How to Deal With Sleep Deprivation and Stress Without Medication

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Most people have experienced the frustration of lying awake at night, unable to sleep no matter how many sheep they count. In fact, research has shown that the majority of people are sleep deprived, which makes it even more important to get a good night’s rest. It’s impossible to feel and be at your best if your body and mind is in a constant state of exhaustion. 

But how?

When you’re dealing with the stresses and pressures of life that can activate your fight or flight response, how do you calm down?

Here, we will discuss several natural ways to help your body get the rest it needs without using medication. By practicing certain techniques before bed and using a little technology while you sleep, you will be able to create your own sleep plan that will ensure you wake up refreshed in the morning. 

“One of the keys to good sleep is establishing a routine – make sure you have a wind-down schedule before going to bed.”  Dr. Susheel Patil

What can help me fall asleep?

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

There is a reason why this is such a well-known tip for sleeping. Caffeine is a stimulant and should not be consumed before bed. Alcohol, although a relaxing depressant, can interfere with the body’s ability to go into the deep sleep it needs to heal and recharge. 

Avoid Blue Light

Because cell phones are such a central part of our lives, it’s easy to read, scroll, and watch videos until you feel tired. However, it has been proven that the blue light emitted from electronic screens can be detrimental to our sleep. 

One way to avoid this is to use tinted glasses that filter out the blue rays. But the best way is to put your phone away at least 30 minutes before preparing for bed. This prevents endless scrolling that can keep your mind racing.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is often used in meditation, but it can also be effective on its own. It forces you to focus on slow, cadenced breaths. Many people prefer to follow a structured method of breathing in and out for a certain count. However, an easy way to begin is by placing your hand on your stomach and slowly inhaling while feeling your stomach rise. Hold it for a moment and then slowly exhale. 

Meditation

  • Mindfulness Meditation

This can be very effective if you have a busy mind at bedtime. Mindfulness meditation consists of observing all of your thoughts and feelings without judging them. You must stay in the moment to see each one and then let it pass.

  • Body Scan Meditation

During body scan meditation, you focus on one specific body part at a time and notice any sensations in that area. As you systematically move through every part of your body, each one can relax until your whole body is at rest.

  • Guided Meditation

Sometimes it helps to have someone guide you through the meditative process. You can listen to a voice lead you through each part and encourage you to visualize peaceful surroundings. There are many guided meditation apps available now for all preferences. 

Progressive Relaxation

Similar to body scan meditation, progressive relaxation focuses on one body part at a time. However, instead of noting any sensations, you consciously contract and tense up the muscles of that body part before releasing them. This forcible tension and release relaxes the muscles and acts as an outlet for the tension you may be carrying.

Environment

A comfortable environment is crucial to good sleep, and keeping your room dark and cool will naturally make your body relax and stay asleep. Because your body’s circadian rhythm drops your temperature while sleeping, keeping your room at a cooler 65 degrees will keep you from waking up hot and sweaty. For many people, room temperature is the biggest factor in getting good rest. 

Darkness helps promote melatonin in your body, which in turn makes you relax and go to sleep. It also assists in helping you stay asleep as well. 

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for hundreds of reactions in your body, and most people in the western world are deficient in it. Many people who struggle to sleep have found that supplementing with magnesium can dramatically improve their insomnia. Most were able to fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer. 

Magnesium comes in a powder, capsules, or a liquid that can be sprayed on the body and absorbed through the skin. 

What can help me while I sleep?

Cooling Mattress Pads

Many modern mattress pads are made for comfort and cooling to promote better sleep. They use materials like gel and copper to help draw heat away from the body and maintain a comfortable temperature. A mattress pad can be an easy, affordable way to optimize your rest. 

For more advanced temperature regulations, systems like the ones from BedJet offer both cooling and heating. Instead of just a pad, there is a blower unit with a hose that attaches to your mattress and is controlled by a remote. 

Sleep Tracker

Technology, such as the Oura sleep ring, can help monitor your sleep cycles and give you insight into what your body does at night. By tracking and analyzing your sleep patterns, you can target exactly what needs to change to get the rest you need. 

Conclusion

Although stress seems to be a normal part of modern life, it can wreak havoc on our ability to sleep well. Before turning to prescription medications, try the suggestions listed above to naturally help your body get the rest it needs. 

Meditation, deep breathing, and a comfortable environment can go a long way towards drifting off to dreamland. Magnesium can also be helpful since it’s a critical element in the body. 

Taking advantage of today’s technology by using cooling mattress pads and sleep tracking devices can make you more comfortable and more informed as to your sleep habits. By discovering exactly what your body does at night, you can find out what needs to change and take the steps to improve. 

To find out more ways to feel your best, learn about our customized coaching in The Apex Approach!

I’m Marc Dressen, a high-performance coach, who has worked with elite performers, athletes and entrepreneurs for over 25 years.

I am passionate about unlocking the potential of high achievers - finding that hidden 10% that will take individuals to the next level.

My MSc in Sports Science, coupled with my extensive training in neurolinguistic programming and systemic coaching philosophy has allowed me to incorporate the mind and body into a synergistic machine.

My coaching strategy has now developed into a system that I have coined The Apex Approach, a custom framework that incorporates the latest evidence-based techniques such as biohacking, modern science and digital monitoring, to align the mind and body to its optimum potential. I use biomarkers to remotely coach my clients, so they can receive support whenever they need it.