I Checked Wine, Sleeping Pills and Other Methods for Improving My Sleep — the Results Were Unexpected
Imagine yourself waking up in the morning feeling full of energy, looking in the mirror to see a reflection of someone with bright eyes full of excitement, and making yourself a delicious cup of coffee knowing that you have the time to sit back and enjoy it. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Well, it can be a reality for you too!
In order to wake up early, you need to go to bed early. But how? I decided to share my experience with different methods for improving the quality of my sleep with the readers of Bright Side. You may be surprised at some of the results!
Why did I need it?
My name is Lyuda. And as far as I remember, I always kept asking myself, “Why do I have to wake up early? Why are there no kindergartens, institutes, and offices that start working in the afternoon?”
Due to my dislike of mornings, I started to work as a freelancer once I got the opportunity. I was very satisfied with life because I could sleep in the mornings as much as possible.
But as it always happens in movies, if the main character has a period of careless happiness, it means something bad is going to happen. My trouble appeared in the form of a new neighbor that looked 45 years old, however, her passport was showed that she was actually 60 years old. She never injected Botox and among all the varieties of available cosmetics items, she used only a facial mask made of cucumbers. But she always went to bed at 10 PM.
Of course, it could be due to good genetics and not because of her sleeping habits at all. But having read much information about the benefits of melatonin for a woman’s youth and beauty, I decided to change my sleeping habits.
So my goal was to fall asleep no later than 11 PM and wake up by 6 AM.
At first, I was simply trying to go to bed by 10 PM and to fall asleep. But I had no wish to sleep and my boredom kept reminding me that the internet has many interesting things that will help me fall asleep faster. Eventually, I ended up wasting my time surfing the web till about 2 AM. Then I decided to try other methods that could help me fall asleep faster. Those were:
- sleeping pills;
- refusing gadgets 2 hours prior to sleeping;
- the application “Smart alarm clock.”
I tested each method for a week, trying to evaluate not only how fast I fell asleep but also my feelings the next morning.
At first, I read the information about essential oils recommended for improving sleep. I opted for lavender oil because its positive effect was checked on students and women with postpartum depression.
- What you should do: inhale the vapors of the essential oil for 15-20 minutes before bedtime and make sure this smell stays with you throughout the entire night. So I lit an aroma lamp, dripped several drops of lavender oil onto my pillowcase and put a bag with dry lavender under my pillow.
- How it worked for me: I felt pleasantly relaxed. However, it didn’t help me fall asleep faster but I did notice that I started to feel more active in the mornings. I felt as if I slept 1-2 hours more than my usual 7 hours. Perhaps lavender oil affects the quality of the sleep and makes it deeper and smoother.
- Conclusion: I will use it but in combination with another method.
In order to choose the right sleeping pills, I visited a doctor. At first, he asked me to drop this idea because sleeping pills are usually prescribed to people with serious sleeping disorders and my imaginary problems were not the case. But after listening to me more carefully, he recommended the extract of Passiflora.
I found a study that confirmed the positive effect of the pills which works by increasing deep sleeping phases and decreasing fast sleeping phases.
- What you should do: Take 2 pills an hour before going to sleep. I took them at 9:30 PM.
- How it worked for me: Perhaps, the deep phases of my sleep became deeper but I didn’t observe any global changes in myself within the week of taking Passiflora. Perhaps I should have taken the medicine for a longer period of time to see any results.
- Conclusion: I won’t use it.
Refusing gadgets 2 hours before sleeping
The camera cover may make me seem paranoid, but I feel better when it is there.
The radiation that comes from smartphones and notebooks (also called blue radiation) is perceived by our eyes as “daylight” and it makes our brain think it’s daytime, which decreases the melatonin production. That’s why sometimes when you feel extremely tired, your body still can’t fall asleep.
- What you should do: Don’t use smartphones, tablets, or other gadgets 2 hours prior to sleeping.
- How it worked for me: Since I was planning to fall asleep at 10:30 PM, I switched off my laptop at 8:30 PM (first time in a very long time, since I usually keep it in sleeping mode) and hid my smartphone in my bag. Alas, my willpower wasn’t enough to survive such a long separation from the internet and I couldn’t perform the experiment on any of the days.
- Conclusion: I should train my willpower.
I chose Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot to check this method.
Red wine (or rather the grapes from which it is made) contains a substance that helps you fall asleep quickly. You can find most of it in such varieties as Nebbiolo, Croatina, Cabernet-Sauvignon, and Merlot.
- What you should do: Drink 100-150 ml of dry red wine 1.5-2 hours prior to sleep.
- How it worked for me: Melatonin and the overall relaxing effect did their work perfectly and I fell asleep 15-20 minutes later. But despite falling asleep early, it was difficult for me to wake up and I had a persistent wish to get back to my bed for several hours. Moreover, I noticed an additional effect — swelling in the mornings. But there were some advantages too. On one of the evenings, I went to sleep in a bad mood with a bunch of unresolved issues. When you have so many thoughts whirling through your head, it becomes very difficult to fall asleep. So that evening, despite being in bad spirits, I didn’t have such thoughts, which helped me fall asleep quickly.
- Conclusion: I will use it on special occasions.
The “Smart Alarm” application
The application checks your sleeping phases, it notices all the movements while you are asleep. Here is my daily report: I set an alarm in the evening at 5:54 PM. The period between 10:30 PM and 05:07 AM is the time of my sleeping. The blue and green colors show deep and light sleep phases.
In the morning, half an hour before waking up, the program chooses the moment where body motions and sounds get their peak (those are the signs of a light sleep phase) and the alarm starts to wake you up. In order to fall asleep easier in the evening, I chose a relaxing melody called “white noise.”
- What you should do: Download the app and put the smartphone next to you. Don’t forget to charge it properly.
- How it worked on me: I went to bed at 10:30 PM, set the timer and switched on “white noise.” The application showed that I fell asleep in 15 minutes and woke up by 5 AM. I looked like a girl from a coffee commercial — waking up was easy and I had a smile on my face. I felt quite active — I cooked breakfast, applied a cosmetics mask to my face, read the news, didn’t rush through my breakfast, made a to-do list, and loaded my washing machine. When I looked at the clock it was only 7 AM.
- Conclusion: I will keep using it.
What happened next:
Having finished testing all of these methods, I decided to stop my choice at the Smart Alarm application and lavender oil. Red wine was left as an additional method in case I had a bad day. Within a month, I was falling asleep listening to “white noise” and smelling the lavender aroma and was waking up listening to birds singing at 5-5:30 AM. I have broken the rule several times though because of visiting some club, cafe, or other Friday evening places with my friends.
A month later, these are the changes:
The left photo is of me before I started to fight my problematic sleep. The right photo is of me at the end of the experiment.
- I lost weight: Night sittings in front of my laptop were usually followed by munching some cookies or eating sandwiches. But in the morning, I rarely had an appetite so my first meal usually took place at midday. Having changed my regime, I stopped eating at nights and started to have regular breakfasts at 8 AM. The result was minus 5 lb.
- I started to look better: I didn’t instantly look 15 years younger like my neighbor, but my skin color has definitely become much more even (probably that was the effect of morning masks that I started to apply regularly). I got rid of my undereye bags and my overall facial expression became more relaxed.
- I was able to do more things: Before the experiment, I didn’t believe that a person’s ability or wish to do something can be affected by the part of the day. But earlier, I used to start working on writing articles at 10-11 AM only and usually finished the rough copy by the evening of the same day — or even by the next morning. During the experiment, I started writing articles at 7-8 AM and had a rough copy by the afternoon. Moreover, I started doing it with a clear understanding of what I should do instead of having a mess in my head that I used to have before.
- I started to spend less time on the internet: Earlier, I used to devote my time from 9 PM till midnight to watching TV shows and checking social media. Sometimes, I could stay up even later because when the time is late, you can’t do many things but still don’t want to sleep. Now I devote only one hour in the evening to surfing the internet. Sometimes, I feel as if something is missing but I haven’t figured out yet whether it is good or bad.
I have decided not to get back to my previous regime even before getting the results of the experiment. All because I fell in love with mornings! It is such a nice feeling to go to the balcony early in the morning, listen to birds singing, and to watch the city wake up. So I decided to become an early bird. Moreover, it turned out that such people live longer.
But despite all the obvious advantages of such a regime, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. I think it’s a similar situation to loving olives — people start loving them at a different age (or not loving at all.) But if you also decide to do it, now you know what to do to switch off your laptop without any hesitations and how to go to bed at 10:30 PM!
Are you a night owl or an early bird? Have you ever made drastic changes to your health regime? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!