Sleep and insomnia - tips and tricks?

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
I've been having a hard time with sleep recently. What tips, tricks, secrets and strategies would you fine gentlefolk recommend for when quality sleep is hard to come by?
 

crazycanuck

Level 8 Valued Member
A lot of trial and error! Caveat: I don't always follow my own advice ;)

Do you have trouble falling asleep in the first place, or do you wake up and cannot get back to sleep???

Typical recommendations would be:

-no caffeine within 8 hrs of going to bed, avoiding screens/blue light within 1-2 h of going to bed. NO screens in the bedroom (too tempting to look at it in the middle of the night) or leave the cellphone-turned-alarm-clock across the room.

-if you are lucky enough to not do shiftwork, try to go to bed at near the same time every night, get up at approx the same time everyday, even on the weekend. If you are a shiftworker, keep that schedule you are on, on your days off, if possible eg: stay up late/sleep in a bit like your work rotation.

-some sort of a wind down routine after you turn screens off like dim lights, read a bit, a bath, some stretches or yoga, set up the coffee pot for the morning, make your work lunch. Something to signal your body that it's"time for bed". Just like we did with our babies/toddlers/young children and their baths and stories!

-find your own ideal bedroom ambiance .... temperature, covers, etc. Dark as you can with curtains, or....I use this every night and find it amazing, especially if I have to sleep a fair bit into the day (shiftworker in healthcare here)....it does not come off or shift and is a nice soothing gentle pressure on the face, I've never ripped it off in the night:


-calming the mind down...meditation, counting breaths, doing a brain dump on paper before bed.

-if you wake up in the night, don't look at the clock and notice what time it is, or it may stress you out. Just lay there and "rest", if you can't fall back asleep, get up and do something quiet like read in dim lighting (out of the bedroom...bed for sleeping and sex/intimacy only, no association of the bed with being wide awake in it)....when tired, go back to bed. This article is interesting....how way back when waking in the night was "normal" and people did not always freak out about it. The way society is set up now, it makes sleeping like this a bit more challenging:


-have never tried it, but there are some CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) books out there people can work through to help, or even therapists.


like I said, I always don't follow my own advice and kick myself the next day when I don't. Like my own personal "I told you so!"

It would be up to you and a doctor, but one thing I would say is whatever you do, try to use prescription sleep aids (those really strong ones like lorazepam, Zoplicone, etc) as a LAST LAST LAST resort. I have doled out way too many of them to people who have been on them for YEARS, and have extreme difficulty getting off of them (if ever), it is said that some of them give you an "amnesia" of sorts, versus a true cycling of REM/ non-REM sleep patterns, leading to long term effects.

good luck! I know all to well sometimes how it sucks to not sleep.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
I've had success with melatonin and GABA. I've also found that if I drink coffee regular enough it helps me be less sensitive to simulants that would otherwise keep me awake. Also, if I train too late in the day it keeps me up; if I train in the morning I sleep better.

Couldn't say if it's your volume or not depending on what % those loads are for you. Maybe try calculating your sessions using intensity number of lifts (INOL) to see where you're at daily and weekly. Attached is a pdf if you're not familiar with INOL.
 

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SteveR

Level 2 Valued Member
I recently found this interview on Geoff Neupert's site that had some info on sleep that was helpful to me.


One of the topics discussed was sleep and how the brain takes cues from light or lack of light to turn off and on the production of natural melatonin that makes us sleepy.

My takeaway was use light to wake up your brain when you need to be awake. Best is natural light, even better is get outside. And then reduce the light a few hours before sleep time which includes shutting down the lights from phones/computers. Otherwise the brain thinks the sun is still up and its still time to be awake.

You've probably seen/heard that before like I have but that interview motivated me to actually try to get some physical activity outside everyday. Even if it is just 30 minutes outside and I think it has enhanced my sleep quality.
 
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Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Over training
Blue light after sunset
Caffeine, people very 10 fold in their ability to clear caffeine from system
Electronics in bedroom.
Late night carbs, insulin spike wakes you up.
Late night content, Doom Eternal on Nightmare level etc.
Supps that could help, Mag,Zinc, 5-HTP, lavender oil, epsom salt bath ( which is mag )
US Military technique for falling asleep in 2 minutes.
Morning sunlight on closed eyes, no sunglasses ( circadian clock setup )
Get blackout shades
Consistent wake sleep cycles
A good bed
Sleep temp 65-68 F
Box breathing, many variations, 4 inhale,4 hold,4 exhale, 4 pause. 6 inhale,2 hold,6 exhale, etc.
Mouth taping and opposite nostril breathing.
Proper hydration.

I practice the above list and others ( forgot? ) as a general rule.
If I'm over training I will wake up several times during the night regardless.
Anna looked at your logs and assessed over training. Good bet. Start there.
 

rwleonard

Level 6 Valued Member
FWIW: Two things have made a huge difference for me. The first was adding 1-3 easy rucks per week. The other is not trying to go to sleep until I feel sleepy, i.e., starting to nod off a bit.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
I've had success with melatonin and GABA. I've also found that if I drink coffee regular enough it helps me be less sensitive to simulants that would otherwise keep me awake. Also, if I train too late in the day it keeps me up; if I train in the morning I sleep better.

Couldn't say if it's your volume or not depending on what % those loads are for you. Maybe try calculating your sessions using intensity number of lifts (INOL) to see where you're at daily and weekly. Attached is a pdf if you're not familiar with INOL.
Thanks for the PDF! This could be really useful as it seems I'm having to do something of a balancing act between the mental health boost and the physical repercussions of training almost daily. I'll be interested to see what sort of numbers these formulae will yield.

Great advice all round, everyone. Thank you!
 

Timmer C

Level 5 Valued Member
When my head touches the pillow, I no longer identify with my thoughts and I no longer try to follow my thoughts. (This non-identification with thoughts turns up in zen meditation, but even if one has no interest in meditation, it is useful for falling asleep.

I don’t try to fall asleep, but I allow myself to be taken by sleep.
 

Blake Nelson

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I seem to benefit from AM training and sun exposure. High-quality mornings lead to high-quality evenings.
 

frederickk

Level 2 Valued Member
I try not to use any gadgets or at least have night mode when I'm already about to sleep. I also downloaded a meditation app. Probably won't matter which... in my experience some of them have per-recorded guides that will help you prepare your mind and body for good sleep. Reading something boring might also do the trick.
 
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