There is now a multibillion dollar industry entirely built around sleep. There is even a magical phrase attached to it that strikes fear into those people who feel tired all the time and need a label: sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene is the concept of improving sleep by way of addressing several factors that can prove to be deleterious to restful sleeping. Caffeine, screen time, excitatory stimulation, stress...the list goes on.
This is such a binary approach to sleep. You're either awake or you're asleep--and if you can't sleep, these are the reasons why. Oh, and consider buying our sleep aid for the low price of $49.99.
Like everything else with the human body, it isn't that simple. It never is. And you should save your money.
What if I told you that your problem isn't sleeping or even getting to sleep? That all those "boogeymen," like screen time and caffeine and watching 300 before bed weren't so much the problems as symptoms? Because, to be honest, people want so desperately to believe they have all these issues that they never stop to consider that lifestyle probably is at the root of their problem, but not in the way they think or in the way they are being told.
Sleep hygiene somehow became the new gluten intolerance, and everyone wants to be Gwyneth Paltrow. It's like 2007 all over again, but nobody cares if you're tired when you announce it while ordering your dinner.
So instead of channeling your inner Gwynnie, try channeling your inner George Carlin. He had a joke that "no one jumps out of bed in the morning and starts vacuuming." The context might be different, but it's mostly true; I'd go one better and say, "No one finishes vacuuming and jumps right into bed."
Not if they want to sleep well, that is.
And that's the key. Find time to transition from sleep to wakefulness in the morning and find time to transition back again at night. Your problem isn't being able to get to sleep--your problem is not sending the correct signals to your body to let it know it's time to sleep. Basically, you suck at communicating your intent to your central nervous system.
No supplement is going to override that. Some pharmaceuticals will, but come with a heavy health cost. The solution is actually--believe it or not--free and doesn't require you to buy anything at all or join some exclusive mailing list, and that solution is meditation.
I probably lost half of you right there. That's the half that will keep using pills or unproven supplements to accomplish what five minutes of meditation would have facilitated, all without the associated health risks. The half that are left? Well, thanks for staying. I will try to keep this short.
Wake up, meditate. Meditate again before you try to go to sleep. Do this for 30 days.
That's it. Honestly. No sales pitch. No pills. No supplements. Just do what I wrote above for 30 days--maybe five minutes at a time and up to 10 if you're feeling saucy. Your sleep quality will improve in leaps and bounds, all for the sake of learning to transition your nervous system. Actually, your whole life will improve; that's how important this practice is.
See, most people try to go from "off" to "on" at the beginning of their day, then immediately to "off" again at the end of their day. It just doesn't work that way. Your body operates on cues and a revved up nervous system that you haven't taken the time to decelerate is why sleep is slow to come and poor when it does.
That could all change with meditation.
Obviously, those other things can factor into the equation, but stop weighting them so heavily. Blue light, caffeine, and all the rest can all be managed, but nothing will work as well as meditating. Try it. You have more to gain and, quite honestly, nothing to lose.
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