Chalk it up to being in my 30’s but I’ve recently recognized just how important getting a good night’s rest is to my health, productivity, and overall happiness.
When I’ve slept well, I’m happy, clear-headed, and motivated. I’m mentally quicker and just a general fucking joy to be around.
The story isn’t as cheery for people who are chronically lacking in sleep, though…
Chronic Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Depression, Weight Gain, Lower Testosterone & Sex Drive, and Mood Swings.
I can speak from experience that this is all true. If I’m not sleeping well, I have frequent headaches, body aches, a shitty attitude, and have zero desire to have sex/can’t get hard. Lame.
Until just a few weeks ago, I hadn’t gotten a full night’s rest in almost a year. (My average was closer to an inadequate 5-6 hours a night.)
I’m now effortlessly sleeping 8 beautiful hours a night.
I tried loads of common remedies for getting to sleep quickly: chamomile tea, meditation, essential oils, ear plugs, and even over-the-counter sleeping pills.
But, I’ve recently started using a crazy effective, all-natural four step process for getting to sleep quickly. Try all four steps for a week or so and watch as you teach your body to go to sleep effortlessly. (Chances are, you won’t need to do all of them, either!).
Drink Tart Cherry Juice
My Uber driver – a second year medical student, no less – told me about this gem of a sleep trick.
It turns out, cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin and tryptophan – two vital elements to a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
A recent sleep study at Louisiana State University found that two 8 oz. glasses of tart cherry juice helped participants sleep an average of 90 minutes more a night.
For me, the tart cherry juice flat out made me relaxed and ready to go to bed in about an hour or so.
You can get a 32 oz. bottle of good, organic tart cherry juice at most grocery stores for about $3. I usually go through 2 bottles a week.
I love this as a sleep aid: the juice tastes great and it helps gets the job done.
Take A Hot Epsom Salt Bath
Hot baths have long been a quick way to relax yourself and prepare for bed.
But, hot baths with epsom salt is some next-level shit. They’re a godsend for anyone who regularly lifts weights or has otherwise sore muscles and aching joints.
The reason why?
Epsom salt is highly concentrated magnesium. And, magnesium is well-known for it’s ability to heal joint pain, relax and repair muscles, and is considered a natural stress reliever.
Best absorbed topically (through the skin), a hot bath with a few cups of added epsom salt is about the quickest way to get a high dose of body relaxing magnesium.
If you can’t sleep, chances are you have some anixety pulsing through your veins – tightening your muscles and raising your resting heart rate. Epsom salt will relax your muscles and calm your ass down, so you can sleep properly.
A nice side benefit for the fellas is that healthy magnesium levels are a precursor for free testosterone production. So, coupled with frequent deadlifts and better rest, the regular epsom salt bath is going to boost your awesome manly hormones.
I add 2-3 cups to a hot bath and soak for 15-30 minutes, frequently adding more hot water. Add reading a book to the mix and you’ll find yourself supremely ready for bed in no time.
Important side note: Don’t drink epsom salt water (unless you’re constipated). Epsom salt is also a powerful laxative and it will give you diarrehea. I warned you.
Do A ‘Brain Dump’ Before You Go To Bed
If you’re having chronic sleep problems, you’re steeped in anxiety and your mind is constantly chattering while trying to fall asleep.
Some of these tips – like drinking tart cherry juice and taking a hot epsom salt bath – will help you physically relax. But, if your mind is still racing, you’re still going to have a restless night’s sleep.
As a Type A guy, this has been a big challenge for me in falling asleep.
I’m always thinking about what I did that day, what I have to do for work tomorrow, random ideas I have, and – worst of all – stressing out about stressing out.
To get around this, I take a few moments to myself and do some slow, deep belly breaths – this calms me and brings my mind back to the present moment.
Then, I grab my notebook and write three columns:
- “What do I have to do tomorrow/soon?”: This might be work-related, paying rent, meeting with a client, or writing a new post. Write it down and when it needs to be done. Then commit to yourself in the moment that it will be done.
- “What am I worried about?”: You might have pissed off your girlfriend, be concerned about an upcoming bill, or worrying about a work situation. Write it down, anything tangible you can do to fix it, and forgive yourself in the moment.
- “What ideas do I have?”: Dump all of your big creative ideas in this. Then, ask if you’re commited to making that idea happen. If so, write down when you’re going to attend to it. If not, fine – scratch it off the list, knowing that not every idea is worth pursuing.
If you’re a Type A or creative personality, there’s a damn good chance that this is a big reason why you can’t sleep at night.
Your awesome brain is teeming with ideas and they need to get out. Write them down and commit to what you’re going to do with them. This will leave a lot more space for relaxation and peace of mind in your otherwise crazy-ass brain.
Listen To The Most Relaxing Song Ever Written (Literally)
As a DJ of 20 years, this is by far my favorite step of the process…
I have a carefully curated Spotify playlist that I use to get to sleep every night. It’s over 1 hour of really mellow ambient, classical, and chilled out film score music.
(You can listen and follow the Spotify playlist by clicking the media player below.)
The best part of this playlist is that it contains – according to a recent neuroscience sleep study – the most relaxing song ever written, “Weightless” by Marconi Union. No fucking joke.
According to a recent study by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, listening to “Weightless” resulted in a 65 percent drop in participants’ anxiety levels and a 35 percent drop in their overall physiological states, including blood pressure and heart rate.
I put on the playlist and pipe it through my Bluetooth speakers as I start to wind down for the night. The relaxing melodies and chill atmospheres quickly calm my body and soothe my mind, preparing me for a great night’s rest.
The Keys To Great Sleep
Put bluntly, you’re useless without a good night’s rest.
Chronic lack of sleep can cause you to get sick easier, have an inability to focus, ruin your sex drive, cause low-grade depression, and put you in a generally shitty mood.
If you consistently can’t get to sleep easily, know that there are all-natural ways that you can quickly relax and fall into a deeply restful sleep.
Start by having a glass of melatonin-boosting cherry juice and a relaxing hot epsom salt bath. Follow this up with doing a ‘brain dump’ of all the day’s worries, taking your mind off of any unfinished business. And, finally, listen to chill ambient music while you deeply fall asleep.
It’s really that easy and that natural. Hell, it worked for me – a borderline insomniac.
Now, go get some sleep. You’ve got work in the morning.
Peace & Charisma,
Dalton K. Finney