Insomniacs: This is every sleep hack you need to know

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I think you guys already know where I’m going with this: I suck at sleeping. I lay awake in bed, staring at a ceiling. I close my eyes and try to rest my mind, only to have it consumed with my anxieties, my to-do lists. Oh, shoot, I totally forgot to answer that email...

...and the next thing you know, I’m on the couch in the living room, working with a BIG cup of coffee until the sun comes up.

Or something else happens. I’ll be desperately tired, begging my body to take a chill pill and fall asleep, only to wake up two hours later. My body will beg me to rest, to fall back asleep. But my mind will refuse. And I’ll lay there for hours, in a half-comatose state, until I finally drift off 15 minutes before my alarm goes off.

It’s hell. And it’s hellishly common for tons of people.

Earlier this week, I begged you all to send me your tips on Instagram. ANYTHING, I begged you guys. And you MORE than delivered. You sent me so many incredible tips & tricks. And a few of you even sent me emails. For that, I’m forever thankful.

In this infinitely faster moving world, I don’t want to lose these pieces of advice, these tips, tricks and remedies.So I’m saving them in this post. For you, for me. For us. And I’m hoping that whenever you have insomnia, you might find this helpful as well.

xx phoebe


WAYS TO COMBAT YOUR INSOMNIA

...that don't include sleeping pills

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by our glands that regulates sleep and wakefulness – when it spikes, we're super sleepy. When we wake up, it begins to fall.

But taking it in supplement form can help a lot of people with sleep. Some of you swear by taking 5 mg, but one of you said 15+mg combined with a wicked boring book (here, here). Full transparency, it barely works for me. But Maxim swears by it and LOVES taking these sleepy chocolates. 

Anti-anxiety medication

So if you have anxiety, you’re probably already on a prescription for some sort of anti anxiety medication. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of insomnia is anxiety. We feel anxious — worried about a big board meeting, a never ending to-do list, a sick relative — and our mind holds us hostage like a zombie.

Cannabis and Hemp Oil

Honestly, though, this shouldn’t be a stigma anymore since it works so well so many people. There’s a new company — Not Pot — that makes mini chocolates that you’re supposed to pop once a day to help with anxiety. Their calming effects, which build up over time, have been reported to help soothe insomniacs into a more regular sleep.

Camping

According to my crunchy granola college friends, camping resets your circadian rhythm, helping you fall asleep and get on a more regular sleep schedule (see here, here, here). It has to do with the natural light, and waking up with the natural rhythm of the Earth. It might sound odd, but there's a ton of research to back it up.

Routine bedtimes

Magnesium

I've heard this one a lot, and I actually kind of swear by it too. Magnesium supplements help calm your body down — aka it will help you fall asleep. (see here) I add a little bit of Natural Calm to my water every day. It's like a natural Xanax. But they warn if you're not used to it and take too much in the morning/middle of the day, you might get drowsy or fall asleep, 

Cut the caffeine

LOL. I will not be doing this. But I appreciate it and I bet if you had the guts to do it, it would be totally life-changing. 

Essential oils

There is a ton of research to back up essential oils being food for sleeping, especially when it comes to lavendar. See here, I swear by this roller ball and this roller ball for nighttime routines. 

Ashwagandha & Valerian Tea. 

According to The Chopra Center, Ashwagandha plant — more commonly known as Indian Ginseng — contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. Studies show their abilities to help regular stress and regulate your sleep cycle. Buy it as a tea (here, here) as a powder mixed with milk, or as a tablet.  You can also look at Valerian tea — It is one of those "ancient remedies" that people have always sworn by. Valerian tea is created from the root of the valerien plant. My favorite has been Natural Medicinal's Bedtime tea.

Warm milk

Local DC #bossbabe and friend, Kallie Seniff talked to me about her struggles with insomnia. And honestly, though, it was super relatable. One thing she talked about (and many others have) is a big, warm cup of a mylk concoction called a "golden milk latte." I've tried this on many a night, and it's REALLY helped me. 

No screens & Reading a book

Meditation & Nighttime yoga

A lot of yogis swear by a couple poses to help sway your body into a more restful state. In personal experiences. Some of my favorite move HERE. 

Raw Honey

Apparently Tim Ferris SWEARS by this for sleep. I’m not a fan of Tim Ferris, but that seems to be an unpopular opinion.

Cut the nighttime carbs

So Katie Marshall, an incredible nutritionist and dietician in DC (check her out!) suggested this to me. She said that if you’re eating a super heavy meal — esp. one with slow to digest grains and carbs — it can be difficult to digest, causing insomnia.

I have a very slow metabolism (tmi: I poop like once every two days), which made me think that this could definitely be attributed. Plus, I oftentimes wake up in the morning feeling sluggish and bloated like I’ve just eaten.