Sleep is not for the weak and you cannot just sleep when you are dead. Sleep is a foundational piece to living a full, happy, long life. In this modern world it is so easy to get crappy sleep because of the unknown stressors present. It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50-70 million Americans of all ages and socioeconomic classes. We can both relate to these individuals as we both dealt with sleeping issues (at a young age) and always experimenting with different ways to optimize sleep. Even if you are someone who has decent sleep already, many of the solutions discussed below can help improve and enhance your sleep quality.
Let’s get right into the biggest reasons why everyone’s sleep continues to suffer. Educating and becoming aware of our mistakes and stress-causing habits is step #1. Second, we have to take action on the solutions to stop the leak and fix the root cause of our issues. The more anti-stressful habits and solutions you are able to stack together, the better effect they will have on overall sleep quality.
Reason #1: Too Much Stimulation/Artificial Light Before Bed
Whether it’s playing video games, on the cell phone, laptops, watching tv, or around a lot of bright lights, these all create a stress response within the body. Being around fluorescents and LEDs shut down melatonin production and increased your body’s cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones). How many nights have you stayed up way too late, been looking at bright screens, etc?? This has been building up for years and slowly deteriorates the body just like you would be adding diesel in a car that needs gasoline. These stressors cause the body to catabolize tissues for the production of sugar. One of the tissues that is first to go is your thymus. This makes you vulnerable to pathogens.
- Download Iristech.co software for computers to block artificial night at the times of the day when the sun is not out.
- Use blue blocking glasses (use Nathan to save 10%) 1-2 hours before bed and during the day if you have to be on a computer.
- Change lights to incandescent bulbs and red lights around the environment.
- Update your phone with a red light filter (watch the video here).
Reason #2: Not Enough Sunlight/Red Light
The Sun is the biggest emitter of natural frequencies that our body uses to turn on its internal clock and wake up every cell. Sunlight in the morning activates a special enzyme in the body called Cytochrome C Oxidase, that is vital for creating cellular energy (blue artificial light destroys that enzyme).
- Make it a lifestyle habit of getting 20-30 minutes daily sunlight (even cracking windows in the car or opening windows at home is great!)
- Invest in a Gembared Light (use Consciouslift to save $$) to supplement the sun on days you cannot get outside (we like to use it before bed, during meals or first thing in the morning).
Reason #3: Too Much Hydration/Alcohol
Drinking too many liquids or alcohol can be a stress to the body. If you are going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it is usually a sign of overhydration or a sluggish metabolism/thyroid. Read our blog post diving deeper into how to speed up the metabolic rate. Avoid drinking too many liquids/alcohol before bed and instead try having 2-4 tsps of raw honey.
- Focus on hydration from milk (avoid soy and plant milk), fresh juices, broth, and opt for half your body weight in ounces (total) from liquids.
- Consume alcohol in moderation and opt for organic sulfite-free wine, organic vodka/tequila and always pair it with sugar. No more than 2-4 drinks/week is what we recommend.
Reason #4: Deficient in Magnesium
Dr. Carolyn Dean talks about in her book (Magnesium Miracle) how insomnia can be relieved with proper magnesium supplementation relieves the muscle tension that can prevent restful sleep. Also, sleep-regulating melatonin pathway production is disturbed without sufficient magnesium. Twitchy, restless, tense muscles keep us from falling into a deep sleep. Tight muscles make you hyper alert and irritable, and in that condition any noise or even an active dream will wake you up. Magnesium relaxes tight, twitchy muscles so you can reach a deeper level of sleep.
Check out our blog post discussing more in detail about Magnesium.
- Transdermally soak in a magnesium chloride bath (1-2x/week)
- Spray 25-50 magnesium chloride sprays daily
- Make your own magnesium bicarbonate water or invest in magnesium bicarbonate to take orally.
Reason #5: Eating too Many Stress Causing Foods & Not Enough Anti-Stressful Foods
When we eat foods that continually cause a stress reaction inside the body, we have to mobilize energy which slowly deteriorates our metabolism and thryoid. Keeping metabolism high and thyroid function up are important to get our body into deep, restful sleep. The top stress-causing foods include, PUFA, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, raw green veggies, oatmeal, bagels, cereals, protein bars, granola, chips, candy, cakes, pastries, etc. You can read more in detail here about stress causing foods vs anti-stressful foods.
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking up
- Have a protein and carb with every meal/snack
- Get adequate protein from animals with two eyes (grassfed dairy, gelatin, pasture-raised eggs, wild caught shellfish, low fat white fish, wild game/red meat). We recommend 70g/day (females) & 100g/day (males)
- Read through the blog post for more anti-stressful habits on nutrition.
Reason #6: Breathing Improperly
How you breathe throughout the day & night indicates whether your body is in a relaxed or stressed state. Breathing through the mouth is normal during intense exercise or activities. Think of your body being in 5th or 6th gear, during this time, as if it were a car. Now when we catch ourselves breathing through the mouth at rest or sitting down, this is a sign that your body is not in the proper gear, instead it’s in overdrive while we are doing nothing! When we train our body to breathe through the nose, this allows our physiology to return to a relaxed, regenerative, and repaired state.
- Example technique: Breathe as little breaths per minute as possible for 5-10 minutes. For example, 5s in, 5s hold, 10s out, 10s hold would be 30s for one breath. This would equate to 2 breaths per minute, which is a great level of achievement. We recommend 2-6 breaths per minute. Try to keep that going for the total duration (5-10 min) is the goal.
Reason #7: You Aren’t Trigger Pointing & Have Bad Posture
Every function to the human body can be affected by having poor posture and dehydrated muscles, because of the nervous system being in our spine. When our spine becomes misaglined through all areas of stress, this inhibits the bodies ability to get deep, regenerative sleep. You can take all the herbs, drugs, meds, and supplements you want, but if you do not begin addressing your actual foundation of a human which is to stand, then you will continue chasing symptoms.
- Download our trigger point guide already if you haven’t (front page of our website at the bottom). We recommend doing 20-40 minutes before bed if you have trouble sleeping. Follow our instagram account @mitigatestress and @colonna_fitness for more tips and vids there.
- Invest in our Foundational Fitness Program – Phase 1 where we go more in detail on what efficient/deficient postures look like & how to start fixing it.
Check out our blog post talking more in detail on posture and gait cycle
Download our free trigger point guide where we teach and educate more in depth on the basics of rebuilding a foundation to health, while mitigating many unknown stressors that could be present in your current lifestyle. Follow us on Instagram: Lamannafitness and Colonna_Fitness, Youtube: Mitigatestress.com & Mitigate Stress 2.0 where we constantly provide more in-depth content for visual learners.
If you have seen value in this article, schedule a FREE stress consultation on the front page of our website or donate down below. At the very least, share this article and our mission with anyone in your close circle that can benefit from becoming the best versions of themselves.
Nick & Nathan