I was nine years old.  My problem, I could not fall asleep right away.  Two to four hours to fall asleep.  We talked to the doctor and the doctor then did what doctors do now.  “Here, take this little green pill before bed time”.  Great!  At age nine I am taking a pill.  When I reach my mother’s age I will need a steam shovel to get them all in.  This is not good!

What I came up with about three or so years later is using a cassette tape of an audio book to help me fall to sleep.  The tapes were 90 minutes total or about 45 minutes a side.  Add an “auto-shutoff” cassette player and know you know how I fell to sleep between ages 12-20.  In college I had room mates so I had to do without.  But at least I got rid of the little green pill!!!

Today I use audible audio books connected thru a Kindle Fire HD tablet to computer speakers powered by a “tap for an hour” AC switch.  The Kindle Fire HD has a great sleep function in the audible audio book player but makes noises from time to time at night.  The “tap for an hour” AC switch goes off with the sleep timer.

But recently I have discovered I think the best “sleep help” ever.  Probably about age nine we got a TV in the home.  “Black and White” was actually kind of a blueish white on dark green.  So perhaps the blue light from the TV had been talking to the “blue light” detector cells in my eyes telling my body to stay in “daytime mode” thus suppressing the changes which would bring on sleep?  So now when I put on my “blue blocker” sun glasses and hat about two hours later I yawn.  This is part of what many are calling “chrono therapy” (blue blockers at night and bright light in the morning).  Simply it gives the body the correct light signals for it to know what time of day it is and so what mode (daytime or nighttime) it should move into acting as both trigger and syncing tool for many of our body’s circadian rhythms.  It is nice to be thus enabled to feel the natural “sleep pressure” again!

I find that the “physical exertion level for the day” also affects the “sleep pressure” signal.  I strive for 10,000 steps a day.  My actual over all average is around 7,000 steps a day.  At around 10,000 steps a day I do feel a bit of added “sleep pressure” as I go to bed at night which aids getting to sleep (less time to fall asleep).  Less than 7,000 steps in the day and it becomes noticeably harder to get to sleep.  And more than 20,000 steps a day seems to often make it harder to get to sleep.

Along the way I also discovered that a warm bottom and back help bring on sleep.  I am glad for hands and arms which are consistently warm.  They do the job of warming up these parts very well.

10 minutes low level exercise on the treadmill also tends to warm things up and bring on sleep sooner for me.

No blue light in the bed room.  Indeed almost no light at all.  I like a dark room and it helps me get to sleep.

A quiet bed room.

A bit of pure niacin with a “mini-meal”.  This may well have to do with my breathing control system which is likely sometimes starved (well, parts of it) of circulation and causes me to over breath at night.  It seems to come back on line well with the added circulation facilitated by the niacin.

A bit of raw veggies near bed time (no dressing).  My tummy seems happy to have a little something to work on I think.