How to get a good night’s sleep sounds like a silly question if you’ve never struggled with it.
When I was younger I had no problem sleeping at all.
I’m a night owl. As a teenager, I remember staying up ’til 3 or 4 in the morning and then sleeping in until 2pm in the afternoon.
That only happened on the weekends of course.
But the fact I could sleep 10-12 hours straight made me think I’d never struggle with sleep.
Fast forward 20 years and sleep eludes me…. well, it used to.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through mys story. I”ll share what I’ve learned, what I’ve tried, what worked, and what didn’t work.
Then you’ll understand how to get a good night’s sleep easily without drugs and medication.
Note: This is my story and what worked for me but it’s worked for many of my friends who struggled with the same issues of insomnia.
How Much Sleep Does a Person Need?
Traditionally, they say 8, but my story is a bit different, maybe you can relate.
As I mentioned, I get stay up late because I’m a night owl. Ever since I was little I got my 2nd wind about 6-7pm and sometimes even alter.
I have always felt more awake and alive in the evening than any other time of the day.
Even when I’m running on fumes, I have more energy at night and I just don’t want to go to sleep early.
Most the time I have to force myself to lie down because I know morning is coming.
I try to be in bed early enough to get at least 5 hours of sleep. If I can do that, I’ll function fairly well.
My wife always comments on how ridiculously little sleep I need in order to function.
In fact, if I get too much sleep, (like more 7 hours) I will actually feel worst than if I only got 5 or 6.
I’m not sure why, but 6 hours is about the perfect amount for me.
I’ve tried the 8 hour a night thing… I felt worst.
Don’t get me wrong, when I can sleep, I love sleeping in.
But after 8 hours, I don’t want to get up at all and I drag all day.
The bigger problem though, is what happens when it’s time to sleep… and I can’t sleep.
Over time, I started really struggling to fall asleep or I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep because I would start thinking about….
Work… family… money… job… kids… what I had for dinner…. how tired I will be if I can’t go back to sleep.
Seriously, I will think about anything and everything.
Once I start thinking about something I can’t turn it off.
How do you get a good night’s sleep if your brain just won’t shut off?
I started like most people do by looking for a simple solution.
I started with Google….
Wind Down Before Bedtime
This strategy (according to some random blog post like this one) included a 4 prong approach:
- Stop all intake of caffeine up to 8 hours before bed
- Stop use of electronics before bed (TV, computer, smartphone, etc.)
- Read before going to sleep
- Listen to Relaxing Music
These didn’t work for me.
For one thing, I’m a diet mountain dew junkie so #1 on the list would be a problem.
I can take a nap after a cup of coffee so I doubted limiting caffeine would help much anyway.
But I did attempt it and I was right.
It didn’t really help and it wasn’t sustainable.
(keep in mind I did all these in combination)
I moved onto reading.
I like reading, so this caused problems because I’d rather pause a show 10 minutes in than stop a chapter halfway through.
Plus, it didn’t make me tired. It actually woke me up some more, especially if I liked the book I was reading.
I read pretty much all non-fiction books that are full of great ideas.
So it just gets my brain going at that time of night and I start thinking about how to implement the ideas.
So reading was quickly removed as a solution.
How about stopping the use of electronics.
Sounds good on the surface.
This one is difficult because I like to decompress from my day with a television show or documentary.
Besides that, it didn’t work.
Lastly, how about the sleep hack about relaxing music?
Well, my wife has relaxing music going every night so it was already part of my life.
It didn’t work either.
So there I was at square one.
It was time to move on to my own strategy and I think it’s a strategy everyone who can’t sleep tries at some point…
Knock Yourself Out for Better Sleep
Melatonin as a Sleep Aid
I’m a fan of the all natural. So I started with something our bodies make anyway… melatonin.
The problem was, if I took 5 mg or more it wrecked my sleep.
1-3 mg of melatonin seemed to help a little at first, but not much.
Soon, it wasn’t helping so that was off the table.
NyQuil or ZzzQuil for A Good Night’s Sleep
At some point you get desperate.
At this point in my sleep journey, I was definitely desperate.
It was time to bring some bigger fire power.
So I started taking NyQuil and also ZzzQuil when it was released.
I think the company realized people were using NyQuil for sleep and that’s they released ZzzQuil.
Anyway, it definitely put me to sleep.
The problem was, I woke up groggy and foggy headed and I don’t think those are meant to be taken every day for the rest of your life.
I have to be alert at work and those made me not alert.
For the most part, I just didn’t like how it made me feel.
Alcohol for Sleep
I’m not big on alcohol at this point in my life.
But again, I was desperate so I self-medicated to induce sleep with alcohol.
My drink of choice was wine but I’m sure everybody has their favorite.
I started doing it occasionally when things were really bad, but it did slow my thought process and allow me to sleep.
However, alcohol for sleep was not good for me for a few reasons.
First, I usually drank more than I should to make sure I fell asleep (and it’s easy to do).
Secondly, alcohol made me munchy and hungry, I found myself eating and watching TV late at night before going to bed, which started to cause weight gain.
I want to sleep, but I don’t want to be fatter than I already am.
Third, I had to get up and go to work early in the morning.
I don’t want to have a hangover going to work or smell like alcohol.
Fourth, the solution to sleep (which needs to occur every night) cannot be to drink every night.
That’s a bad idea on so many levels and I have no desire to turn my lack of sleep into an addiction.
So that solution didn’t last long either before I ruled it out.
So… You Have Insomnia?
At some point, desperation leads to medical advice.
If you can’t sleep, eventually you have to get help.
I thought, maybe serious insomnia is a medical condition.
If so, maybe there’s a solution for how to get a good night’s sleep in the form of a safe prescription.
At that point, I went to the doctor to explore treatment options.
The lack of sleep was driving me crazy.
As I mentioned, I already run pretty solid on 5 hours of sleep.
But when it gets cut to 4, 3, 2, 1… or none for multiple days…. I can’t hack it.
After discussing the issue with my doctor, she said I had textbook insomnia.
She prescribed Ambien, I got it filled, and the rest is history…. right?
Not so fast.
I did get it filled and I started taking it every night before bed.
Do Not Take Ambien for Sleep! (Horrible Side Effects)
Try anything else on this list I’ve given you so far… even alcohol if you want.
But do not try Ambien.
I am amazed at what the drug companies can get approved to sell legally in this country.
Ambien falls into a drug class called sedative-hypnotic drugs.
I didn’t know that before I took it and even if I did, it wouldn’t have meant much to me.
The sedative part sounds good.
After a few weeks of taking Ambien for sleep, I noticed some strange things.
First, I was tired all the time.
Also, my mood was all over the place but even more importantly, I started having a loss of memory usually at night.
My wife would mention conversations she had with me and I wouldn’t remember any of it.
I assumed I was taking in my sleep when she came to bed so I didn’t worry too much.
I don’t talk in my sleep but I thought maybe it was a side effect.
Here’s another interesting thing I noticed.
At that time I was binge watching the Walking Dead.
If you’re not a fan, I’m understand.
I used to make fun of my older kids for watching it and then one night there was literally nothing else to watch… two episode in and I had to watch the entire series.
I challenge you to give it 3-4 episodes before judging. 🙂
Okay, back to my story…
There were parts of the Walking Dead series that would sometimes seem familiar, like Deja vu.
Then one night, my wife asked me why I keep watching the same episodes over every day.
I had no idea what she was talking about.
She told me I would stay up late watching some episodes and then the next day when I got home I would rewatch them.
Come to find out, I wasn’t always staying in bed after taking my Ambien.
I would tell my wife I was going to bed, go upstairs, get ready for bed, take my Ambien medication, and then either go back downstairs or be watching television when she came to bed.
If she said “I thought you were going to bed” I would tell her I changed my mind.
Here’s the thing.
I thought I was going to bed.
In fact, for weeks I thought I had been sleeping.
I had been eating in the kitchen and watching the Walking Dead, but I had no memory of any of it.
This absolutely freaked me out!
It also explained why I was still super tired everyday- I wasn’t actually sleeping.
I jumped online and started reading Ambien horror stories.
People who went on drives under the influence, hit and killed people, and were arrested or left the scene… and they had no memory of doing it.
Ambien should be yanked from the market and as soon as I realized what was happening, I yanked it from my life.
If you really want to know how to get a good nights sleep, I can tell you that Ambien is NOT the solution.
Back to the doctor I went.
Xanax for Sleep
Next my doctor tried to prescribe anti-depressants.
In my college years I went through a horrible bout of depression and was put on all types of medication.
They made me numb and had other side effects.
I vehemently denied taking those.
So she wanted to prescribe Xanax.
I couldn’t take that and here’s why.
In my late 20’s I was getting physically sick at work.
I could still do my job but I had physical pain, stomach aches, headaches, etc.
My doctor at the time (different doctor) said it was anxiety and I said he was crazy, I didn’t feel anxious at all.
He prescribed Xanax and told told me if it wasn’t working after 2 days to stop taking it and come see him again.
But if he was right, my physical symptoms would go away.
To make a long story short, he was right so I kept taking Xanax and thought life was good.
Big problem, he started me on a regiment of taking doses every 3-4 hours.
So I was popping Xanax all day long for months.
I was a teacher at the time.
During the summer I went to a professional development event that was out of my county on the other side of the state during a long weekend.
Most businesses, including my doctors office, had Monday off.
We arrived on a Friday and I realized that night I had run out of Xanax and I hadn’t filled my prescription.
This was the first time I had ever run out but I didn’t think anything of it.
All I thought was, hopefully I’ll sleep good this weekend and I can get this filled on Tuesday when we get back in town.
Little did I know the next 3 days were going to be pure hell.
Xanax Side Effects & Detox
I have heard of detox.
I’ve heard of physical and mental addiction.
I have never been through anything (before or since) like the detox my body went through from not having Xanax.
What seemed like a great solution to my anxiety had become a living hell.
I was physically in paid, I was on the floor at times, and I was in mental anguish.
I actually thought I was dying but even worse was that I thought I was going crazy.
My mind was racing and the mental anguish was as bad or worst than the physical anguish.
We called every emergency number we could find to try to get a prescription filled because our doctor office was closed and they didn’t have an emergency line.
In case you’re wondering… calling up random doctors and telling them you really need a prescription to be filled right now for Xanax will not get you a prescription.
That weekend was one of the worst and scariest weekends of my life.
By Sunday night, things were at least manageable but by then I had decided that anxiety or not, I would not be filling that prescription and would not be taking Xanax anymore.
How’s this Relates to a Good Night’s Sleep?
As I mentioned before, I wasn’t a fan of prescription drugs before the Ambien.
My previous experience with anti-depressants is what caused apprehension about medication in general.
It was my first experience with Xanax though that kept me from going to the doctor for so long even though I was experiencing a horrible lack of sleep.
Of course, the Ambien prescription sealed the deal for me.
I firmly believe that prescription meds are only legal because of the drug lobbyist, it has nothing to do with their safety.
I’ve had 3 times in my life I’ve taken medication.
- Clinical depression in college
- Anxiety causing physical symptoms in my late 20’s.
- Lack of Sleep and Insomnia
All three times ended with me stopping medication because of serious side effects.
So the point is, doctors and western medicine, which is where most people run first, don’t always have solutions.
Plus, the solutions they do have can be dangerous and unsafe (to say the least).
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without Drugs
That left me and leaves with the same questions we started with.
How to get a good nights sleep?
How to get a good nights sleep without drugs?
How to get a good nights sleep naturally?
How to cure Insomnia?
Can you easily get a good nights sleep?
So what did I eventually do?
To be honest, I stopped looking and I survived the best I could.
I was tired, moody, emotional, and in a mental fog.
Then one day, my buddy and I were talking and he told me about a product he was taking called…
Wait for it…
He swore by it and I didn’t have anything to lose.
It was all natural and it had some ingredients I had heard of before, like melatonin.
Like I said, melatonin by itself didn’t work for me but I didn’t have much to lose at this point.
How to Get SLEEP
I was a little apprehensive because it came from one of those home business companies (like Mary Kay, Avon, pampered chef, etc.).
The company was called Vasayo.
I ordered some sleep and the rest is history.
I take it every night right before I go to bed.
I sleep all night.
I have vivid dreams.
I wake up refreshed.
It’s a liquid product you squirt in your mouth and it is the only thing that works for me without crazy or dangerous side effects.
The recommended dosage is 4 squirts of the product.
I only take 1-2, so the bottle lasts me 2-3 months which comes out to less than $1.00 a day.
I’d pay way more than that for consistent, good, quality sleep.
To say this product has changed my life is an understatement.
I actually order 2 bottles at a time.
When one is out, I order more so I am never without the product.
I even became a distributor, so if you order from this link I will get a small kickback (like $8).
But that’s not why I do it, I don’t need the $8.
I’ll take it, but I don’t need it.
I do this because I know there are other people out there who are struggling with how to get a good nights sleep just like I was.
If you’ve never struggled with it, you don’t understand.
I tell my team, it’s not the sexiest or most exciting product in the world… unless you struggle with sleep.
Then, it’s the best product you’ve ever taken!
Final Thoughts on How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This story has some personal pieces to it and some parts I was uncomfortable sharing online.
But I shared anyway.
My hope is that my story will help you in some way.
If it helps just one person stay away from Ambien or Xanax it will be worth it.
If it helps just one person who is drinking themselves into oblivion out of desperation, realize there’s a better (and healthier) way to get to sleep… it will be worth it.
If you’re struggling with how to get a good nights sleep but are skeptical. I understand.
I would suggest you keep an open mind and take a small, one-time risk.
I don’t know why it works so well or how the ingredients work together to help a person sleep.
I also don’t know anybody whose tried it and not had a positive experience with it.
All I know is it works for me (after many things didn’t) and it might work for you.
It changed my life and while I can’t guarantee anything, there’s a chance it could help you and be your solution to how to get a good nights sleep as well.
If you’re like I was, that small chance is worth taking the tiny risk of trying out the product.
On another note, I like to end all my blog posts by giving you the chance to experience the joy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Simply click the link to start a relationship with Jesus Christ your Savior.
Jason & Daniele
P.S. If you’d like to be a distributor and get a kickback for recommending the product, you can learn more about doing that here.