T Nation

Advice on Natural Sleep Aids


#1

Sleep has been a huge factor in recovery for me but I have times when it’s hard for me to unwind and get to sleep. Occasionally I will take a unisom tablet which really knocks me out but I don’t want to make it a habit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

thank you

Sorry I think I posted this in the wrong section.


#2

I don’t lift in the evenings anymore because I’ve found it complete wrecks my sleep. Especially lower body days. If you train at night I would suggest training around noon if possible or in the morning.

I also take ZMA and an iodine supplement before bedtime every night and it does help, but what I said above was the biggest thing for me.

I’ve also found carbs at night help me sleep, but again that’s had a much smaller impact than changing my lifting schedule.


#3

Eliminate caffeine completely


#4

Sleep training, if you have the ability to control your schedule.

Develop a schedule to be asleep. I have a pre-sleep sort of ritual/schedule that begins at about 10:30 and ends drifting off into sleep at 11:30. Lights out, turn down the TV, a little snack (I get hungry when I sleep?), turn down the temperature, a little diaphragmatic breathing, etc. and by the time the news is over my eyes are closing.

It takes time and consistency, but once ingrained its a pretty durable habit.


#5

If you’re a coffee drinker, drink in the morning, not in the middle of the day. I also do yoga and meditation - really helps me a lot. Try it. If there’s no way I can’t sleep, I just take melatonin. :slight_smile:


#6

Here’s what works for me:

  1. I take Biotests ZMZ about one hour before bed.

  2. I never do any kind of exercise be it lifting or cardio after 2 PM. That gives your body a full 8 to 9 hours before bedtime.

  3. I don’t eat any protein after dinner. Protein has an amino acid in it called tyrosine which can act as a stimulant in many people.

  4. I don’t take my work to bed with me. That means that I will either solve the problems of the day, or I will write down notes about those problems and leave them on my lap top and not take them to bed with me.

  5. Before bedtime I consume foods with tryptophan in them as that is a calming amino acid. Foods like dairy products, peanuts, sunflower seeds and others.

Some people are unable to shut off their logical mind so it keeps running causing them to deal with the next days challenges, or that days problems while lying in bed. I’m sure that you’ve heard of counting sheep. This works because it is more or less a nonsensical thought which automatically shuts off the logical part of your brain. I do something similar I picture beautiful blue skies, or a picturesque farm scene, sale boats on the water, imagine myself lying on the beach and listening to the ocean waves. You get the idea. It is relaxing and at the same time it shuts down the part of the brain that wants to deal with business issues.

The quality of your sleep is directly related to the quality of your life. Make sure you get 8 hours of sleep per night it is one key to good health and a long life!

I hope this information helps.

Zeb


#7

Do you know any good tutorial on diapragmatic breathing? I tried to learn it few times but never found any good description.


#8

I had a lot of problems with falling a sleep. I could stay awake 2h. I started to meditate before sleep and now I’m able to fall a sleep probably under 10m. My current problem is that I often wake up to early and can’t go to sleep again (even when I try to meditate).


#9

Put your hands over your belly and inhale through your nose. Don’t inhale to expand our chest, inhale to push into your hands.

I don’t know of any tutorials. I was taught this in person to learn how to brace for squats and dead lifts. Its the same thing.

Takes maybe a couple of minutes to get the hang of it.


#10

I would say eliminate caffeine at night, but I had a cup (third of the day) recently at 8pm and slept like a baby all night. Conversely, I’ve had days with one only cup in the morning and ended up tossing and turning all night. Maybe that’s just me.

One thing I do without fail is take ZMA. If freaky, vivid dreams are a sign of restful sleep, then ZMA works.


#11

5-10 mg melatonin and 500mg-1g L-Theanine…Goodnight.