night night: sleep tips from a former [full-time] insomniac

so the beginning of this journey for me all began when i couldn’t do one of the only things we’re fundamentally programmed to do (*Spoiler Alert*: sleep). i just couldn’t do it. my sleep button was broken and i didn’t know how to fix it 😦 . i tried everything. i mean EVERYTHING. or at least i think i did. i tried melatonin, eating cherries, drinking chamomile tea; i even tried playing solitaire (why though?). nothing really worked. each individually might have helped me one day or more but none consistently worked nor provided that deep, quality sleep either, even when used in combination with each other.

yes, i did go to a sleep doctor. he suggested i document every night into a series of worksheets known as a ‘sleep log’. so i did. however, during this time i had taken up running at night and this seemed to be my ‘cure’. in essence, when i followed up with my doctor i came back with logs showing how i slept every night since last seeing him.

(so then why are you complaining about sleep?)

AHAH! you have asked the right question! well let me tell you a little story… i tore my meniscus- THE END! so no more long distance running for me. maybe i gave up the idea too soon but the soreness i experienced in that very knee after any type of endurance training was pretty intense and doing it every night didn’t sound like a good idea to me. so there- back to the program…

i probably should’ve went back to the sleep doctor but i was so discouraged that i just decided to keep trying to figure this thing out on my own.

i started using Flipboard and one of my main topics of interest, if not THE main topic, was sleep. any and every article that was sleep focused or related, it was read and saved (you should see my magazine). in saying that, i stumbled across a shitload of articles (and shit) that claimed to have the ‘answers’. Titles like ’10 Steps to a Perfect Night’s Sleep’ and ‘Scientifically backed ways to sleep in minutes!’ I ran with all of these and grouped together the most useful tips that should help anyone looking to get a great night’s rest tonight and moving forward, from the start of your day to the moment you crash.

so here they are..

stick to the program

wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, including weekends. all week, month, and year long (yes, this includes vacations). if you choose to stay up a little later than normal on a given night, i wouldn’t go past 2 hours passed your routine bedtime. same concept applies for waking up. so no over sleeping you bums!

get out of bed

when you wake up in the morning, doesn’t it feel so relaxing to just stay in bed a few extra minutes (even hours) and dread the day to come? NO! get tf outta bed and start your day! take your finger off the snooze button and get up. staying in bed longer when not sleeping (or having sex) will impact your ability to sleep ‘on demand’ whenever you hit the bed at the end of a long day. plus, the longer you take, the harder it’ll be to get up. so move it!

exercise

no- i don’t mean going to the gym to take selfies and post it up on your Instagram Stories. i mean actually taking the time out, about an hour a day, to really work those muscles and release some steam. go ahead, go apeshit on a heavy bag or kick the crap outta that soccer ball for all i care- just be active.

stay away from sugar and caffeine

this is pretty much self explanatory and shouldn’t even be mentioned but there’s no such thing as ‘common sense’, so here you go. if you absolutely ‘need’ caffeine to keep you from being Irritable Irene, i’d suggest consuming it before 2pm. after that, you’re risking an all-nighter (guess you didn’t get enough of that in college huh?).

get you some good [vitamin] D

go outside and get yourself a good 10-30 min of sun light, with appropriate protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. you can also take vitamin D3 supplements if you can’t make it outside. so go on, put that UV condom on and flex that ‘summer bod’.

dinner is served

make sure your last meal is consumed no later than 2 hours before bedtime, same applies for drinks (yes, even water). this is especially true if you wanna keep that summer bod tight, Doug.

prep for tomorrow

before you start winding down to call it a night, get ready for tomorrow. you can do this by ironing your work clothes, meal prepping, whatever you can do to take tasks away and simplify your morning. it’s already difficult enough to get out of bed. don’t make it harder πŸ˜‰

Xbox [dis]Kinect

stay away from your cell, PS4, computer. like farrr awayyy. anything electronic that requires your attention- no. the blue light affect alone will impact your ability to go to sleep. so power down within 2 hours of sleepy time. pretend it has cooties or something. don’t even touch it.

clear the cache

the first step i make sure to take before i getting in bed is this one. get all that kaka out your head- whether it be from taking a walk, writing things down in a journal, reading or meditating, or all the above, NIKE (Just Do It)!

lights out

make sure your room is completely dark or as dark as possible (think Wesley Snipes in Blade). use blackout curtains, drapes, magic; whatever you have to do to so you are unable to see any type of light when you’re in bed. if you cant control your environment’s lighting, try using an eye mask.

no Dwight, this isn’t an eye mask

cool down

make sure your room, or wherever you sleep, is cooled down, not a sauna. a range from 62Β°-67Β° should do just fine. now, just lay back and chill πŸ™‚ .

live your life

this is a personal tip of my own and more general but a significant one, nonetheless, that deserves mentioning. following the tips above will definitely improve your ability to fall asleep as well as getting the best, quality sleep but these alone (or in combination) are not enough. ‘whatever helps you sleep at night’ is not just a phrase used by one person in response to another’s description of an idea or actionable activity which satisfies their perception of a given situation but it is also a truth. this truth touches the idea of you doing something or coming up with a ‘solution’ to resolve a conflict or some type of hurdle in your life. we all have issues to deal with and knowing this can be paralyzing, especially when no action is taken. so go ahead. target those problems and do ‘whatever helps you sleep at night’, cause there’s a good chance that’s what’s keeping you up to begin with.


if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the below comment section. also, if this article has been helpful, you can also comment and share with those like us πŸ™‚