Feel better, be more productive
| By Christina DesMarais
| Inc. – I’ve always been a light sleeper but as I’ve aged bedtime has become increasingly problematic.
Without good rest, I’ve experienced countless days of impaired cognition, reduced productivity, emotional volatility and generally feeling like crap. Since he hit his late 40s my husband began suffering from sleeplessness, as well.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
1. You may need to wear earplugs
Barking dogs, traffic noise, loud neighbors and most commonly, a snoring partner, will drive an insomniac batty. Help yourself by wearing earplugs.
Personally, I wear the screw-in type because the regular foam ones always feel like they’re falling out, which I use as an excuse to remain awake. I also buy the kind with a string between the two plugs, which simply makes it easier to not misplace them.
You need blackout curtains or blinds in your bedroom
In case you’re not aware, light is the enemy of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, light activates a nerve pathway from your eye to your brain’s hypothalamus where a thing called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) stimulates other parts of the brain which raise body temperature and set off stimulating hormones including cortisol.
The SCN also shuts down the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
2. You need to wear a good eye mask
Even if your windows are blacked out, you should cover your eyes while sleeping. Because I know how much light wreaks havoc with sleep, I even wear my eye mask to the bathroom in the middle of night, only letting in enough light so I don’t trip and kill myself. Yes, I know this is weird and probably unsafe but I believe it helps. The best eye mask I’ve found is the Dream Sleeper mask.
3. Certain dietary and mineral supplements can help
Important disclaimer: Do not take any of these without consulting a health care provider, which I am not. I certainly don’t know your unique physiological issues or whatever other medications you’re taking which could pose a problem.
That said, here are several dietary and mineral supplements worth researching and discussing with your health care provider:
- GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) (550 mg)
- L-Theanine (200 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (10 mg, as Pyridoxine HCl)
- Melatonin (5 mg)
- Lithium Orotate (5 mg)
- Phosphatidyl Serine (300 mg)