating blood sugar so it’s a double bonus.
2. Modify what you are eating.
I’m a big proponent of a diet that is lower in carbohydrates than is recommended. This can apply to sufferers of insomnia too. There is a large bias of people who experience insomnia and sleep disturbance to having type 2 diabetes, weight gain and elevated blood sugar. This means that your body has an excess of fast burning fuel available for use that’s just floating around the bloodstream waiting to be used. When blood sugar is elevated it can make it more difficult to get to sleep as your body is in a energy burning mode and is not geared up for rest and sleep.
Additionally, since carbohydrates & sugars are faster burning, they can be depleted quicker as you sleep by the brain and other cells. So even if you can get to sleep, if your body only knows how to use carbohydrates (instead of fats) then it will run out of fuel quickly and your body will wake you up in an attempt to get you to go “hunting” for some more fuel…usually in the jungle known as the fridge.
3. Have a laugh!
Have you ever had one of those days where you just laughed and laughed? Those are the best days. I’m not here suggesting that you manufacture that (fake laughter to yourself can be misunderstood by those around you). But choose to surround yourself by people that make you laugh, watch movies that truly make you laugh out loud or even throw on a comedy sketch. Laughter is really the best medicine. It’s sad to think that many of us don’t spend enough time laughing. Happiness and laughter can help you be more relaxed and have some positivity in your mind as you go down to sleep.
4. Turn off the lights and gadgets earlier.
I know, sitting in a dark room for a few hours before bed seems more and more unlikely (and unusual) as the years go past. With so much technology, even the oldies (sorry mum) can be seen playing on their phones in bed.
Think about this, your ancestors were without lights after sunset all the way up until 100 years ago! So that’s 99% of your gene’s existence has been without electromagnetic light sources within a few hours of bed (they only had candles before Edison invented the light globe).
The hardest part about this tactic is to think about what you’re going to do with yourself. Maybe this is a good time to fit in the exercise. Go for a walk (if you live in a safe neighbourhood or are built like “The Rock”), light up some candles, play some board games with the family, eat dinner with the TV off. Try and find a way to cut down the light. Not only do your eyes react to the light but your skin does too. It releases chemicals that are similar to when you’re out at the beach or in the sun, the body goes into extroverted, high energy mood…a long way away from the calm mood required for peaceful night’s sleep.
5. Get out of your head.
This might seem impossible for you…but don’t scroll quickly past this yet. I know it’s not easy. Frankly, this is my biggest weakness too. Well, it used to be. Prior to sleep I would replay all the events of the day. “I can’t believe he said that to me!” “Argh, I can’t believe I said that, what an idiot I am!” And then I would think about all the things I had on my to do list tomorrow and for the upcoming days, weeks, months. Of course you can see that this is not the ideal time or place to do this. But we all do it. How can you stop?
It’s not easy but here are some tactics to try…
Read some fiction – getting out of your own head and into a story is a great way to turn off that internal monologue.
Meditate – meditation has helped me improve the ability to switch my brain of and just breathe. It’s one of the absolute quickest ways that I put myself to sleep, breathe, clear your head and see you tomorrow.
Listen to an audiobook, music or radio show – closing your eyes and having someone else’s monologue entering your brain is a great way to get out of your own head. It usually conks me out very quickly.
Participate in some stress management strategies – if you’re disorganised like me and your to do list is overwhelming tomorrow you can spend some time prioritising and organising your schedule and partaking in other stress relief strategies. Giving yourself the confidence that you’ll be able to solve the upcoming problems and tackle tomorrow will allow you to flick those stressful thoughts to the curb and focus on getting the restful sleep that will help you actually check things off your list tomorrow.
I’ve listed 5 natural options that can cure insomnia. I’m sure there are more out there and perhaps you can share your strategies with me and others in the comments. Although some of those may seem obvious, I don’t think many people will be able to say they accomplish all 5 on a nightly basis. I’m confident that sufferers of insomnia are below average in these 5 tactics. So, before you go and spend thousands of dollars, euros or pounds on bulky equipment and medication, explore your natural options to beat insomnia and get back to enjoying the best time of the day, just like you used to when you were a kid. I know you can do it…now it’s time for you to give it a try yourself.
My name is Hany and I’m the Clinic Director here at Activate Clinic.
My Wife, Stephanie, and I have been building Activate Clinic together in an attempt to help as many people as possible take control of their health. We believe that everyone is unique has the power to optimise their own health.
Let me guide you on this wonderful adventure…