My Sleep Experiments and Favorite Sleep Hacks

Sleep: Insomniac -> Baby

This post may sound like I'm ranting or bashing others.

It's really not and just my opinion on how my body works.

This post may help you, but it's written more for me for accountability reasons.

Updated - 5.19.17

I will also have a post on completely fixing insomnia in the future.

Contents:

  1. Why Lifestyle Is More Important
  2. What I've Tried
  3. What I've Been Doing
  4. What I Need To Work On Or Want To Try
  5. My Favorite Sleep Hacks

Why Lifestyle Is More Important

 
 

Why do we need sleep?

I remember back in high school my friends discussing the idea of having to sleep was just a caffeine deficiency.

I could never do without sleep.

Actually, I noticed a majority of my problems started with bad sleep and ended with good sleep.

So, let's get into what I've been doing.

What I've Tried

If you've read my posts before you know I'm kind of a stickler for making lists like this alphabetically, not necessarily by importance, so see the next section for things that I think are more important.

  1. 5-HTP - This works well and converts to melatonin, but can't be taken every night as it makes me groggy.
  2. Affirmations - This seems to work well at night whereas incantations work better during the day.
  3. Alcohol - Never worked for me. Makes me feel like shit anyway so I stopped. 
  4. Ambien - I was addicted to this shit for 3 years! It was a huge cover-up to my symptoms. The psychiatrist I had didn't feel it was necessary to get off and neither did I as I would get high on it. I had no clue it was destroying my memory. For example, I remember waking up to the weirdest browsing histories and would always get new packages delivered to my door. I also had some really strange sex on it. But it wasn't all bad, since I made some dope music on it. 
  5. Anti-histamines (such as Benedryl) - Works very well for putting me to sleep, but I get a hangover.
  6. Ashwaganda / KSM-66 - I take this as Sensoril, and just like GABA it needs to be taken intermittently.
  7. Bacopa Monnieri - Works well right before bed, but have to use it intermittently as it can make me lazy.
  8. Bamboo Sheets - Sleeping on these help cool my body effectively and are very soft. 
  9. Bifidobacterium Strains - Helped me with histamine intolerance  symptoms and made sleep easier. 
  10. Binaural Beats - This didn't do too much for me other than make me dizzy.
  11. Black Cumin Seed Oil - This is great for allergies but interferes with my sleep if I take it after 12pm, probably since it is a potent anti-inflammatory. 
  12. Black Out Shades / Pitch Black - This works by making the room completely black. And I mean removing night lights, digital clocks, etc. 
  13. Blue Light Blocking Glasses - They work really well against blue light, but you need to use the right kind. For example if you buy Swannies, you're only blocking out some blue light and paying for someone else's nice lifestyle. They are fine for during the day, but at night you want to wear red glasses to block out some of the green wavelengths. I've got nothing against James personally BTW, I love his 30-day no alcohol challenge.
  14. BPC-157 - It didn't help my sleep, might have even made it worse?
  15. BrainGain - This helps if I take it at dinner, but only if cycled.
  16. Breath-Right Nasal Strips - This really helped my sleep when I had problems with allergy seasons.
  17. Brick Under Bed - I used to get dyspepsia so one of these on each side of the head side of the bed would help with that. I will now-and-then prop my head up with pillows in the initial stages of my sleep.
  18. Calcium - Didn't seem to help me.
  19. CBD - It's dependent on what I've eaten if this helps. 
  20. Chewing Gum - This helps with leptin resistance if you're hungry before bed by increasing CCK. 
  21. Chamomile Tea - This works well (from the apigenin) to relieve anxiety. I'll take 2 or 3 bags at once.
  22. Cold Room / Good Air Conditioning - I like to keep warm during the day and cold at night (see my post on Wilson's Temperature Syndrome) 
  23. Cool Gel Pillow - This helps my head and ears if they get too hot while sleeping instead of pillow flipping.
  24. Crying  - This seems to work really well after being in a lot of stress. When my friend died recently, crying really helped myself from feeling overloaded. 
  25. Cuddling - If I had a GF right now this would help, but sometimes makes me too hot. I'm not sure how some people handle it.
  26. Curcumin (Turmeric) - This seems to have a better effect when I mess up with my diet. 
  27. Dream Catcher - I know this is weird but I've had a dreamcatcher hanging out in my living room. I moved it one time and had horrible nightmares until I moved it back. I haven't touched it since.
  28. Ear Plugs - Really good for traveling.
  29. EarthPulse - Helped me with deep sleep while I was traveling, but at the time I didn't have enough money so I returned it since the benefits weren't that great for its price point.
  30. EMF Protection - I've turned off my WIFI and phone and it really helps. The only problem is I live in an apartment right now and cannot turn off other people's EMF equipment, so that will be a thing to look into in the future when I have my own place.
  31. Epson Salt Bath - Works very well, similarly to a heavy dose of magnesium.
  32. Essential Oils - I find lavender helpful to calm me down, probably due to it's estrogenic effect.
  33. Exercise - The idea that you need to be exhausted by exercise or activity to sleep is an absurd dogma. I've never had exercise work effectively to make me sleepy. It only makes me tired right after.
  34. Fan - Works okay if I'm somewhere where there is no AC, but I don't get as much deep sleep as I want. 
  35. Fish Oil - This works really well an hour before bed. I get an even greater effect having salmon for dinner.
  36. Flux / Iris - This is mandatory if I'm working on my computer after sunset. 
  37. GABA - This works really well if used intermittently, as I can build up a tolerance so I'll use Gaba Soothe.
  38. Gabapentin - Works well but destructive to nerve cells. 
  39. Glutamine - Very calming and relaxing for my gut.
  40. Glycine - Amazing for deep sleep and helps with growth hormone release.
  41. Green Tea Extract (and EGCG) - It's calming, similar to theanine but feels more stimulating.
  42. Grounding Mat - I've had trouble getting this to work well since I move during my sleep. 
  43. Heavy Blanket / Comforter - I've noticed with more weight on my body I sleep better and deeper.
  44. Holy Basil / Tulsi - This seems to have estrogenic effects on me and calms me down.
  45. Honey - This helps me have more energy when waking, since it helps restore glycogen in the liver.
  46. Hot Shower - Doing this before bed works pretty well to get me into deep sleep faster.
  47. Inositol - Helps and pairs well with magnesium and zinc .
  48. Intranasal Insulin - This decreases the time I need for sleep, but I'm not sure if it enhances my sleep. 
  49. Intranasal Laser - I notice LLLT can make me tired after so sometimes will work well before bed.
  50. LightCure Light Force Pro - Depending on the time of the day this will either remove brain fog for make me super tired.
  51. Lion's Mane - Had pretty vivid dreams from taking this and seemed to enhance my sleep, although theoretically it increases NGF and histamine, so may make you more hot if you have histamine intolerance.
  52. Magnesium - The glycinatemalate, or threonate versions work way better, as the other ones will give you massive bowel movements... I mean, unless diarrhea is what you're looking to achieve. 
  53. Marijuana (THC) - Gives me really weird dreams and I have trouble falling asleep, until the comedown. 
  54. Masturbation - Similar to sex (see below), but less oxytocin.
  55. MCT Oil and Caprylic Acid - Works well to give me great energy in the morning, but can make me hot.
  56. Meditation - This abolishes any anxieties I have and works as a great HDAC inhibitor.
  57. Melatonin - I originally used this after my concussion and it made me sleep 12+hrs per night, which was nice. After I recovered a bit, it had less of an effect. I stopped taking it regularly and only use it to reset my circadian rhythm when traveling to other time zones. I don't like supplementing hormones unless it's completely necessary.
  58. Mk-677 / Ibutamoren - When I first tried this, I tried it right before bed. I got horrible heart burn (thinking I was having a problem with my heart) and night sweats. I started taking it during the day while doing IF and it really helped my sleep. 
  59. Muscle Relaxer - I've used cyclobenzaprine after being in a car accident and it did help my sleep.
  60. NSI-189 - This didn't really help me sleep better but give me more energy during the day.
  61. Passion Flower - Great as a calming herb or tea to relieve anxiety.
  62. Phosphotyldylserine - This lowers my cortisol and helps me with insomnia. 
  63. Phosphotydelcholine - This seems to increase acetylcholine, make me more sleepy. CDP-choline seems to work similarly for me.
  64. Reading - This works and makes me sleepy, but I need to read something very boring or rewarding. 
  65. Reishi - Gives me very vivid dreams. 
  66. Rolfing - This works really well as long as I stay hydrated
  67. Sauna - This helps as a an addition to a hot shower before bed.
  68. Selank - Really helps with anxiety, especially if I eat the wrong foods.
  69. Sex - This works really well if I go only to sleep right after.
  70. Sleep Mask - Works great as a portable replacement to having a pitch black room.
  71. SR1 Delta Sleep Device - So I thought this thing was a scam, but it seems to work ONLY for me if I get the placement right. 
  72. Taurine - This helps me sleep, but needs to be cycled due to GABA tolerance.
  73. Theanine - When I was dealing with histamine intolerance theanine was amazing to take before dinner.
  74. Tryptophan - I've also tried eating bananas which work well to put me to sleep.
  75. Vagus Nerve Stimulation - The Nervana really helps me get calm before bed.
  76. Valerian - Works well but leaves me hungover. 
  77. Vitamin B1 - Thiamin seems to calm down some anxiety. 
  78. Vitamin B3 - Niacin increases GABA, but can make me hot.
  79. Vitamin B6 - As P5P it seems to enhance my sleep by relaxing me.
  80. Vitamin B9 - Folate is effective for enhancing energy and lowering anxiety.
  81. Vitamin B12 - Similar to P5P. It may be since I get a higher production of neurotransmitters.
  82. Vitamin D - This worked well as a supplement, but now I use Dminder to track my natural production.
  83. Water Pump Mattress Topper - This got me through college when I couldn't control the AC.
  84. White Noise Machine - Using a fan instead really helps (explained below).
  85. Xanax - Probably the best sleep I've ever had was after taking a few bars of xanax and smoking some pot. I remember waking up so refreshed and "chill". My girlfriend during the night even tried to wake up and I was out. It's very addictive and bad for GABA receptor dysregulation.  
  86. Yoga - This really helps with blood flow and calming down my body via vagus nerve stimulation.
  87. Zinc - Amazing for sleep, especially after a day I've done heavy lifting. It blocks cortisol for a few hours and stimulates growth hormone.

What I've Been Doing

 
 

In the morning:

  1. Bright light upon rise (my favorite is hanging out on the balcony in the morning watching the sunrise)
  2. HIST a couple hours after waking up (up to 20 min total work out)

During the day:

  1. Blue-light blocking glasses when inside where I can't get natural light (using orange glasses)
  2. F.lux during the day and Android's built-in blue-reducing filter.
  3. Skateboard for at least 20 min
  4. Sun during the day

Before bed:

  1. Blue-light blocking glasses after sunset and red lights only to light my apartment (using red glasses)
  2. F.lux at night and Twilight on my phone along with Android's built-in blue reducing filter.
  3. GABA Soothe or NeuroCalm (intermittently)
  4. Magnesium Glycinate (1-3 pills)
  5. Limiting my exposure to light after sunset
  6. Hot shower (I'll wear my BBGs in the shower as well)
  7. Watching sunset
  8. Zinc (30-50mg) or the combination of ZMA works well too.

What I Need To Work On Or Want To Try

Keeping to the list above, mostly. 

Also, I want to watch more sunsets.

I would like more blue light blocking tech.

I need to remember to turn off my wifi more and put my phone on airplane mode, since I notice GPS and blue-tooth seem to stimulate me (that's why I don't wear any wireless gear at night).

For sleep, I also plan on/want to try:

I'm also interested in other options so please give me some feedback in the comments. 

My Favorite Sleep Hacks

As I said, I will also have a post on completely fixing insomnia in the future.