TeeJaw Blog

Five Keys To A Good Nights Sleep — And Three Others That Might Actually Work

Posted in Culture by TeeJaw on Sunday, January 8, 2012, 11: 10 AM

John Hawkins at PJ Lifestyle offers his prescription for solving your sleep problem.  That’s assuming you have a sleep problem, but just about everyone does (except teenagers).  Consider yourself darn lucky if you don’t.

Here are the five keys Hawkins suggests:

  • Get a good bed;
  • Stay off your bed except when you want to go to sleep;
  • Make the room the way you want it, cold, hot, whatever;
  • If you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, just tough it out;
  • Relax before you go to bed.

OK, at this point you’re either laughing or shaking your head.  I like John Hawkins’ website, The Right Scoop, because it is informative and usually has breaking news of interest to conservatives and sensible libertarians, of both the small “l” and the capital “L” type.  His sleep prescriptions might work for him but probably aren’t of much help to many others, mainly because you’re probably already doing most of those things and you still wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep.

I’d guess that restless period in the middle of what should be a good night’s sleep is the worst sleep problem anyone has.  The only thing to be said for it is that you can get a lot of reading done between midnight and 4:00 AM.  You could even clean the house, or count your socks, or straighten out all the cords on your computer desk.  But the thing you really want to do is go back to sleep.  So here’s my advice on how to do that.  It’s what I do and it works for me.  Well, most of the time.  Nothing works all the time.

My first approach is to avoid the 2:00 or 3:00 AM wakeup altogether.  I’ve found two things that will do that for me.

Advil PM is amazing.   So is Tylenol PM, but your liver won’t like it if you ingest to much acetaminophen, especially if you also drink alcohol.  Advil PM won’t upset your stomach or rot out any other organ in your body.  As a non-steroid, anti-inflammatory pain reliever you get other benefits besides whatever it has in it to put you to sleep.

Costco sells something under it’s Kirkland private label called “Sleep Aid.”  The stuff works like you can’t believe.  Just don’t take it too late or you’ll be late for work the next day even though you’ll feel great.  It gives you about a half hour to read your book before you’re zonked for the next 6 or 8 hours.  If you need to wake up in the night for any reason, such as to answer a phone call from your kid away at college, you’ll be able to go back to sleep afterwards, depending on what the phone call was about of course.  Whatever is in those pills it keeps on working and it lets you interrupt your sleep and then resume.  If there is no Costco where you live, maybe because you live in Wyoming or something, no problem. You can buy everything they sell online.  If there’s no Costco anywhere in your state, such as Wyoming, you’ll even save paying sales tax.

These pills are not controlled substances, they are sold to anyone over the counter because they don’t contain anything that will get you high and they are not addictive or habit forming.  There is one caveat.  If you rely on them too heavily they may cease to work for you.  I’ve got you covered on that too.  Read on.

Don’t take either the Advil PM or the Sleep Aid every night.  Get a couple of good night’s sleep and then wing it for a couple of nights.  You may find that you’ll sleep pretty well without the pills.  If not, there’s melatonin.  You could take melatonin when you go to bed instead of the Advil PM or the Sleep Aid, but I’ve found that if you take it at 10:00 PM you’ll still wake up in the middle of the night.  At least that’s my experience.  So I suggest taking nothing when you first go to bed and take the melatonin at 2:00 or 3:00 AM, or whenever you find yourself awake.  That should give you another 4 hours of restful rapid eye-movement and dream-filled sleep.  Just don’t take it at 5:00 AM if you need to be at work at 8:00 AM.  I’ve found that melatonin takes a little longer to work so you can get some reading done while you’re waiting for it to kick in.

Those are the things that work for me, and they may or may not work for you, but it’s worth a try.  These remedies are a lot better than getting a prescription from your doctor for sleeping pills, in my view.  You can easily become dependent on prescription sleeping pills so that you can’t ever sleep without them.  I think that’s too high a price to pay for a fix to your sleep problem unless you problem is a lot more serious that most people’s.  If you’re a man don’t ever take your wife’s prescription sleeping pills.  Some of them are specific to women and I guarantee you’ll be sorry you took them.  I know.  She forgot to tell me.  It’s illegal as well.

Finally, if none of the above works, here is the sure-fire remedy for sleeplessness.  Go into the living room, turn on the TV, make sure there’s a light on in the room, get into your favorite chair, lean back, makes slits with your eyelids and voila!, you’ll be asleep in no time.

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