In the past five years, I have rarely had a sleepless night. I wake up early in the morning, feeling refreshed and eager for a day of work.
Until recently, I thought this was the norm. But my partner has shown me otherwise. Even though she has struggled with insomnia for years, some of the practices I maintain have helped her combat the problem.
Unlike is the standard approach to insomnia, I prefer to avoid prescription drugs and invasive procedures to get a good night's sleep. More importantly, I love my coffee, and I don't want to give up caffeine in order to get better sleep.
To get the best of both worlds, one needs a counterintuitive approach. Even if you've never heard of the methods outlined below, keep an open mind and try them out for yourself before writing them off.
These are a few of the methods I use to get a good night's sleep. Note that I still use stimulants to help fuel my professional life.
1. Blue Light
One of the biggest contributors to insomnia is artificial lighting from electronics. It's often a blue wavelength. When humans get blue light from technology, it tells our bodies it's daytime, even when it isn't.
This disrupts the brain's natural sleep cycle, which makes it nearly impossible to adjust and get a good night's sleep.
But these days, it isn't difficult to remove blue light at night. You can use blue-blocker sunglasses – prepare for weird looks – or you can install an app called Flux on your computer and phone.
It will do wonders for your sleep.
2. Nutrient Supplements
There are dozens of essential nutrients that we must consume every day, and magnesium is the one most of us are deficient in. My partner started taking her magnesium supplements at night – before bed – rather than in the morning.
It has helped her sleep both quicker and more efficiently. Beyond the nutrients in food, there are plenty of herbal teas to aid with sleep as well. In particular, kava kava, lemon balm and valerian root are great natural options that will put you to sleep without getting you addicted.
3. Hot And Cold Showers
You've probably heard about the old trick to have a warm bath in order to fall asleep. But combining both hot and cold water at the same time – although it seems counterintuitive – is even more effective.
Switching from cold and invigorating to warm and soothing water has the uncanny effect of improving sleep quality.
It might come with an added sense of energy initially, but by the time you get into bed and prepare for sleep, the body is ready to get some much needed rest.
4. Sleep Time
The human brain runs on light and dark cycles. Therefore, sleeping at the same time every single night makes a big difference.
Your body is an adaptive machine, and is constantly looking for habits to make life easier.
Sleeping at the same time every night isn't always easy, but try to do so as regularly as possible. You will most likely fall asleep immediately, instead of waiting for the brain to wind down.
Even if it takes some re-arranging, it will be worth it to try these methods in order to have a better night's sleep. Poor sleep not only feels terrible, but it is also one of the most harmful things for cognitive function.
Instead of giving up coffee or stimulants, just use these counterintuitive tips to combat your insomnia.