1. Mental Focus, Concentration, and Productivity.
2. Blood Sugar Control. Pre-diabetes and diabetes.
3. Optimal Growth Hormone and Testosterone. Muscle repair and sexual health.
4. Cortisol Control. Stress and fat control.
5. Immune System Health.
6. Appetite and Caloric Consumption. Appetite and satiation hormones altered. Sugar and calorie cravings.
7. Mood and Ability to Socialize.
8. Inflammation. This affects the whole body. But heavily studied side effects of sleep deprivation include impacts on the cardiovascular system including: heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and stroke.
Ways to Improve Sleep
1. Get into a routine and go to bed early.
2. Have a wind down routine before bed. Do not do anything overly stimulating. Read or have an epsom salt bath before bed. Listen to guided meditation, white noise, or even try listening to ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) relaxing audio recordings.
3. Do not eat within 2-3 hours before bedtime.
4. Make sure you are exposed to Sun throughout the day.
5. Exercise every day. Usually the earlier the better.
6. Avoid caffeine late in the day.
7. Avoid heavy alcohol consumption.
8. Try natural herbal sleep aids including: valerian root, chamomile, lavender, kava, passionflower, lemon balm, and theanine. If insomnia is severe, maybe even consider vaping medical marijuana occasionally.
9. Try sleep supplements including: magnesium (glycinate form is best - 200-400mg), zinc (15-30mg), tryptophan (consult naturopath or pharmacist for dosage), 5HTP ((consult naturopath or pharmacist for dosage), melatonin (many studies show smaller doses ~1mg are more effective so start low and experiment),
10. Have foods and drinks that may help promote/induce sleep. Exampes include: warm milk with pepper and turmeric, tart cherry juice,
11. Relax. Meditate and get massages or even try going to a float tank.
12. Make a daily or weekly to do list, highlighting your priorities.
13. Shut off electronics (especially blue screens) at least 1 hour before bedtime. If this is not possible try wearing blue-blocking sunglasses.
14. Avoid arguments before bed.
15. Have sex or masturbate regularly before bed.
16. Try deep diaphragm breathing techniques ("4-7-8" method - inhale for count of four seconds, hold for seven, and exhale for eight) and progressive muscle relaxation (contract/relax method) while in bed.
17. Try to control medical conditions that may be interferring with your sleep. These conditions may include: injuries or diseases causing pain, acid reflux, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disease.
18. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and clutter-free.
19. Make sure none of your current medications could be causing your insomnia. If so, ask your doctor how you can remedy it.
20. Avoid prescription sleep aids. These do not help you get natural sleep. They disturb the sleep cycle. In the long run sedatives are dangerous and addictive. Withdrawal from them can be dangerous and horrific with worse insomnia and severe anxiety... not to forget potential seizures and even death. They also cause to lack of blood flow to the brain and subsequent damage when used long term (look up studies on benzodiazepines including Ativan/lorazepam). Anxiolytics, hypnotics, sedatives, anti-psychotics, and over the counter sleep aids are all not great options to combat insomnia and sleep problems.
21. Get a sleep study and blood test to find out possible causes of inadequate sleep.
Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A.(Kinesiology), P.T.S.