Can’t Sleep? 10 Things to Do NOW and Sleep Better Tonight

There are 2 types of people in the world.

The first type is the person who falls asleep when his head hits the pillow; he sleeps deeply and dreams in color;  then he wakes up refreshed and energized, ready to start the day!

The second type struggles almost every night. Even when she does sleep she is tired all day and never feels refreshed. Coffee and energy drinks are a staple and she can’t function without them, yet she still hits a wall every afternoon around 3pm.

Which type are you?

If you know, you know… the second type will tell you…

Insomnia is the worst.

Tossing and turning… anxiety building because you know how exhausted you will feel the next day…. obsessing about how it’s going to affect your ability to get things done.
We know that sleep is crucial to so many things: from staying healthy to tackling our tasks for the day while being in a good mood.
What do we do when we can’t sleep.. or we sleep and don’t feel rested?

People cope with sleeping problems in different ways, from bedtime rituals to pharmaceuticals or supplements. But what is the root, and how do we fix it?

When we turn to meds
If you have experienced severe or prolonged insomnia you may have been prescribed a drug to help you sleep. These work well but can have unpleasant or harmful side effects, including difficulty waking up in the morning and fatigue or drowsiness during the day.  More severe side effects can include increased sleep apnea, hallucinations or even increased risk of mortality. Additionally, some types of sleeping medications have been found to be highly addictive. Read more about side effects of prescription sleep aids here. 
Some people take an over-the-counter aid like diphenhydramine (common brand name Benadryl®) or another multi-use drug like Tylenol PM® every night.
They figure it’s worth it because sleep is important; so while maybe it’s not the best, it’s better than not sleeping. But did you know this drug can have some very harmful side effects?
This study talks about taking it in large doses, but even taking just a little every night is cumulative, meaning the medications build up in your system, so that “small dose” you take every night starts to add up and compounds the health risks over time. The side effects listed are pretty scary: heart problems, seizures, coma or even death! Even casual usage can result in side effects like dizziness, epigastric distress (digestive problems) and thickening of bronchial secretions. Not good news during cold & flu season.

Tylenol® is Not Our Friend
I have a friend who popped Tylenol PM® every night just to fall asleep. The problem here is that she was taking multiple medications for one issue, and each med has its own side effects.

You may assume acetaminophen (common brand name Tylenol®) is safe.  Haven’t we all taken it throughout our lives and given it to our children?
Not so fast.
Immediate side effects of acetaminophen that are commonly listed range from nausea to rashes, headache to stomach pain. Doesn’t sound too terrible. And that’s rare anyway… right?
When taken in high doses (as in prescription strength or given in hospitals) OR with long-term use (because remember this stuff adds up in the body and has a cumulative effect that we often don’t consider), use of acetaminophen can lead to liver damage which can even result in liver failure and death.
Another little-known problem with acetaminophen is that it suppresses glutathione in the body. 
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is our body’s master antioxidant. The more your body produces glutathione, the better it can eliminate toxins and waste every day. So anything we do to increase glutathione production in our bodies is desirable, and anything that suppresses this wonder molecule should be avoided at all cost.

I don’t want to talk about every different form of medication and the risks but suffice it to say meds are not the answer to your sleep problems. Fortunately there are plenty of natural ways to re-set the sleep cycle and get yourself dreaming again in no time.

(To increase glutathione in your body… which we all need… check out this whole food based multi that is bioavailable (no synthetics!), fully methylated and has been shown to increase the body’s production of glutathione! Available in both adult and kids versions!)

To discuss your situation and get a recommendation, text “sleep” to ‪
(802) 227-7051‬
Some who consider themselves more “naturally minded” have discovered melatonin supplementation.
While melatonin may be a slightly better option than over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, I don’t recommend using that either, and it’s actually not much better than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
Is melatonin a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Melatonin is a hormone our bodies convert from serotonin, a neurotransmitter produced in our digestive tracts.

Hormones are best produced by our bodies, and supplementing with hormones is generally not beneficial long term.
Store-bought melatonin is usually a synthetic compound. Any synthetic supplement is really just a pharmaceutical product in disguise.
Read about some of the side effects of melatonin here.
The more we supplement with hormones like melatonin, the less our body will produce it on its own. In a way our bodies become reliant on them because we begin to produce less than we should, perpetuating a cycle of sleeplessness and continued use.
…and the goal is to be able to sleep without taking meds or anything else, right? 
So what is the best way to fix this problem?
Here are a few tips to help your brain and your body re-set your sleep cycle and start getting the deep, restful sleep you need tonight.
  1. Go to sleep earlier

    What time do you typically go to sleep? Many Americans tend to burn the midnight oil, finally shutting down for the night at midnight or even later.

    Did you know our hormones are refreshed in our brain’s frontal lobe between the hours of 11pm-1am? If you are not in deep sleep during that time you will miss it (either partially or completely)! And hormones are important–they drive almost every function in our bodies. We should be in deep sleep during that entire window, which means the latest we should fall asleep is about 10:30.

    Think that is impossible? Try these next tips and start turning in earlier to create new patterns. The more we go to sleep and wake up earlier, the more our bodies adapt to that routine.

  2.  Relax before bedtime.
    Never downplay the importance of routines: our bodies thrive on routines. 

For example, most of us get hungry at the same times every day. We tend to do things in a predictable way, and our bodies thrive on that routine.

It is the same for sleep. Our bodies have rhythms and when we are not predictable in our routines before sleeping, including what time we sleep and what we do, our bodies may not recognize that it’s time to wind down.

Some bedtime rituals may include:

The bottom line is if you do the same type of relaxing activities every night when you are ready to sleep (especially if you go to sleep around the same time every night), your body will get the hint and falling (and staying) asleep will be much easier.


To discuss your situation and get a recommendation, text “sleep” to ‪
(802) 227-7051‬

3    Re-Set your Circadian Rhythms

If your internal clock just seems to be “off…” you may need to balance your body’s circadian rhythm.

From pulling all-nighters in college and partying with friends in the wee hours of the morning, to staying up looking at our devices late at night, our body’s sleep cycle can get disrupted and it can be difficult to rebalance.

Luckily there is a sure-fire way to re-set your circadian rhythm in one week, and it’s free! Go camping in the woods for 7 days without any electronics: wake up and go to sleep with the sun for a solid week and boom–your natural clock will re-set!
You don’t have time for that? 
Of course there are other ways to re-set your sleep cycle with supplementation and herbs. This herbal sleep supplement can re-set your sleep cycle in about about 14 days, so you can live your life as you re-set your circadian rhythm! 
To discuss your situation and get a recommendation, text “sleep” to ‪
(802) 227-7051‬

4   Turn Off the Wi-Fi

This may have never crossed your mind, but Wi-Fi disrupts sleep.

We can’t control our neighbors or anyone else, but we can control the closest source of Wi-Fi in our lives: our Wi-Fi routers!

Some companies allow you to set a time that it goes off each night (or create a schedule) so if you are able to do that, try it!

Personally, I just have my router plugged into a power strip with an on/off button, and I just flip it off before bed every night. Easy peasy!

If someone needs to stay up a little later (like my teenaged son) they know to turn it off when they are ready to go to bed… and the few times it hasn’t been turned off I could tell because I didn’t sleep as well. It really does make a difference–try it!

5   Turn off Devices

Did you know that blue light from screens (computer, phone, tablet or other devices) hinders the production of melatonin by our brains? The “blue light” from electronics or fluorescent lighting confuses the brain because blue light is usually available via sunlight in the daytime.

Turning off all fluorescent lights and devices an hour before bedtime can help our brains recognize it’s night time and start producing that super antioxidant hormone melatonin that makes us sleepy.

If you must sometimes look at screens close to bedtime, try getting blue-light blocking glasses. This will allow you to look at the screens and block the blue light that disrupts sleep, so they are a good idea to have on hand when you need them. Win-win, right?

6   Get Moving Outside!

We all know we should exercise more, and often that means hours at the gym. But why not make it more fun and accomplish several things at the same time!

Get outside for a walk, a hike, or a bike ride and you will breathe in fresh air, take in beautiful views, increase endorphins and wear yourself out from the exercise, and absorb sunshine that will help with melatonin production later and increase your body’s production of Vitamin D!

Just as important as decreasing blue light at nighttime before bed is increasing your exposure to sunlight during waking hours!

7   Get Magnesium

Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Whether it’s from our stress-filled lives and non-stop activities or a less-than-perfect diet, we begin to feel the effects when we just can’t wind down at the end of the day.

Seems like an easy fix, right? Just grab a supplement.

Not so fast.

There are almost a dozen different types of magnesium and some are absorbed better than others (and others are absorbed better by different people… which gets confusing).

if you take too much magnesium you can get some digestive issues, like diarrhea, which is no fun. And you may still not get as much as you need. So what’s the best sure-fire way to get magnesium?

Magnesium is best absorbed transdermally (through the skin) so the easiest, best way to increase your magnesium intake is by applying it topically.

My favorite, inexpensive way to apply magnesium is doing regular epsom salt baths. Not only do you fill up on magnesium, baths are relaxing by their nature, and are a great part of a nightly routine. And epsom salt is cheap!

Another great way to get magnesium is with magnesium oil. It comes in a spray and you can spray it right on your skin, or you can get a magnesium butter (lotion) that incorporates  magnesium oil and moisturizes skin at the same time. You can even make your own magnesium oil with water and magnesium flakes.

8   Kill Parasites

You may be thinking “Ew.”

It’s not fun to think about, but unfortunately every human has parasites. A parasite is any organism in our bodies that steals our nutrition and releases toxins into our bodies.

We should all be doing regular parasite cleanses, and since parasites are most active at night they can disrupt our sleep and give us bad dreams!

Read this for more information on parasites and how to get rid of them. 

9   Increase Serotonin (and Melatonin) Production in Your Body

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter the body converts into melatonin so you can sleep at night. So if you are not making enough serotonin, you may not make enough melatonin, and sleep issues can result.
The good news is you can balance your gut and your body can produce more serotonin–> melatonin.

If you have sleep issues and you also have digestive complaints, it is likely you have a gut imbalance that is causing both problems. This is actually great news because you can address both at the same time! Serotonin production primarily happens in the gut microbiome… if you are low in serotonin you may also experience symptoms like depression and anxiety, panic attacks, high levels of stress that you struggle to deal with, impatience, or other mood issues.

To discuss your situation and get a recommendation, text “sleep” to ‪
(802) 227-7051‬
The good news is that by healing your gut with the right balance of good bacteria, your body can again begin to produce the right amounts of serotonin, and these issues can begin to resolve themselves one by one!
How do I heal my gut and create more serotonin?
Great question! I was looking for this answer for years. Though I knew there was a gut-brain connection, I didn’t know how to heal it!
Now there is finally a protocol that works to address the entire gut-brain connection and restore balance to the gut, the brain, and the communication axis between! (There is one for kids too, and it tastes great!)
If you would like to see how this protocol has helped a few of my personal friends, read about these miracles of root cause healing.
(That company also offers a full one YEAR money back guarantee! So there is no risk to see what root cause healing can do for you.) 

10   Balance Your Hormones 

Over half of Americans have a hormonal imbalance… and as you may know, hormones affect everything, including sleep!

We’ve all heard of hormones but what exactly are they?

According to Cleveland Clinic, hormones are are signals that tell your body what to do and when to do it. Hormones are essential for life and your health.

Our hormones affect every part of our lives. From what mood we’re in, to libido and fertility, to energy we have during the day, how we digest food and store it as fat or use it as energy, to how well we sleep at night and even how affectionate we feel towards our families!

Hormones have a very intimate connection to sleep, because our hormones are produced, regulated, and balanced while we sleep.

A doctor told me that our brain’s frontal lobe refreshes our hormones every night between 11pm-1am. And if we aren’t already in deep REM sleep when that begins, we miss out on that hormonal regulation for the day.

No wonder we can feel off balance when we don’t get enough sleep or go to bed too late!

Additionally, as we age our hormone levels naturally decrease. Women are particularly prone to hormonal imbalance because of monthly fluctuations, pregnancy and childbirth, past birth control use, hormone disrupters in our food, environmental pollutants, medications and other factors.

Hormonal imbalance can lead to:

  • weight gain or weight loss
  • poor sleep
  • low energy
  • lack of motivation or focus
  • brain fog
  • anxiety
  • inflammation and puffiness
  • digestive issues
  • hair thinning
  • skin problems like acne or rashes, and more.

But what can we do? We may seek a doctor’s help, get a hormone panel done–and the doctor may or may not find an issue–but we know something is wrong, and we still have to figure out how to fix it.

Taking hormones (whether synthetic, bio-identical or “natural”) is not the best option, because we are not allowing the body to heal and balance itself: we are forcing an outside solution that probably won’t fix the problem and can cause more imbalance and more symptoms long term.

What we should do is give the body what it needs so it can balance itself.

There are hormone balancing herbs and supplements, but which one is the best, and which one will work? I have tried  many and found one that works really well… and the great thing is that there is one made for men and one for women. This is important because while men and women both have the same hormones, the balance is very different, so the way we support our bodies is different as well.

There is even a “Happy Hormones Pack” which addresses both gut health AND hormone balance simultaneously–addressing the issue from both sides while providing stress and mood support for a great deal!

(That company also offers a full one YEAR money back guarantee! So there is no risk to see what root cause healing can do for you.) 

To discuss your situation and get a recommendation, text “sleep” to ‪
(802) 227-7051‬
These 10 things should help you to get restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy every day. If you want to discuss your specific situation and how to address your needs, please feel free to text “sleep” to 802-227-7051 and we can discuss it!

More Resources

9 Side Effects of Prescription Sleeping Pills 

Harmful Side Effects of Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

Risks of High Dosage or Long Term Use of Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

Side Effects and Risks of Tylenol

Tylenol® Suppresses Glutathione and Hinders the Body’s Detox Ability

Acetaminophen warnings 

Side Effects of Melatonin

How Blue Light from Electronic Screens Disrupt Sleep 

Get Blue Block Glasses to Protect Your Sleep 

Regular Detox Baths for Staying Healthy and Boosting Magnesium!

Herbal sleep supplement to re-set circadian rhythm

What are hormones and why do they matter?

The Gut-Brain Connection: Restore balance and create more Serotonin

The Gut-Brain Connection for KIDS! 

See for Yourself: Miracles of Root Cause Healing

Balance Your Hormones and Address Gut Health in One!

Herbal Adaptogenic Hormone healing for HER. 

Herbal Adaptogenic Hormone healing for HIM. 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.



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