Insomnia is a condition characterized by excessive sleep irregularities. People who suffer from insomnia are unable to sleep, have trouble staying asleep, or wake up to early. Although many people suffer from this condition, few actually seek medical assistance for it, since they are not aware of the health risks associated with sleep dysfunction.
According to the CDC, sleeping disorders are a major health epidemic, and are linked to many major auto, industrial, and medical accidents. And prolonged sleep dysfunction can even lead to cardiovascular disease, resulting in early mortality.
I suffer from insomnia. It unfortunately runs in my family, as both my brother and my father have this affliction as well. It has nothing to do with us being stressed or not tired- we just can’t seem to fall asleep. This is
So, while searching for solutions to getting a solid night’s sleep and trying to help others who also suffer from insomnia, I tried many different solutions. I also measured the results.
As it turns out, all my testing paid off. I can now say that I’m completely insomnia free. However, to rid yourself of insomnia, you have to be asking the right questions, which will in turn allow you to properly nail down any sleeping issues you may have.
What Is Good Sleep?
Is good sleep simply a matter of how long you’re at rest? If you’ve ever felt tired after sleeping too much, you’re probably aware that things aren’t that simple. A better question would be: what is poor sleep quality? Obviously, waking up feeling bad probably means you didn’t have a good night’s rest. But a more thorough analysis tells us that there are many other subtle signs of a bad night’s sleep. Here’s a quick list to give you an idea:
- Taking a very long time to fall asleep
- Waking up often
- Waking up before the alarm rings and not being able to go back to sleep
Additionally, a lot of my problems came from being unable to measure my sleep quality. Sure, I was able to record what I want to bed and what time I woke up, but I was unable to pinpoint the exact time I fell asleep, let alone what happened while I was actually asleep. This lead me to the conclusion that I should be studying and recording my sleeping patterns as thoroughly as possible. That’s when I decided to try out a sleeping test.
However, while there are many laboratories that will perform sleeping tests (polysomnograms) on you while you sleep, you will generally have a mess of wires attached to you to measure important vital signs like brain activity, rapid eye movement, and respiration/heart rhythm. This can make it quite difficult to fall asleep, especially if you’re in a strange laboratory. This generally makes the data gathered from these tests pretty inaccurate, and you often find yourself crashing during your second or third day since you effectively pulled an all nighter during your first round of testing, which results in even more bad data.
Indeed, you would need a pocket-sized laboratory to be able to accurately and unobtrusively measure your sleep. However, sleep tracking isn’t the only thing that can help you better understand and eliminate insomnia. Here is a quick rundown of my findings.
Focus On Increasing Your REM Sleep
Generally speaking, the percentage of rapid eye movement sleep you get each night will directly correlate to how restful your night’s sleep was. Additionality, adequate REM sleep has been linked with increased memory and information retention.
Try Some Huperzia Serrata
Huperzia Serrata is an herbal extract that reduces the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters, chief among them being Acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is released in large quantities during REM sleep, and having low levels of this neurotransmitter can result in poor sleep quality.
Keep The Body Temperature Around 68 – 71 Degrees
Keeping your body temperature between a certain range can help you fall asleep faster. Since, the body attempts to cool itself when you are lying down to sleep, avid using an overly warm blanket. Try starting with a sheet first and add layers until you are comfortable but not overly warm. I have found that sleeping with a sheet and keeping the temperature as low as 65 degrees helped me fall asleep much quicker.
Consider A Sleep Tracker
Thanks to many new technological advances, it is now possible to correlate and quantify your sleep in your own home.
While not quite pocket-sized, sleep trackers are standalone devices that allow you to measure and quantify your sleeping metrics. Typically they will pair with a smart phone app and allow you to dig down deep into your sleeping data. During my research, I tested several such devices. Here are 3 of my favorites.
This is a solid all-around sleep tracker that can record many environmental factors about your sleeping location. The sense can keep track of your bedrooms temperature, overall noise level, ambient light, humidity, and even air quality.
Focus On Diet
Diet can be a contributing factor to many different chronic conditions, and this is also true in the case of insomnia. I have found that consuming a protein and fat rich meal about 3 hours before bed produced an almost tranquilizer like effect on me. This is due to the simple fact that the body has to work harder to digest a heavier meal (hence the reason most people generally feel sluggish after a big meal).
Insomnia can be a difficult condition to cure. It may take many years of diet and lifestyle changes to overcome this affliction. Luckily, tracking your progress is now easier than ever and doesn’t require expensive laboratory equipment to do so.
About The Author – Adrian Oaks is a health fanatic and enjoys writing about different gadgets and supplements. If you are looking for more advice about sleeping, take a look at this article on sleep tracking.