Sleep Hack One

sleep
Photo credit: theboxmag.com

I’m planning on starting my “sleep hack” in earnest this coming Monday evening. It will involve some dedication and significant changes in my after supper schedule and habits.

There are a number of supplements and other products that will go into this “hack”. I should mention that I already take “wife recommended” supplements every morning as I’ve previously written about. The only other morning supplement I didn’t mention and only take occasionally, is something called Eliminator I produced by Herbs That Work.

Sorry for the lack of web information, but a Google search for the product and company produces nothing. The product bottle says it’s made exclusively for HERF LLC in Phoenix, AZ.

I only mention it because it’s just about the best method I’ve found for dealing with (ahem) constipation. I find that increasing protein in my diet tends to, over time, make “elimination” a rather difficult chore. Three or four tablets of Eliminator I takes care of that problem rather effectively (although taking four sometimes results in rather frequent trips to the loo).

I learned of it when my wife got me involved with an alternate health practitioner for various types of cleansing several years ago. Although I don’t see Leslie or her staff anymore, I suspect she is still the source of the eliminator product, since I can’t figure out any other way my wife could be buying it or even locating it.

However that has nothing to do with my upcoming sleep hack. I just wanted to explain that digestive and bowel health (yeah, not the most appealing of topics) is really important to your overall being.

Anyway…

After consulting with her chiropractor (and who knows who else?), my long-suffering wife has recommended three different products to me.

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon 16 oz. It’s basically magnesium and is intended to be taken, dissolved into a glass of water, near bedtime to reduce stress and naturally introduce a calming influence.

77% of the reviews on Amazon are 5 star, so over three-fourths of the folks willing to write about it are highly favorable. I haven’t actually started using this yet, although I have in the past, and I will reserve judgment until my sleep hack is in full swing.

Interestingly enough, one of the recent 5 star reviews says, “Helps me sleep. I also take it to ward off calf cramps.” My muscle cramps in my calves and feet come with all too frequent regularity, usually when I stretching upon awakening or even when I’m putting on my socks. If this product helps reduce those cramps, I’m all over it.

sleep hacks
Image credit: Bulletproof.com

5-HTP. It’s supposed to raise blood serotonin which helps control appetite and also produces relaxation. However, according to some comments made in an article at Bulletproof.com, it may not be all that effective or even particularly safe over the long haul.

ʎǝɹdsɐ ǝʌɐp Frasier Linde • 2 years ago
I’m torn on this. 5htp raises blood serotonin higher than normal; tryptophan does not. But some newer studies show 5-htp works and is safe. There are new genetic tests too showing that if you have some SNPs you can convert 5htp but not tryptophan.
3 • Reply•Share ›
Avatar
replete ʎǝɹdsɐ ǝʌɐp • 2 years ago
…because you shouldn’t supplement 5-HTP long term due to

1) Risk of heart valve damage, due to serotonin that didn’t cross the BBB: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21440001

2) Dopamine depletion over time with extended use (leading one to feel depressed): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415362/

3) Side effects such as feeling sleepy, muscle twitches etc

You can take EGCG to help the 5-HTP cross the BBB before becoming serotonin.

I’ve agreed to take the contents of the bottle as directed (also in the evening) to see if it’ll help. After that, we’ll see.

Xymogen’s RelaxMax. This is also a relaxant but it’s also supposed to address stress hormones produced by working out. This, I’m supposed to take after exercising and again in the evening. Lots of positive reviews for this product, too. Interesting because although there are reviews for it on Amazon, you can’t buy it there. My wife got it through her chiropractor and says it’s pretty pricey.

In taking all of these products, if the relaxation is cumulative, I should be a limp noodle by the time I go to bed.

Other Hacks

sleep induction mat
Photo credit: Bulletproof.com

My wife bought Bulletproof.com’s Sleep Induction Mat for herself and has also encouraged me to use it. It’s a little like trying to rest for 20 minutes on a bed of nails…well, a bunch of plastic pointy things on a flexible mat. The idea is that they apply pressure on reflexology points on the bare back. Do this for 20 minutes, and your body is supposed to be stimulated into a state of deep relaxation.

So far, I don’t think I’ve experienced this. Oh, I fall asleep, but I don’t stay that way.

Additional hacks include staying away from computers, tablets, or other similar screens and the light they produce an hour or two before going to bed. I’ve heard this before from a number of sources, including Scientific American.

That leads into a different hack, one designed to address my itching skin, which occurs frequently, when I can’t sleep. Taking a bath in water with baking soda dissolved in it. My wife prefers epsom salts, but when I looked that up, salt makes you itch more, not less. Baking soda is supposed to help stop the itching as promoted by sources from Livestrong to The Health Site. The trick is to take a lukewarm bath, not a hot one, since hot water promotes drying out of the skin and itching.

Too bad. I love a good hot bath to ease sore muscles. On the other hand, I can only stand being in a hot bath for about 20 minutes before it seems too hot. I like reading a regular book (no electronics near water) while in the bath, which is another way to ease the activity of the brain.

Numerous sources state that alcohol and sleep don’t mix, so no beer, wine, or mixed drinks if I expect the hack to work as planned. That has the added benefit of not having the calories from a weekend beer or two hanging around my gut.

Sleeping in a room with no light helps, as does keeping the room a bit cool. Low light signals the brain to relax and go into sleep mode, and a cooler room temperature also is a trigger to reduce body and brain activity.

I know I’m throwing a ton of variables into the hack all at once. It would be more scientific to try one for a week to see if it was effective, then add another, and so on.

On the other hand, based on what I wrote about the Sleepy Weightlifter recently, attacking my sleep difficulties aggressively may yield wanted results sooner, helping me perform better at the gym as well as more effectively promoting weight (fat) loss.

Happily, I seem to be back on the right part of the weight loss trail as of this morning:

Body Weight Upon Awakening:

190.1 lbs/ ~86.22 kg/ ~13.57 stone

Height (for reference):

snatch deadlift
Photo credit: crossfittidalwave.com

6′ 2 3/4″ or 74.75 inches/1.89865 meters or 189.865 cm

It’s Sunday so that means complete rest from the gym. Of course, I did chores both inside the house and out in the yard, so it’s not like I’ve been totally inactive.

Tomorrow morning, I start Week 3 of Round 2 of my mutant strength training. Then, after I tell you all about it in tomorrow’s blog post, I’ll approach the first night of my sleep hack.

Wish me luck.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

Erma Bombeck

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Sleep Hack One

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s