How do you sleep at night?

I mean literally. Do you stay up late, watching TV and furtively searching social media for some sort of dopamine hit (cute puppy? impeachment proceedings?) that lets you feel like you ended the day on a high note? Even then, do you toss and turn, your body still processing the day’s workouts, as you worry that each passing minute is screwing you over for the next day’s challenges?

It’s no coincidence I can describe this feeling in such detail. Blame it on political chaos, worries that things will get worse before they will get better, increased training volume, or delightfully soft flannel sheets that probably bake me alive each night. But I struggled with sleep for much of this year. It wasn’t insomnia per se–most of the time, I was able to fall asleep within an hour or two–but there was always the worry that tonight would be the night that my brain wouldn’t shut off and I’d be stuck in a swirl of escalating worries about not getting enough sleep.

Well, if it’s my brain that keeps me from sleeping, it’s my brain that will get me back on track. Time to do some research! In his book, Tools of Titans, describes his evening ritual, which includes reading fiction from a paper book, taking a soothing bath, and drinking some tea with honey and apple cider vinegar. The time-crunched environmentalist in me balked at wasting all the water on a bath, but figured the others were worth a shot. Normally, I don’t like fiction, but made an exception for The Sympathizer, since a) it won the Pulitzer for fiction b) I feel like I’m still learning something about the Vietnam war, so it’s close enough to non-fiction. I tried the tea, and it was like a lightbulb going off in my brain. Time to sleep NOW. Wow, that was easy. However, I noticed that the effect started to wear off when I went upstairs and started to brush my teeth. Could there be something better?

Enter BT Nutrition’s NBS Goodnight formula. Rather than just turning the lights out on my brain, it lulled me to sleep gradually (within 30 minutes) and I woke up feeling more refreshed. Unlike the tea, NBS Goodnight has melatonin, magnesium, and amino acids. But be warned: the mix straight out of the package is not sweet. There’s a scientific reason for this (too much sugar blocks HGH production) but it also means it’s not cloyingly sweet, unlike some mixes. (That said, I add a small amount of honey.) If you’re interested in trying it, dear readers, they are running a special through the end of March — 30% off with the code RECOVERY.

What have you found to be useful for getting to sleep?

I switched from laptop to book right after this pic was taken–promise!

2 thoughts on “How do you sleep at night?

  1. hi! regular patterns are very helpful for sleeping and sleeping well, so i use the bedtime option on the iOS clock app. my phone tells me when i need to go to bed (like mom used to as a kid) to sleep properly and rest up.

    a comfortable, consistent temperature is also important for me to get to sleep and stay asleep. sometimes, it’s enough to keep the sliding glass door open—but other times i need to put the a/c on even if it’s ‘cool’ outside.

    also, social science is important. using your bed only for sleep (or certain… adult activities) is critical to priming your brain for sleepy times. that means not playing on your phone, not sitting in bed reading, not using your laptop to write blog posts (!!!). do all of that in a different place or room entirely if possible. knowing when NOT to sleep is key as well. if you find yourself in bed unable to sleep, your mind starts to associate bed with restlessness and not sleeping. if you wake up in the middle of the night, get out of bed. go sit in the living room for a moment—especially if you’re feeling the 4am panic: and don’t go back to bed until you’re ready to sleep again.

    for me, personally, i may legitimately have reading-induced narcolepsy. i pick up a book, read 4-5 pages, and i’m passed out.


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