I’ve had trouble sleeping most of my life. When I was younger, it was mostly an inability to fall asleep. As I got older, I started to wake up in the middle of the night (~3am) and have trouble falling back asleep. The phenomenon of being extremely tired but unable to sleep was common enough that I started to distinguish being ‘tired’ from being ‘sleepy’*. Conversely, there would be times when, though I thought I had slept reasonably well, I would get so sleepy during the day that I would have to take a quick nap…even if that meant going out to my car to do so.

To counter this, I’ve tried just about everything I can think of. Melatonin. Light Therapy. Japanese sleeping mats. EEG Brainwave Monitors. A sleep induction mat (not comfortable). Five or six different mattresses.

After much experimentation, I’ve finally found a solution that seems to work reasonably well for me.

First, I have to keep it cool in the room. For me, that means 68 degrees or lower. I also take a combination of melatonin and magnesium 60-90 mins before bed. I’ve tried different configurations but this seems to work the best for me. Next, I wear earplugs to block out any noise (such as my snoring French Bulldogs). Next, I make sure that sunlight will wake me up in the morning. In the summer this is easy; in the winter I use a sunlamp alarm clock. I rotate mattresses every so often (e.g. I sleep in one bed for several weeks, then move to another bed). I also avoid eating anything after 9pm. Whenever possible, I try to stop working at least two hours before bed to let my brain relax. Finally, I try to go to bed at a similar time (+/- 1 hour) each night.

With those rough guidelines in place, I would say I’m sleeping better now than I ever have.

I’m not sure if others suffer from similar issues but wanted to share what works for me.

*It turns out there may be good biological reasons for this.