in

I’m Exhausted. How Can I get Better Sleep?

Are you facing Nights without quality Sleep?

I am married to the founder of the Carolina Hemp Hut stores. The stores are NC Cannabis stores that specialize in holistic health and healing. I get interesting updates from the team at the stores. They see hundreds of customers in the stores on a weekly basis. Many are new, plus many are our ‘regulars’. With nearly every customer we hear about the symptoms and ailments they have. One of the most common ailments we hear about is lack of quality sleep.

I can readily say, “I understand” as so many of us have had those days (rather, nights) when we wish we could have had better sleep.

Around 35 to 49 % of the US adult population have problems falling asleep or have daytime sleepiness. 

Mobile Devices and Insomnia: Understanding Risks and Benefits

 

I have had issues in my past with sleeplessness. Some days, like the day before a big event, I completely understand my lack of sleep – I am wired with excitement. However, over the years I’ve discovered a lot more impacts my sleep quality than ever before.

Your daily habits contribute to your sleep quality. This is often overlooked by us since we assume sleep is just a normal part of the day. For those of us who have issues with it, we often turn to medical sources for quick fix.

Getting to sleep
Getting to Sleep naturally is a goal for everyone

Over the Counter Medications

Many people facing bouts of insomnia turn to pharmaceutical solutions, typically starting with over the counter (OTC) drugs such as Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). It is a fact that most people do not realize that the common active ingredient in most OTC sleep aids is the same active ingredient in the most popular antihistamine. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in 2017 officially recommended against treating chronic insomnia with common over-the-counter antihistamine and analgesic sleep aids.

Over the Counter sleep aids may help for a while

Melatonin is another popular OTC treatment for insomnia. While this is effective with most people over the short term, long term use may not be as effective. Some people note that they avoid melatonin because it causes vivid dreams. The most likely reason for this is that melatonin induces the body to release vasotocin, a protein that regulates REM sleep. When higher levels of melatonin boost higher levels of vasotocin, it may lead to more REM sleep and more dreams. Other than short term insomnia, melatonin has also been found to be a major contributor to natural immunity against diseases and illness.

Studies have shown that long term use of melatonin as an aid against chronic insomnia may be problematic. More studies are needed. In the interim, taking small amounts of melatonin as a boost to sleep has been effective for many. For most people, a trace amount of melatonin is all that is needed to improve sleep since your body’s own pineal gland produces melatonin naturally as part of the circadian rhythm. This means that the melatonin based gummies that you often find in the drug and grocery stores are typically a waste of money as the inexpensive USP-graded melatonin supplements are typically more practical.

“We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality,” says Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. , medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital

Your body naturally adjusts to changes in the environment over time. For optimum health, however, it is best to make the adjustments gradual. This is why developing a routine for your activities, especially evening and sleep-time activities, is advantageous.

Be sure to include physical activity such as walking, jogging or similar in your programmed routine. Your body is a machine and it requires work through exercise to get all the parts functioning more effectively. So many of us who are couch potatoes may wonder why we relax all day yet cannot sleep well at night.

I mentioned the circadian rhythm. In case you have heard of the term but did not really understand what it means, this simple explanation will be perfect for you. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. One of the most important and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. Think about your smart device or PC: You can set up times to perform tasks such as back up or shut down. These scheduled events are typically part of a 24-hr cycle. Example: Perform backup of documents at 9pm daily.

Circadian Rhythm is a 24 hour cycle followed by your body

Since you can train your smart device to do things on a schedule, it is also possible to do this with your body.

Here are several suggestions I have compiled that have direct impact on the quality and length of sleep. If you are able to follow all of these, you should find more restful periods during your sleep cycle in addition to less sleeplessness overall. 

  1. Reduce your use of LED and electronic devices after dark or use a strong Blue Light filter on the devices. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24156294/
  2. Keep your last meal of the evening (including snacks) as close to sunset as possible. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bed.
  3. Use a reasonable dose of CBD (may couple with CBN if extra boost is needed) to reduce discomfort from anxiety which may hinder sleep quality. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30624194/
  4. Keep a stricter sleep schedule. Target 8+ hours of sleep nightly. Start a Pre-Sleep routine to help the schedule “stick”.
  5. Remove light sources and distractions from sleep.
  6. Be more physical during the day. As many people age, they reduce their level of physical activity. There is a direct correlation with sleep and overall daily activity.

Many of us are increasing the amount of inflammation in our bodies as we are not sleeping enough to allow your natural healing process to work completely. Targeting optimal sleep is a great first step in any health oriented goal setting. Take the time to keep a journal, at least until you develop the habit of healthy sleep practices, of you wake time, sleep time, foods eaten and times of meals, plus activities. You may find that you are inadvertantly cheating on your goals of better sleep by engaging in harmful activities, such as screen time before bed.

Drop a note to me if have discovered this sleep advice to work for you. I have had dozens of customers at our stores report back with their own sleep/health discoveries based upon these suggestions.

David Carter
Follow

What do you think?

Written by David Carter

David P Carter is a Cancer fighter, SCUBA enthusiast, Public Speaker, small business consultant and entrepreneur. He is a serial entrepreneur and is always researching and learning to grow skills to share with others in his blogs and in speeches. He's the co-founder of five cannabis related businesses and stresses "Healing, not the High" as the primary reason for researching and writing about Cannabis, Plant-based nutrition, and Staying Positive. He is a Ziglar Certified Legacy Trainer and provides motivational and instructional speaking events across the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Setting Goals and Reaching them

Screw Resolutions: Making Goals and Keeping Them

Cooking Tips for Women and Men

For Men (and Women): 5 Tips to Improve Your Cooking Skills