Sunday, December 9, 2012

3 Simple Steps to Falling Asleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT
Let me preface this by saying that, like many things in life, this will only work if you want it to. If you are not willing to create a simple habit & follow it EVERY SINGLE DAY, there is no reason to read on.
I was an insomniac for 33 years. When I tell you that I maybe slept 1/3 of the nights of an 'ordinary person', it is not an exaggeration. I had to take the maximum prescribable dose of Xanax to get any sleep over the course of 10 years. I was born with an overactive mind that would not shut down.. but instead would keep spinning, thinking of all the things I did, and thinking of what I could have done.. thinking about all the things I was going to do, and how they could go wrong.. I told myself that this was the only way to be prepared, and not repeat my mistakes. I knew that being present felt better, but thought that I would lose my control if I stopped. Here's the thing.. if you are like me, no matter how hard you push to be present, we WILL NEVER STOP THINKING OF THE FUTURE and have our lives float adrift!
Without further delay, here are the 3 simple steps. You can ignore the stuff in brackets like this {}, that info is for those who want to take it a step further. The only thing you will need is some melatonin (natural supplement - 100 tablets should only cost $5 at your local supermarket/drugstore).

1) Turn off the electronics.
Ever wonder why it seems so much easier to fall asleep when you're camping? Even if you don't believe that all the cell signals, WiFi, electric cables, etc affect us, disturbing our peace… what do you have to lose?  If you are like me, and have trouble sleeping without TV {try to transition to some music (so you don’t force your eyes to stay open), or failing that} set the timer on your TV to turn off an hour after lying down. Most importantly, KEEP THE SCREEN AWAY FROM YOU. Move your TV far enough away so that it doesn't fully command your attention. If you watch on a laptop, set up a table off of the bed to place it on. Keeping the TV on while you sleep disturbs your REM cycle, making it harder to train your body to sleep at a certain time. {For even better results, try substituting a magazine for the TV, I find it hard not to yawn with most of them. {If you want to hedge your bets, move as many electronics away from your sleeping area as possible}.

2) Keep a constant amount of melatonin in your body.
Most people have the wrong idea about Melatonin. It is not a natural sleeping pill. Taking too much (only 3mg at a time maximum) will actually have the opposite effect, keeping you awake. We naturally have Melatonin in our bodies - which get depleted with all the exposure to those electronics from step 1. Keeping the right amount in our bodies around the clock will strengthen our Circadian Rhythm, making us sleep deeper at night and be more alert during the day. TAKE ONE 3MG TABLET AN HOUR BEFORE you want to be asleep, and place a second on by the bed. If you are like most of us, you will wake up at least once early in the morning / LATE AT NIGHT. THIS IS WHEN YOU TAKE THE SECOND ONE. So if you took the first one at 10pm, and the second at 5am, you are insuring a good amount stays in your system around the clock. There is no need to buy the top of the shelf here, unlike most supplements, the run-of-the-mill stuff from the supermarket works just fine. {If you want to keep your levels perfectly balanced, take a half dose (1-2mg) around lunch time}.

3) Lay down at the same time every night.
This doesn't have to be exact, but we are creating a habit for your body, so this is crucial. This was a big one for me because it required modifying my social behavior. On the weekends I liked to stay out all night. Just employ some moderation here, and be realistic. If you aren’t going to be home by 10 on the weekends, set your time to 11 or 12, just set a time that you think you can keep during the week and weekends. Remember, even if the time is later than you might like during the week, bear in mind that 6hrs every night beats 10hrs twice a week. Ideally, shut everything off (from step 2) two hours before bed. Give yourself a set time to stop... So don't expect to get home from socializing or working like mad, and then go to sleep in 15 minutes. You may still be able to do that, but this is about creating a full-proof habit, right? EVEN IF YOU DONT FEEL TIRED, LIE DOWN AND SHUT YOUR EYES. As soon as our bodies are trained, our minds might tell us we are awake, but given the chance (even momentarily), our body will take over. {If you want an even more powerful rhythm, go to sleep as close as you can to the daylight cycle. Our bodies are trained to sleep with the dark and rise with the light naturally; going with this rhythm is very powerful}.

This might seem like a lot, but once you set yourself up, it really only takes a small adjustment to your life. Ritual here is everything. Adding items to your ritual (like brushing your teeth or taking a shower) at the same time re-enforces the pattern.

More than anything, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Forgive yourself the mistakes of the day, and do not expect perfection. If you don't set unreasonable expectations, and then beat yourself up over failure, you will find it easier not to lose patience and give up. Stick with it, this will work for you too.

- Ari Vinograd
Chief Executive Officer
Wise Choice Health, Inc

PS - If you are interested, our natural, herbal foot pads help with sleep as well, you can read about that HERE.

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