I’ve had some annoying sleep disturbances during last week. I have difficulties falling asleep, or sometimes wake up too early, having a lot of trouble falling asleep again. That’s not good, because I’m quite susceptible to sleep deprivation, though this susceptibility seems to have somewhat decreased lately.
Often I’m taking L-theanine as supplement to fall asleep more easily, but now it’s not as reliable as it used to be in the beginning.
Sometimes trying to remember my previous dreams gets me into the right mode of mind to fall asleep.
When I can’t seem to fall asleep at all, I watch YouTube videos until I’m really tired. That doesn’t seem to be a super good strategy, but it seems to work better than not doing anything at all. Would reading books be a better strategy?
Eating too many carbs can cause sleep disturbances for me – especially of the kind of waking up too early. I know about that, so I usually avoid that problem.
I know about ultradian cycles, but it’s still hard for me to catch the sleep train. Are there any tricks to leverage ultradian rhythms better?
Do you have any sleep hacks that work great for you? I know that @sandu is versed in that topic, although more in the context of inducing lucid dreams, rather than focusing on sleep transitions – or am I wrong about that?
i’m glad you asked. i know insomnia and some ways to cure it.
there are several things helping me and several issues that can induce the problem. of course, knowing the issues is a first step to cure it.
problems and their solutions could be:
having too much in your head keeping your mind busy. mostly these are worries or also great ideas, problem-solving which seemingly couldn’t wait. i avoid this problem by giving it even more space. so i don’t wait until i go to bed for these thoughts to appear, but half an hour earlier i shut down my computer, do nothing anymore, just walking around or sitting and thinking about all the things coming to my mind. also i do that during the day some times. after i’ve done that, the issues are not that occupying anymore so i can stop thinking about them for a while and sleep.
going to sleep at the wrong time. being out of sync with your biorhythm. usually it’s best to go to sleep when you’re tired, not on a specified time. your rhythm really will makes it so that you get tired every day at around the same time automatically. but if it’s all messed up you might want to help it to adjust.
what really helped me to get to sleep not in about 30-60 minutes but in 5-15 minutes was a little sleep deprivation. i changed my rhythm to biphasic. i cut my core sleep from 9 to 6 hours daily. then in the early afternoon (earler would have been better) i slept for about 20 minutes. it is essential with polyphasic and biphasic sleeping that your naps don’t take longer than 30 minutes. because if they do, they tend not being efficiently recreative. if you nap for an hour or so, you just wake up groggy. the reason are the sleep phases. you have to make sure you don’t enter deep sleep while the nap, because waking up from it is making you groggy.
being in the adaption phase for bi- or polyphasic sleeping needs some time. if you go napping and don’t fall asleep at all, never mind that. just lay there about 20 minutes and get up again. after some days or weeks your body will recognize that’s the time to sleep and it will take the oppurtunity when it can. because after some days with a short core sleep you get very tired during the day. if you want to adapt to the rhythm of your choice, you musn’t relax every time when being tired, otherwise you end up sleeping at the wrong time or even longer than intended. it will mess with the effort to adapt to a new rhythm.
also, if you really want to learn polyphasic sleeping, read more about the topic. it can be unhealthy, depending on how you do it. i don’t recommend doing it for long-term. that may help some people. but really for helping with insomnia i just recommend doing it for a short time, just to learn how to fall asleep fast and at a given time.
you can also help your hormones to induce tiredness by doing sports during the day, by having sunlight at the day and using less disturbing light after sunset. for example use f.lux to filter the blue light from your monitor, it helps your eyes getting ready for sleep. melatonine production, which is important for sleep, is also linked to light and darkness.
a shortcut for getting really tired very fast is to do exhausting sport before you go to sleep. it should not be too exhausting, though.
if you wake up during the night, that can be very nice, because it helps for dream recall and lucid dreaming. but it can be a pain if you’re not able to soon fall asleep again. so you can try the following:
progressive muscle relaxation or autogenic training
if you really can’t sleep for say 30 minutes, get up. stay awake, do something little, until you get tired again. mostly that happens after one biocycle - those cycles are about 90 minutes long. staying awake also helps for not getting frustrated so much and it’s not as unpleasant as rolling over all the time.
in the evening: reading should help more than youtube videos. but meditation should help even better. because it also clears your mind instead of filling it.
another thing is: falling asleep has something to do with letting go of control. you can initiate that by e.g. letting your breathing become more like it is when you already sleep, ignoring itches and the urge to roll over mostly, or by letting your thoughts and hypnagogia just wander and stop judging them anymore. even stop really thinking about them anymore. like you start talking to yourself without caring for what the content of it is, let it become creative, rhythmic, trance like, automatic, even senseless, and don’t listen to it anymore.