For at least half an hour before bed, try to avoid bright lights. This includes the lights coming from your TV, computer, strong office lights etc. Dim the lights at home or in an office and dim the screen on your PC or Mac at night. Don’t stare on your cell phone, TV or tablet until you have dimed the lights. Even as little as 5 minutes white light from a screen shuts off your melatonin production for hours and can ruin the quality of your sleep. The best is to avoid screens in the evening entirely.
When we are watching violent TV programs or movies it can make it harder for you to relax and go to sleep. Violence stimulates a part of your brain that then starts to look for threats. When you are trying to go to sleep it will be harder to get out of this fight or flight mode. Deep breathing and meditation can help to reduce this effects.
It is better to avoid exercise for 2 hours before you go to bed, unless it is restorative yoga and breathing exercises. Exercise is highly energizing, and the body starts to produce cortisol that will interfere with your sleep.
Avoid drinking caffeine after 2pm or at least 8 hours before bedtime. Some people need more than 8 hours free from caffeine and others may even have to give up caffeine totally to sleep better. Instead drink herbal teas, warm vegetable drinks and broths if you want something warm.
There is a window between about 10.30 to 11pm when you naturally get tired. If you don’t go to sleep at this time, you will get a cortisol driven “second wind” that can keep you awake until 2am. You also get better sleep and rest when you go to sleep before 11pm. You wake up feeling more rested than what you would, if you had gotten the same amount of sleep starting later.
Drink warm water with raw honey and apple cider vinegar
This drink makes you very relaxed. Warm up water, blend in 1 tblsp of raw honey and 2tblsp of raw apple cider vinegar. Mix and drink 20 to 30 minutes before sleep.
Hot Shower or Hot bath
Sometimes a simple bedtime routine can make wonders. To start this routine with a warm shower or bath to wash of the stress and energy of the day and put on comfortable clothing can be just what you need to sleep better.
Foot bath with apple cider vinegar and lavender essential oil
If you rather make a foot bath, you can mix apple cider vinegar and some drops of lavender essential oil and sit for 5-10 minutes while listening to relaxing music, or doing deep breathing.
Calm down and support your sleep with deep breathing
Practicing Pranayama before bed can make you sleep better. Deep breathing puts your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) to rest and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode).
Breath in on an account of 5, then hold for 10 and then breath out for 10 then hold for 5 with breath out. Repeat 5 to 10 times. When you hold your breath, is should be easy. If 10 counts strain your breath then do less counts in, less holding and less breathing out, for example 3, 6, 6….
Then practice Nadi Shuddhi, the nostril breath for 3-4 minutes.
This will calm your breath, heart and mind. Instructions for Nadi Shoddi here www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz1zSrDkREM
Supplement your sleep
Magnesium should be taken before bedtime. Choose the best forms of magnesium that are malate, citrate, aspartate and others ending “-ate”.
Gaba is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, that your brain uses to shut itself down and helps to induce sleep. Use GABA in times of stress and when you have difficulties falling asleep. Gaba also raises the levels of Human growth hormone and have anti aging effects. Take separate from any protein source.
Melatonin is a potent hormone and antioxidant that your body produce itself if you get real darkness and enough sleep. Occasionally you can supplement with melatonin to help your sleep. Works good when you are travelling and sleeping in places that you are not used to sleep. You can also use it occasionally when you need to “power sleep”. For more regular use you can take 400 mcg. (just part of the pill) When you have a jetlag or in another more challenging situation you can use the 1-3mg that you usually find the supplement in.
Vitamin D can affect sleep and create sleep disorders. This is an important supplement since most of us are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D should not be taken at night though, since it is inversely related to the melatonin levels and can disrupt your sleep. Instead take 1000 IU units per 25 pounds body weight. Do know even better how much you should take you can monitor your vitamin D levels with blood tests every 6 months.
It is beneficial to take your omega 3 fatty acid supplement, preferably Krill Oil, before going to sleep. Take 1g with dinner or at bedtime.
Hydrolysed grass-fed collagen peptide, is an easy digestible protein helping with muscle repair during sleep. Take 1-2 tblsp mixed in a warm tea in the evening. You can also mix in the MCT oil in the drink, and give the body the extra fat (energy) to break down the protein during night. Blending the mixture will make it taste better. You can use a tsp of honey or xylitol to sweeten.
Another option is to use grass fed cold pressed whey protein. This kind of protein also raises the glutathione levels. Glutathione helps your liver to remove toxins from the liver, a job that can interfere with sleep.
Example of frothy warm evening drink with protein and fat.
1 cup herbal tea, non-caffeinated tea.
1 tblsp MCT oil or high-quality coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1 tblsp hydrolyzed collagen
1 tsp raw honey or Xylitol to sweeten
½ tsp curcuma (optional)
Blend in a high-speed blender. Enjoy immediately.
Information about supplementation and sleep comes from Dave Aspreys book "The Bulletproof Diet".