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How To Hack Your Sleep, Beat Insomnia & Get Into A Deep Sleep Phase As Fast As Possible

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insomnia natural remedies

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly had times in my life when I simply couldn’t sleep.

And it’s extremely disturbing when you can’t sleep. It can be especially frustrating if your partner is sleeping soundly while you’re tossing and turning, or when you know you have an important day of work or a workout the next day and you know you’re going to be too tired, or when you’re extremely sleepy, but you just can’t get your darn brain to shut down.

Sometimes this kind of insomnia happens because there’s too many thoughts going through your head from work…

…other times insomnia happens because you’re worried or anxious about a life or relationship situation…

…and sometimes insomnia can be purely biological, such as you being hungry, or having a neurotransmitter imbalance, or being over trained from too much exercise or not producing enough melatonin.

In today’s article, I’m going to tell you what you need to know about the important biology of sleep, give you a video that explains your circadian rhythm in detail, and then tell you how to hack your sleep, beat insomnia, and get into a deep sleep phase as fast as possible.

Why Lack Of Sleep Matters

No matter the cause, insomnia and lack of sleep can cause some serious health and performance issues, as you learn in this anecdote from the Become Superhuman article “Improve Your Performance…Sleep“, which explains that when you get less than 6 hours of sleep, it:

…weakens your immune system (and for athletes, getting sick = less training or poor training).

…leads to obesity. Recent studies have shown that even one night of poor sleep can result in changes in appetite and food intake. Sleep deprivation also impairs carbohydrate tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and glucose uptake. When glucose uptake is inhibited, you aren’t able to refuel before, during, and after your workouts.

…causes intellectual decline. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts short-term and working memory, long-term memory and the generation of nerve cells – all of which affects our ability to think clearly and function well.

…raises inflammation. Sleep deprivation causes chronic, low-grade inflammation. Inflammation is the root of all modern disease and severely inhibits the bodies’ ability to repair muscles, tissue, and tendon damage.

…increases risk of injury: When you don’t get enough sleep your motor responses are dulled, this leads to bad form, inefficient neuromuscular patterns and injury.

And I believe it was Paleo author Robb Wolf who I once heard sum up the importance of sleep like this:

“If you want to kill somebody fast, deprive them of sleep.”

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What A Normal Circadian Rhythm Looks Like

So if you don’t want to die faster, or you just want a more restful, better night’s sleep, it’s important for you to understand the basics of your circadian rhythm. On the website http://www.SuperhumanCoach.com, you can get a free 7 part video series that reveals little-known tips and tricks to enhance your performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, mental performance, hormonal balance, and sleep.

Below is a video from the Superhuman series that explains what a normal circadian rhythm looks like, and teaches you why some of the suggestions I’m going to give you below the video actually work.

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My Top Recommendations For Getting A Better Night’s Sleep

Now that you understand how your circadian rhythm works, it’s time to get into a bit of “sleep hacking”. The following sleep recommendations, insomnia natural remedies, and sleep supplements are taken from my “Ben Recommends” page and explained in more detail below…

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Using Sounds for Better Sleep

In Podcast Episode 213, I mention a homemade sleep audio playlist that I made, which has been very successful in helping me sleep, especially when I’m hyped up from work or on an airplane. Basically, what I did was the following:

I bought this 99 cents album, which is a 2:00:00 track:

“3 Hz Binaural Pure Sine Delta Wave And Rain For Deep Sleep”

And then I put 4 of those tracks above (for a total of 8 hours) on an iTunes playlist which started with this free 20 minute relaxation podcast track I downloaded from iTunes:

“ZZZZZZ – Stin Meditation Station Fitness & Nutrition”

And that’s it!

If you do this, what you’ll end up with is 20 minutes of meditation and relaxation that then goes straight into 8 hours of delta waves (and you can learn how delta waves help you sleep in this podcast I did with Jeffrey Thompsons from the Neuroacoustics Institute).

So what are some other ways you can use sounds to help you sleep better?

-use the PZizz iPhone app to create “binaural beats” (read about how those kind of beats work here). I’ve found this works really well for short naps, but not so well for long nights, and you need to use them about 5-10 times in a row before you brain gets “trained”.

-use a White Noise app for sleeping loud settings (if you’re sleeping where dogs are barking, kids are crying, trains, sirens, airplanes/airports, etc.).

-use something like the Dream Essentials contoured face mask with fitted ear plugs to block light and sound altogether.

-Get the “The Delta Effect” CD’s/mp3 downloads to play as relaxing background to lull you to sleep in your bedroom.

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Using Supplements for Better Sleep

There are a variety of supplements that can be used to enhance sleep. These require some degree of self-experimentation, because some work for some people and some don’t.

This is because insomnia, light sleep, or trouble getting to sleep can be so dependent on a variety of factors – such as neurotransmitter balance, mineral deficiencies, leptin insensitivity, melatonin secretion, etc. (this stuff gets  bit complex for this post, but if you’re a personal trainer, nutritionist, chiropractor, or physical therapist who wants to learn more, we geek out on this for nearly 2 hours in the Superhuman Sleep Module that I teach to my private mentorship group).

Here are some of my favorite insomnia natural remedies and sleep supplements:

-400-500mg potassium citrate combined with 400-500mg Natural Calm magnesium (use this 30-60 minutes prior to bed, and back off if you get loose stool!). If magnesium upsets your stomach, listen to this podcast about which magnesium is best.

-2-3 tablespoons MCT Oil or coconut oil 30-60 minutes prior to bed. This works well if appetite cravings keep you awake, but you don’t want an insulin spike from carbohydrates or protein.

-MillenniumSports Somnidren GH (can be very effective, but you must use this on an empty stomach, 30-60 minutes prior to bed, and you have to cycle it as 5 days on, 2 days off so you stay sensitive to it).

-Hammer REM caps (use 15% referral code 80244 at http://www.HammerNutrition.com) – a source of valerian root and melatonin that can be especially effective when traveling. Take 60 minutes before bed because if the surge of melatonin hits your bloodstream while you’re sleeping it can wake you back up.

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Using Gear, Apps & Tools for Better Sleep

From enhancing your relaxing Delta brain wave production to decreasing the ability of artificial light to suppress melatonin release, the following sleep gear, tools and apps can help beat insomnia or give you deeper sleep:

-Install “Flux” app on computer so your screen dims blue light at night

-Wear blue light blocking glasses, especially for evening computer use. I recommend Gunnar glasses because they look cooler than most of the others.

-Install low blue light bulbs as a replacement for regular bulbs in your house, and put a blue light blocker screen on your computer or television.

-Use Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy for enhancing deep sleep cycles (I highly recommend the EarthPulse and swear by it for naps, long deep sleep and travel).

-Use a light box such as NatureBright Sun Touch for morning light therapy, and click here to learn about what time of day is best to use a light box.

-In the winter or season when it is dark in the morning, use a Sunrise Alarm Clock for waking and “rebooting” your circadian rhythm.

-If traveling, use a grounding mat or grounding bedspread (stand on for 20 minutes and use in bed at night after arriving at destination) or go outside barefoot in the morning whenever you are travelling outside your normal time zone).

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Tracking Your Sleep

To see if you’re actually sleeping as much as you think you might be (you’d be surprised at how little you might be sleeping, even if you’re lying in bed for 8 hours), or to see how the supplements or tools listed above affect your sleep, you can track your sleep cycle using the tools below:

-Zeo Personal Sleep Coach system

-Fitbit wireless tracking device

-Or a more affordable alternative to either of the methods listed above: SleepTime app by Azumio

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Additional Sleep Learning Resources

There are a few other helpful articles that you should read for more insomnia natural remedies and to help you get a better night’s sleep, including:

-How To Cure Insomnnia With Acupuncture (a recent article that appeared on the Bulletproof Exec’s website)

-How To Sleep Better (a podcast interview I did about Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy and sleep)

-Improve Your Performance…Sleep (an article from Superhuman Coach that links sleep and performance)

What about you? Have you ever had insomnia? Have you found good insomnia natural remedies? Do you have questions about how to hack your sleep, beat insomnia and get into a deep sleep phase as fast as possible? Leave your thoughts below.

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35 Responses to “How To Hack Your Sleep, Beat Insomnia & Get Into A Deep Sleep Phase As Fast As Possible”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Hey Ben. 4 am in Seattle and I couldn’t be happier to find this post. Just wanted to let you know that the 2nd podcast link you posted (from your playlist) comes up as ‘not available in the US’ when I click on the link. Maybe there’s a different link to use?

  2. TM says:

    Ben, are there any tricks to helping yourself go back to sleep in the early hours? I consistently wake up between 3:00-4:30 am 5 times a week.

  3. Marius says:

    Ben,
    Does EarthPulse help with keeping one asleep longer ? Do you use it every daily ? They advertise that it does big things at cellular level. I'm skeptical. Please provide more details based on you're experience with it.

  4. Kelcey says:

    Ben, when I tried to download “ZZZZZZ – Stin Meditation Station Fitness & Nutrition” from iTunes, it says it is not available in the US store . . . any suggestions?

  5. Brent says:

    Ben,

    one additional question about the earthpulse, do I need to buy one for both my wife and I or will one machine work for both of us?

  6. Ordering the Gunner glasses right away. Do you use them or know people that use them.

  7. alan says:

    i listened to the jeffery thompson podcast and remember him saying that you HAD too use the CD to get the effect, that converting it to mp3 condensed the sound waves (or something) and eliminated the intended effect. is your playlist idea working under the assumption that something is better than nothing, is this a different technology or did i just miss the boat here?

  8. [...] … natural sleep remedies – Google Blog Search Posted in Natural Sleep Remedies | Tags: #remedies, Insomnia, [...]

  9. cathy says:

    Awesome post Ben! Just what I needed. I was speaking to a neurologist just the other day about insomnia. He said I should get an LED lightbox b/c they are the strongest and would work best. The one you recommend is not LED. Have you heard this?

  10. Tony says:

    Ben, I've been listening to your podcast, and in one episode (I can't remember which one), I heard you mention you were considering purchasing a new bed mattress, and mentioned a "sleep-number) type air-mattress, but it was customizable for heat, cool, etc. Does this ring a bell? What company was it that you were looking at for the new bed? My wife and I currently have a memory foam type bed and are looking for something new.

  11. Kirk Anderson says:

    I use the Gunnar glasses and don't stop watching TV or using my computer until right before bed. Is this wrong? Thanks! I was under the impression that wearing the glasses negated the "bad" light effects of TV, computers etc. and wasn't messing up my melatonin levels.

  12. Quoc Ngo says:

    This is a great post that summarizes many points you've hit on through past podcasts. For the "using sounds for better sleep" does a soundtrack that is just Delta waves (deep sleep) have an adverse affect on a normal sleep cycle going in and out of deep/REM/light sleep since REM (Theta) and light sleep are different frequencies?

  13. cathy says:

    Well I didn't ask for specifics- he is actually on the team of neurologists that found the concept of blue light and it's effect on melatonin. I took him for his word!

  14. cathy says:

    Ben, I'm confused by the eating recommendation. You say to eat first thing in the morning to assist your circadian rhythm, but you also talk about eating later in the morning for a better overnight fast. Am I just confusing things?

    • If your circadian rhythm is “messed up” (usually due to leptin insensitivity) then eating first thing is a good idea. It's a good idea for kids too, or anyone who needs a metabolic “adjustment”. I know that this stuff can be confusing, but the ultimate answer is that it highly depends on the person.

  15. [...] If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to sleep better, leave them below the post, and if you find this information helpful, you may also want to check out the article “How To Hack Your Sleep, Beat Insomnia & Get Into A Deep Sleep Phase As Fast As Possible&#…. [...]

  16. maggiebb says:

    The Rem pills are magic.. but can one use them long term .. or are they for short term use ?

  17. pozsycho says:

    I am a light sleeper that the slightest noise can disturb my sleep. Hopefully I can find something in the resources you've provided to help me get better sleeping time.

  18. […] in anderen Blogs, die aus einer ähnlichen Ecke kommen, wird es öfters genannt (Bulletproof Exec, Ben Greenfield und Mark Sisson. Im Endeffekt handelt es sich dabei auch um […]

  19. […] The following link will take you to a post by Ben Greenfield that covers a lot of tips for getting quality sleep. It’s well worth the read. Click the following link to view the post BETTER SLEEP […]

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