At the lowest point in my life, various stresses and problems culminated in a serious case of insomnia. I took this condition as a sign that things were not going well in my life, and became determined to find the cause of being unable to sleep. I now help people with improved performance in all areas of life, and one of the points I believe the most is the importance of sleep.
Why is sleep important?
Poor sleep can negatively affect performance, and does not allow the brain to properly recharge. However, long term effects are even worse. Sleep deprivation over time can lead to conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s and heart rate or hormonal imbalance. Additionally, lack of sleep can negatively impact mood and cause depression.
While 7 to 9 hours of sleep is ideal, the quality of sleep is more important. No one should just resign themselves to poor sleep, and insomnia should be solved like a puzzle. There are many new articles and devices that are made to help people get better sleep. I definitely advise people to take advantage of these opportunities, but I also have many of my own methods for dealing with insomnia.
What can we do about insomnia?
The first thing you should do is look at the “Sleep Triad” (three different factors that might affect your sleep), and see if they are out of alignment.
The first is psychology: analyze various stressors and if they cause frequent mood changes and/or a variability of moods.
The second is physiology. What is happening to your body that might have a negative effect on your sleep? This may be determined by what vitamins you take. While some may help you sleep, others might be a detriment. Low iron levels may be a factor as well. Keeping track of dieting habits and what essential nutrients are missing can help solve your sleeping problem.
Lastly, environment is an important factor as well. Everything from your bedroom to other areas in your home may help or hinder your ability to sleep. This can vary from how much light the rooms can take in during the day, and how temperatures are regulated. Going outside and utilizing the environment of nature is an asset as well.
Along with analyzing your sleep triad, using circadian rhythm training to help maintain consistent sleeping hours is important as well. Maintaining that rhythm can be helped by using cues from the outside world. Reconnecting with the wild (or “rewilding”) can function as a time giver, indicating to the body when to be awake and when to sleep through the natural night and day cycle. Rewilding is one of the most essential factors in the process of normalizing your sleep cycle, and ultimately the path to successful sleeping.
Note: This article was created from the conference Achiever II, and is rewritten from the speech given by Mollie McGlocklin.
McGlocklin is the creator of the company Sleep is a Skill, which seeks to optimize sleep through “technology, accountability and behavioural change”. She is also the host of “The Sleep is a Skill” podcast.