For the entirety of January this year, I stopped sleeping. I don’t fully know why. All I know is that I it felt like it would last forever.
I would lie awake for hours. Sleep wouldn’t come. If I got a quick snatch of restless sleep, less than twenty minutes later I was bolt upright and wide awake.
I was exhausted. And desperate.
I had insomnia during my teenage years. I thought that was bad. But that was nothing in comparison to this insomnia.
But, after a ton of experimentation, I fixed the problem. I cured my insomnia. I now sleep like a comatose brick. And I did it without prescription medication.
Here’s how I cured my insomnia. If you’re having trouble sleeping right now, try out my recommendations below. Some of the recommendations might be enough on their own but trying them out in combination is sure to be really effective as a combination approach will address any physical and psychological issues that may be causing your insomnia.
It should go without saying that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advise. Consider this entertainment only and do your due diligence.
How I cured the worst insomnia of my life
When you have insomnia, everything in your life suffers.
You can’t concentrate. Your productivity goes way down. Your stomach hurts. You’re irritable and snap at loved ones. You have no patience and your happiness is a distant dream.
You can keep complaining about how you “can’t sleep” or you can actually take action.
I’m not going massively into the science of why the following suggestions worked to cure my insomnia. That’s mental masturbation and it ain’t my thing. When I have a problem, all I want to know is how do I fix it?
Well, here is how you fix it. Here’s how I got my sleep back.
1 – Take Phenibut for a psychological reset
Phenibut is a depressant and an analogue of GABA (the stuff that makes you feel all happy and is released when you drink alcohol).
It has been around for a while and is commonly used as a nootropic and to help treat anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, depression, stress, and alcoholism.
It’s legal in many countries (including USA, Canada, and UK) and freely available to buy over the internet.
Depending on how much you take, it feels kinda like a benzo or a glass of wine.
Although it’s legal in many countries, phenibut is serious stuff so be super careful. You can overdose and you can become extremely dependent very quickly. You really shouldn’t take it more than a couple of times a week (and even that’s pushing it, in my opinion).
But if you use phenibut responsibly, it can be a very valuable psychological reset for insomnia.
You know how it is when you’ve had insomnia for more than a few days. Even if your insomnia was caused by something physical (e.g. period pains, sciatica, IBS), you start to get a psychological complex about sleeping.
You start to worry, “I hope I can sleep tonight… I bet I can’t sleep tonight… I know it’s gonna be a bad night…”
It’s a vicious circle and suddenly you’re locked into weeks, maybe months, of nasty insomnia.
But phenibut can give you a psychological reset. Firstly, it has very real physical properties that will make you feel content, carefree, happy, and sleepy. If you take phenibut properly, when your head hits the pillow, you will fall into a deep, deep sleep and will wake up with a beautiful afterglow that carries through the next day and helps you sleep well again the next night.
After dosing with phenibut once, you’re practically guaranteed to get two nights of great sleep and that is the perfect amount to break the psychological complex. You won’t worry about getting not sleeping and, therefore, you will continue to sleep soundly.
I’ve tried a lot of different phenibut brands before but I believe the best phenibut on the market is Primaforce Phenibut.
You can buy Primaforce Phenibut over at iHerb. If you use my iHerb coupon code BEN0556, you will save 10% off your first order.
Follow the phenibut dosing advice on the bottle and make sure you’re being sensible. Don’t do anything crazy. Take the right amount and you’ll feel awesome and get a good night’s sleep. Take too much and you’ll probably puke.
I’ll tell you how I dose phenibut but take my advice with a grain of salt. I’m a 220lb man with a monstrous tolerance to a lot of substances. If it’s your first time taking phenibut or you weigh a lot less than me, take an evaluative dose (~250-500mg) and wait a few hours before re-dosing.
My phenibut dosing regime:
- Take 750mg of phenibut on an empty stomach immediately after waking with caffeine (Monster or a strong black coffee is good).
- Wait an hour or so before eating.
- Wait ~3 hours, evaluate how I’m feeling, then re-dose with another 500mg.
- Wait a few more hours and potentially re-dose with another 250-500mg.
It takes 3-5 hours to actually feel phenibut and then after that it lasts a while and you’ll feel it the next day. So don’t take it and then decide to take more if you don’t feel anything right away. That could easily lead to an overdose or at least a serious case of the spinny-pukeies.
2 – Follow the Wim Hof Method
I have already written extensively on the Wim Hof Method and how awesome it is for battling almost any problem you face in life.
- Wim Hof Method Review (5 weeks in and life is great)
- How Writers Can Improve Their Writing With The Wim Hof Method
The funny thing is that the month I had the worst insomnia of my life is the month I slacked off on the Wim Hof Method.
I was so busy and undergoing a few different life changes (don’t ask) so I wasn’t as committed to the breathing meditation, cold showers, and stretching as I once was.
But as soon as I started doing the breathing exercises and taking the cold showers again, my sleep returned to it’s normal patterns.
If you’re suffering from insomnia, do yourself a massive favour and watch the following video. Do the breathing exercises in the video, then take a contrast shower, alternating between hot and cold every 30 seconds, then do some yoga.
If you do that routine in the morning, I can practically guarantee that you will have a beautiful sleep later that night. Even if it doesn’t help your sleep, you will at the very least feel extremely calm, less pissy because of sleep deprivation, and better able to concentrate throughout your day.
3 – Take magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc
This is just a scattergun approach here and it aims to treat insomnia on a physical level.
I didn’t get any blood-work done but I assumed, seeing as I’ve spent the last few months living in wet, dark, and depressing England and freezing cold Canada, that I am deficient in vitamin D – the sunshine and happiness vitamin.
I also took a guess that I was deficient in magnesium because…
- Most people are deficient in magnesium without even knowing it.
- I had crazy painful cramps and restless leg syndrome.
And I thought I might be deficient in zinc because I hadn’t been eating much red meat recently and was suffering from low energy.
So I went out and bought magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc and followed this dosing schedule:
- 5,000 iu of vitamin D first thing in the morning
- 30 mg of zinc in the morning/early afternoon with food
- 150 mg of magnesium citrate at night with food
- Foot soak/whole body warm bath in the evening with epsom salts
You’ll know you were originally deficient in these minerals and vitamins and you’ll know they’re working because….
- You’ll feel happy
- You’ll feel horny
- You will SLEEP
Seriously, magnesium is my favourite out of these supplements because just 30 minutes after ingesting it, your muscles feel loose. You feel relaxed. You feel calm. Anxiety floats away.
I recommend the following brands:
4 – Experiment with adaptogens
Once again, this is just treating the physical side of insomnia and not touching on the psychological component. But I do believe that if you can get a handle on the physical side of things, it makes sorting out psychological stuff a lot easier.
I love adaptogens. I’ve been taking them on and off for over a year now and I find that whatever I’m struggling with, they help me reach a base level of “normal”.
My favourites, and the ones that particularly helped this bout of insomnia, are:
I’ve written more extensively on the topic of adaptogens here:
I didn’t mention Valerian in that article so I’ll mention here that it’s best taken in the afternoon or the evening. Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It will likely make you relaxed and sleepy. It’s not as powerful as phenibut (none of these things are) but it is a nice, natural little helper.
5 – Read fiction before bed
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the worst insomnia of my life coincided with a time where I was reading work emails on my mobile phone right before bed.
I know. Dumb, right?
We all know that jazz about how bright artificial lights stimulate the pineal gland and make your brain think it’s day-time when you should be sleeping…. And yet we are still are own worst enemies.
But seriously, if you really want to cure your insomnia, you need to turn off your screens ~2 hours before you want to sleep.
- Turn off the TV.
- Turn off the smartphone.
- Sit back and relax with an old-fashioned book.
Choose fiction. Non-fiction will just stimulate your brain. You want a good story to make you relax and get lost in a different world.
Here are a few fiction suggestions that have worked for me recently:
- Zoo by James Patterson
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
- Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
- The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille
- Where Are The Children? by Mary Higgins Clark
Fanboy side-note: Neil Gaiman recently retweeted me because of what I said about “Norse Mythology”. I still can’t get over that.
A few people have asked me my opinion on using a Kindle eReader before bed. After all, it’s a screen. Does it have the same sleep-disrupting effect as a smartphone, tablet, or computer?
When I cured my insomnia, I actually put down my smartphone and moved over to the Kindle. The light is not the same as the one you get from your phone and it shouldn’t disrupt your sleep. I find it much easier to get into a good book when reading on the Kindle because you can turn the “pages” faster and it’s easier to hold than a book.
So, knock yourself out. Literally. Get a Kindle. I recommend the Paperwhite.
6 – Get a really high quality bed
I’m a fat bastard.
Years of sleeping in the same position on the same bed resulted in a massive divot right down the middle that made it all the more difficult to sleep and resulted in neck, back, and shoulder pain upon waking.
So I traded in that bed and got a much higher quality one. One of those memory foam thingies. The sort of thing that conforms to YOUR unique body type.
It was a night and day difference. I slept like a roofied baby and woke up feeling refreshed and not like some ogre had just bludgeoned me from behind.
I also recommend you check out Nectar Sleep. They’ve got some crazy good deals and great reviews. I’m getting one for my new apartment in a few months.
7 – Drink an apple cider vinegar and honey mix
I got this recommendation from Tim Ferriss.
- Hot, non-caffeinated tea
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
This suggestion works insanely well and you’ll probably be out like a light.
But I do have a few personal caveats that I found out the hard way. It might just be unique to me, but I would keep the following in mind:
- Hot drinks before bed might have the opposite of the intended effect. Maybe it’s just me but I psychologically associate hot drinks with waking up (e.g. morning coffee/tea). So I personally found this mixture to be more effective distilled in water.
- Mega-dosing apple cider vinegar can fuck up your stomach. Start off with a smaller amount at first. I did the 2 tablespoons when I wasn’t used to it and my stomach gurgled so much I had to take a buscopan.
- Honey is magical. I really think honey is the main helper in this concoction because I sometimes just have a spoonful of honey before bed and it still helps me sleep.
8 – Confine your worries to the page
After I started writing out 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness worries first thing in the morning, my insomnia disappeared.
You might not realise it consciously but there are probably some mental issues causing your insomnia.
- You might be worried about money.
- You might be worried about your relationships.
- You might be worried about your future or hung up on your past.
The solution is simple.
Write down your thoughts. It might seem silly at first but soon some patterns will emerge. You’ll discover what’s troubling you, you’ll trap your concerns on the page, and you might even see some solutions.
If this suggestion works for you, I recommend you check out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. That’s where I got this idea and many more great suggestions.
Now go sleep! Cure your insomnia now!
You’ve just read a powerful program for curing insomnia. All of these suggestions work well together to tackle both the physical and psychological components of insomnia.
It was these suggestions that helped me cure the worst insomnia of my life in just a few days. These suggestions are crazily powerful. But they won’t do a thing if you just read about them and don’t apply them.
Now you know how to cure insomnia, you have to go and do it.
Sweet dreams 🙂