Biohacking your Sleep Part I: Natural Sleep Remedies
WHY NATURAL SLEEP SUPPLEMENTS
→ Why to avoid traditional sleeping pills
→ Natural Sleep Remedies: a three-step approach to replacing sleeping pills
→ Natural sleep remedies vs. traditional sleeping pills
Natural remedies help you drill beyond the surface level fix of prescription drugs to solve your sleeping problems.
Traditional sleeping pills used to be the only answer to force start your sleep; however, science has now shown that any relief you get from pills is only momentary. All sleeping pills carry a range of eventual dependency and withdrawal issues, such as day-time drowsiness, migraines, memory problems, and even rebound insomnia. So, before turning to prescription sleeping pills, it’s best to try natural remedies first. These remedies are organic and easy to find, such as chamomile tea or using red-hued light bulbs, that help feel relaxed and regain a regular sleep schedule naturally. Natural remedies help you drill beyond the surface level fix of prescription drugs to solve your sleeping problems before prematurely using pills to deal with a false self-diagnosis of insomnia. I’ll present you with several research proven natural remedies to restore your body’s natural mechanism.
Natural Sleep Remedies
Now that you have been prepped on why natural remedies are the better option, here’s an easy to follow guide on how to incorporate these easy solutions into your routine. Below, I’ve created a three-phased guide that biohacks your sleep to; enter your sleep cycle naturally quicker, maintain your sleep progress longer, and maximizes your productivity due to restorative sleep.
1. Fall Asleep Faster
The following is a checklist of natural sleep supplements to take in the evening before going to bed to kick your body into sleep mode quicker:
Why? Fish oil contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid that helps your body secrete the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, helps lower your body’s levels of stress hormones that would otherwise interfere with you falling asleep.
How? Take 1 gram of any fish oil you prefer with your dinner or by itself right before bedtime.
Why? High-fat meals have long been associated with inducing sleepiness because the digestion process of carbohydrates releases amino acids called tryptophan into your bloodstream which eventually enters your brain. In the brain, tryptophan will then be covered into serotonin, which you know now will lower stress levels and allow you to feel sleepy.
How? Eat clean fats like avocados, salmon, nuts grass-fed butter, or coconut oil.
Why? Chamomile tea contains the flavonoid apigenin, a natural plant product that gives chamomile gentle sedative properties. When you drink the tea, the apigenin in chamomile binds to your brain’s receptors to quiet your mind and calm your body.
How? Drink a single cup of chamomile every evening anytime before bed.
2. Staying Asleep Longer
The following is a checklist of natural environmental biohacks to incorporate into your bedroom to create the perfect setting that will keep your body asleep until morning:
Sleep Induction Mats
Why? Sleep induction mats are acupressure mats made for the purpose of helping you stay asleep. The mat strategically presses on various pressure points along your body as you sleep to relax your muscles and, as a result, keep you in deep sleep.
How? Buy a mat made of nontoxic or organic cotton with large and powerful acupressure points.
Turn on a red light bulb throughout the evening and during bedtime
Why? The color of the lighting around you signals to your body’s internal clock whether it’s time to sleep or be active. Before the rise of technology, this process was more simple as your body would simply use the light from the sun and moon to determine what time it is. However, with things like ceiling lights, street lamps, and screens all around us, we now have to do a little biohacking to reassure our bodies that it is actually time to sleep. We can do this by exposing yourself to a room with red and warm lighting as it simulates the sunset and, as a result, encourages your body to maintain a lowered cortisol and increased melatonin level to keep you asleep.
How can I? Switch a light bulb to a tinted one. We recommend purchasing the Philips Hue light bulbs. However, if these bulbs are too expensive, you can also buy a more affordable red bulb or color changing LED strips off from Amazon and even IKEA to use around your bed which allows you to set the lighting to red.
No blue light throughout the evening until morning
Why? Similar to how red lights simulate a sunset, blue lights simulate daylight. Exposure to blue light encourages your body to restore higher cortisol and lower melatonin levels to keep you awake during the day. Therefore, to stay asleep, it is advised to eliminate blue light as it avoids causing your body failure to enter deep sleep or even fully wake up out of confusion of what time it is.
How? In addition to using specially colored bulbs, another very important way to avoid blue light is to avoid using your computer, mobile phone, or television throughout your evening before going to bed or setting it on night mode which sets the tone to a warmer shade. The screens on these devices project images using light from the blue side of the light spectrum and, thus, will mess with your internal clock. If you must use these screens in the evenings, filter out blue spectrum light by going into your settings and using night shift on Apple devices, blue light filter on Samsung products, night light on Google technology, and night mode on other android phones and laptops.
3. Natural supplements
The following is a checklist of natural supplements that work to take before going to bed so your body has the proper tools to help you not only fall asleep but get a deeper rest helping you wake up fully refreshed.
Shields the body from stress
and the resulting low cellular energy.
Dose: 600 to 800 mg a day
Time to Take: Evening before bed
Helps induce sleepiness and relaxation.
Dose: 100 mg a day (form to pick: Suntheanine)
Time to Take: Evening before bed
An inhibitory neurotransmitter,
helping your brain shut itself down
Dose: 2,500 mg a day
Time to Take: Right before bed
Maximizes magnesium’s effects
Dose: 100 to 200 mg a day
Time to Take: Right before bed
Sleeping pills can be helpful when used sparingly in short-term events like your body adjusting to traveling to different time zones or recovering from an intense medical procedure.
Sleeping Pills as Another Option
Even though natural remedies should be your first route, it should be mentioned that sleeping pills do not need to be totally avoided. Sleeping pills can be helpful when used sparingly in short-term events like your body adjusting to traveling to different time zones or recovering from an intense medical procedure. Emphasis on “sparingly” and “short-term”. These pills should only be used in truly needed situations and never be used long-term unless you wish to develop symptoms such as drowsiness, dependency, or rebound insomnia.
Natural sleep remedies vs. traditional sleeping pills
We understand that there may still be some concerns running through your mind that need answers before you can trade in your sleeping pills for natural sleep supplements and remedies. Below are clearer comparisons of sleeping pills versus natural sleeping pills that will help alleviate your worry about making the change.
1.) Natural sleep supplements vs. Chemical sleeping pills?
Sleeping Pills: These pills chemically hold your body and brain sleep captive until they wear off. For this reason, only use sleeping pills for unique situations like traveling abroad or recovering from surgery when your brain needs to be forced shut for its own good.
Natural Sleep Supplements: Natural remedies organically increase your body’s natural chemicals to simply guide your body towards a sleeping state. Once in the state, your body still has full control over itself to wake up when it finds it best to do so.
2.) How long does it take sleeping pills and natural sleep supplements to kick in?
Sleeping Pills: The following is a list how long the most popular sleeping pills stay in the system of users:
- Ambient takes for 30 minutes
- Dalmane takes between 15 to 45 minutes
- Halcion takes between 10 to 15 minutes
- Lunesta takes between 45 minutes to just over an hour
That said, the longer you take sleeping pills, the more tolerant your body becomes to the sleeping pills’ effects. It will gradually take longer for the pills to kick in as well as require a higher dosage.
Natural Sleep Supplements: As natural remedies, these sleep supplements will take around 15 to 30 minutes to kick your body into sleep. This time frame is the average time humans take to fall asleep completely naturally. Sleeping pills induce sleep around the same amount of time but with the additional degenerate qualities over time.
Why Are Natural Sleep Supplements Better?
Hopefully, you’re already convinced that there are risks in taking sleeping pills and it is not a long-term solution but rather a quick fix. Yes, it may temporarily stop your problem, but it can never fix it and can often lead to even more problems than when you began. Natural sleep supplements, on the other hand, solve your sleeping problem at the source by fixing the quality of your sleep instead of just delaying solving the problem. Sleeping pill companies make and promote their products solely on the basis of inducing your sleep for 6 to 8 hours a night. The following is a short list of popular sleeping pills and how long they stay in your system:
- Ambient lasts up to 8 hours
- Dalmane lasts up to between 7 to 8 hours
- Halcion lasts up to 6 hours
- Lunesta lasts up to 6 hours but takes 24 to 48 hours to completely leave your body
The pills are engineered to overpower your body’s natural chemistry and hold you in a sleeping trance until it expires hours later. However, these sleeping pills never address the reasons for you needing to take the pills in the first place. It just knocks you out and jolts you awake regardless if your body had made its proper preparations to do so, making you feel groggy the next day and worsening your problem no matter how many hours you slept.
Natural sleep supplements, on the other hand, focus more on the quality of your sleep rather than the quantity of hours you are in it. Natural remedies function by adjusting the levels of your body’s natural sleeping hormones to influence your natural sleep cycle. The natural remedies lower your body’s levels of dopamine, cortisol, and serenity (hormones to stay alert) as well as raise your levels of melatonin and serotonin ( sleep inducing hormones). Your body will naturally regulate its hormone levels and reset itself when exposed to sunlight as it will sense that it is reaching the end of its 24 hour internal clock (shown below). At the end of it all, the purpose of natural sleeping pills is to not only get you more sleep but resetting your internal clock and allow your sleep to properly do its job to help you perform faster, longer, and better when you wake up.
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