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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hopkins

Sleep... The Final Frontier.

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Throughout my entire life, I have experienced persistent sleep problems. In my early years, I endured terrifying nightmares featuring a character I called "Tornado Man." Living in St. Louis, where the storms were notoriously intense, the sight of dark green clouds would easily unsettle any child. Surprisingly, during my teenage years, I found some relief and was able to sleep better. At that time, my doctor prescribed Pyribenzamine, although it's not commonly used nowadays, as there are newer hay fever medications favored by physicians.

After discontinuing the medication while I was in San Diego in 1980, I didn't notice any sleep issues. It's interesting how sleep problems can creep up on you over the years without much thought. San Diego's pleasant weather may have contributed to alleviating my allergies, but that alone doesn't account for my entire experience.

Apart from having a mild form of ADHD that drove my family crazy during my childhood (I was even leashed at the New York World's Fair), I also have sensitivities to certain foods. The early allergy medications helped control my allergies, but they also had a sedating effect that helped my family manage my hyperactivity.

Despite undergoing various treatments such as sleep apnea machines, uvula removal, two sinus surgeries, and multiple sleep studies, no conclusive answers emerged. I had no clue about the underlying cause of my sleep troubles.

Then, three years ago, my doctor (Dr. G!) prescribed Hydroxyzine, which partially resolved my issues, but there was still progress to be made in understanding the root problem.

About a year ago, I started developing rashes on my hands, and none of the remedies seemed to work. My father had experienced similar rashes, indicating a hereditary component. However, back then, sensitivity tests like the ones available today were not accessible. I believe everyone should undergo a sensitivity test to identify substances their body may not tolerate. Nowadays, these tests are affordable and can be conducted at home. You simply prick your finger, swipe it on a test paper, and send it in. The results are usually delivered via email within a week. It's a straightforward process.

In the past year, by adjusting my diet and eliminating all the items on my "no-go" list, my rashes have vanished. Additionally, I can now enjoy a consistent eight hours of sleep almost every night, sometimes even longer. On one occasion, I even slept for ten hours! It's been a significant transformation for me.

This remarkable change has had a profound impact on my personality. I find myself much calmer than ever before, unaffected by trivial matters. Even my ADHD symptoms have greatly subsided. My thinking is clearer, I'm more motivated, and I've become a more enjoyable person to be around. My friends have noticed this positive shift in me!

Engaging in activities like biking, pickleball, painting, simulators, walks, and working on household projects has become immensely enjoyable. Finally, I am truly savoring life! Moreover, the discomfort in my fingers has diminished. I attribute this improvement to eliminating unhealthy foods from my diet, which has contributed to calming down my immune system. A more balanced immune response can alleviate stiffness in the hands (Arthritis). I'm ecstatic to have finally resolved these issues! Recently, I took the initiative to install an air conditioner in my bedroom, ensuring a consistent nighttime temperature ranging from 66°F to 67°F, which has proven crucial for obtaining high-quality sleep. The confirmation of this positive change comes from my trusted Garmin watch, which indicates that after years of struggling with sleep, I now enjoy peaceful and rejuvenating slumber, experiencing the right balance of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Woohoo!

My list of Fall/Winter things that I do to help me get better sleep:

Updated: 12/27/2023

1. Maintain the bedroom temperature at 63°F.

2. Wear gym socks unless the bedroom temperature exceeds 66°F.

3. Keep daily salt intake below 1800 mg.

4. Opt for light pajama bottoms; switch to heavier ones if the outside temperature drops below 30°F.

5. Consume 69 oz of water before 5:00 pm.

6. Diffuse Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, and Ylang Ylang essential oils.

7. Steam sinuses by adding Sea Salt to boiling water from an electric tea pot; use a towel to cover your head.

8. Avoid eating after 6:00 pm.

9. Take three 100 mg chewable Magnesium before bedtime.

10. Take chewable D3 before bedtime.

11. Consume two Cortisol Manager pills before bedtime.

12. Take two Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for Older Men before bedtime.

13. Take two prescribed Hydroxyzine before bedtime, as prescribed by your doctor.

14. Aim for a daily exercise expenditure of at least 400-500 calories.

15. Use a fan to create white noise for better sleep.

16. Daytime food intake: 3 cups of lettuce, Walnuts, Montmorency Dried Tart Cherries (from Amazon), and Tiny Shrimp.

17. Consume 15 grams of Pistachios at lunch and 20 grams at 8:00 pm, being cautious as excessive intake may disrupt deep sleep. Refer to your watch to help determine deep sleep cycles.

18. Spend 15 to 30 minutes in direct sunlight in the morning.

19. When using an iPad for reading, set the desktop to a black background and use the Kindle app with a black background and white/gray text.

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