Beat Insomnia In 21 Days And 8 Simple Steps With OHL TECHNIQUE
Today I’m going to tell you how I defeated insomnia in 21 days, without taking any medication.
I visited numerous doctors and did even more tests. There was nothing physically wrong with me, but I still couldn’t sleep. Physicians recommended various drugs, but possible side effects were considerable, and I didn’t want to take that risk.
However, constant fatigue affected my social and professional life, so I had to do something about it. So I did my research and came up with a unique recipe that I call “OHL Technique”. It took a lot of habit changing and a little effort, but after 21 days I finally slept like a baby.
So, if you are struggling with insomnia, you came to the right place. Keep reading, and I will present you my approach in detail.
How I Used OHL Technique To Restart My Sleeping Cycle?
As I already mentioned, sleeping pills are not my cup of tea. I don’t judge anyone who uses them, but I simply choose not to.
However, insomnia can leave severe consequences on your health. Between 50 and 70 million Americans chronically suffer from various sleep disorders and insomnia is by far the most common one. This statistic becomes even scarier if you consider the fact that cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss are associated with severe health consequences such as increased risk of depression, diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, obesity, and stroke.
So, even if you want to avoid meds at any cost, you do have to find a way to start sleeping again. Good night’s sleep is priceless. As you already know, that is not a simple task, but if you stay with me, I will explain to you how to deal with it.
I bet you’ve tried many things by now, counting sheep, drinking a warm cup of milk before bed, laying for hours with your eyes closed, changing beds, listening to relaxing music, listening to white noise, using meditation apps and in the end giving up. I did all of those things too.
Soon, I realized the more I was stressing about my lack of sleep, it was less likely I would get some in the end. I decided my key motto will be – “know your enemy,” so I started reading and researching. I learned how to interpret results of scientific studies, I read good and bad advice, visited forums, asked questions, talked to professionals, and everything became clear as a day. I will share the details of my research as I explain the steps of the OHL Technique.
Insomnia is not something that happens out of the blue, and there is not only one definite reason why it occurs. In fact, the interaction of many different factors is what causes your sleep loss in most of the cases. If that is so, it is logical that you won’t be able to “cure” it or defeat it by just changing one or two things in your life.
Yes, change is good, and every step forward counts, but it won’t solve the problem. You have to change the whole set of habits, which means you have to adopt the entire approach, as you will with my eight steps, and not just a few things that seem manageable.
That is how I came up with OHL Technique. Bit by bit, piece by piece, I gathered activities that showed actual result and mixed them in a unique recipe. Now, I sleep like a baby, and I am not worrying because I know, if another insomnia episode happens, I have a cure that works in 21 days.
Of course, when you are striving to form a new habit, three weeks are not enough. You’ll need to practice it for months until it becomes integrated and automatic part of your behavior. However, 21 days are more than enough for the new pattern of behavior to start giving positive outcomes, which is in our case 6-8 hours long, uninterrupted night sleep.
There is another interesting thing about this technique. It will be your primary weapon against insomnia, of course, but it will bring many other benefits too. These are the specific benefits you’ll experience:
With no further ado, let’s dive in into OHL Technique and learn what you should do step by step.
OHL Technique - The Meaty Details
I will write this section in chronological order. We will start from the first thing you should do every time you wake up and finish the last thing you should do before you go to bed.
You will notice that some adjusting don’t necessarily need to be done every day, but I will point them out so you could know which ones you can practice occasionally. All of the other steps need to be repeated continuously, during all three weeks of the program.
Wake up at 7 AM and go to sleep at 11 PM every day. If your working schedule requires, you can adjust your waking up and sleeping time, just make sure you have at least 6-7 hours of “sleep.”
As an insomniac, you probably won’t be awake whole night. Your body needs to rest, and you will fall asleep at some point.
Many people who struggle with this problem end up “binge sleeping” over the weekends, especially if they had a poor sleep during the week. Even though this might be tempting for someone who loses sleep on a daily basis, you should get up at the same time every day. This way, you will train your body to “rise and shine” at a consistent time and become tired at an approximately same time every night.
Additionally, scheduled sleep means you have to organize your activities during the day, so they don’t affect your sleeping. For example, if you go to bed every night at 11 PM, you should avoid having late dinners or snacks.
Your last meal should be around 7 PM. Late night eating and drinking can activate the digestive system and overwhelm the bladder, keeping you awake or disturbing your sleep. This especially goes for people who suffer from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), since this kind of behavior can worsen their symptoms.
Work On Your Daytime Issues - 7 AM – 4 PM
I know, it is impossible to entirely get rid of stress, worries and overthinking. Unfortunately, all of these things affect your condition. I don’t propose you stop worrying altogether, just deal with all of your issues during the daytime, before you go to bed.
Many people contemplate about their life and plan their future when they lay in bed. Don’t do that. Set aside an actual period during the day, ideally after the lunch to review your daily activities and make plans for the next day or week. You can also make a list of work-related tasks, chores, and other responsibilities for the next day. That eliminates one part of your concerns.
However, if you believe you have more complicated issues that can’t be aligned under daily stressors, it is best that you consider participating in cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy achieves excellent results in people with insomnia.
It can help you identify and correct thoughts and beliefs that may contribute to your problem. Also, it will give you the proper information about age-related sleep changes, norms, and help with setting reasonable sleeping goals. However, working on your issues and managing stress is challenging task and needs to be dealt with bit by bit every day.
Adequately Does Your Hedonism – 4 PM – 11 PM
This phase includes several things, which can again be applied to a whole day, but they have a greater role in the afternoon and just before you go to bed.
I call this step “The 2 E’s” – Eat and Eliminate.
I already mentioned timing your dinner properly can affect your sleep. However, it is not just about timing; you have to take care of what you eat too.
Healthy snacks are always a better choice than the junk food, no matter the hour. Don’t eat too many salts and try having frequent and smaller meals instead of one or a few bigger ones.
Eliminate or at least minimize caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake. Even if you think of coffee as one of the most glorious daily pleasures, skip it for the next three weeks.
The caffeine effects can last up to 24 hours, which means it will probably cause not only difficulty falling asleep, but also frequent waking.
On the other hand, alcohol does have a sedative effect, at least for the first few hours after consumption. However, it can cause frequent arousals and non-restful night's sleep.
Another thing you should eliminate are naps. Everybody loves to nap, especially insomniacs as they need a way to recharge and catch up on missed sleep.
Even though naps might seem like a smart idea, they are usually not. They can disrupt organism’s cycle of establishing (and maintaining) a regular sleep pattern. If you do choose to nap after all, it is best that you limit your daytime sleep to 20 minutes, not more than that.
Exercise regularly - Sometimes between 4 PM and 8 PM
Make your bedroom comfortable and apply Feng Shui wisdom – 8 PM – 11 PM
Here’s that one step that doesn’t need to be done every day. Once you create the ideal bedroom conditions, you won’t have to adjust them daily.
For a start, it would be ideal if your bedroom could be physically separated from your living room, kitchen or home office. If you live in a studio apartment, this can be tricky, but it is still manageable.
The most important thing is to control temperature, lighting, and noise. Your bedroom needs to be sleep-friendly.
Pay attention to bed position - If your bed is squashed in a corner, move it. This bed position creates a lopsided room, which according to this traditional Chinese wisdom sheds a negative light on your relationships and stimulates only one side of your brain.
Consider removing pointy and “slicing” decoration - If you have a chandelier or fans on your ceiling, make sure they are not positioned directly above your head, as they can create a “poison arrow” or severe “chopping and slicing” of energy, which disturbs your sleep. Pointy furniture that is directed toward the person who sleeps in the room is also interpreted in this manner, so make sure to go with round edges when it comes to night tables and similar furniture pieces.
Be careful when choosing colors - Also, make sure to decorate your room avoiding red, orange and other fiery colors. These colors are considered to be too loud and aggressive for a bedroom. Some red and orange details are fine, but if you want to have a peaceful sleep make sure that these colors don’t dominate. On the other hand, black walls and floors create a morbid atmosphere which doesn’t benefit your rest either.
Pick a storage space wisely - At last, avoid using the space under your bed to store things. Sleeping atop stored items will stop the energy from flowing. So, if you do have a storage under your bed, make sure to clear it as soon as possible
Relax And Reduce Stress – Sometimes Between 8 PM – 10 pm
After you are done with all of the responsibilities you had for the day, and finished with your exercise, it is time to relax and prepare your body for sleep. I won’t tell you precisely what you should do to complete this step because different methods of relaxation suite different people. However, I will give you a few suggestions.
Many stress reduction methods and relaxation therapies have proven their effectiveness when it comes to insomnia. Progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing techniques combined with meditation, imagery, and biofeedback are all viable options. Warm bubble baths, soaking your feet in the lukewarm water or reading a fun book, sitting in your favorite chair, snuggled in a blanket will work just as well, too.
However, here’s a gentle push for you to consider and start practicing yoga. A study done by Harvard Medical School researchers shows that yoga has a potential to improve sleep among people suffering from different kinds of insomnia and other sleep disorders. They found broad improvements to sleep quality and quantity, including total sleep and wake time, sleep efficiency, and the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
I will give you the instructions on six yoga poses that worked best for me and had been used as sleep medicine by yoga masters for centuries. This session should be done at least one hour before your bedtime, and you should make sure that you don’t fall asleep during the last pose.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Start by kneeling on all fours and then press your bottom up into a pyramid shape. Move your hands ahead of your shoulders and try to create a length in your spine. Use a rolled up blanket or a yoga block if you have one, and place it under your head for support. Put the full weight of your head on the support. Hold this pose for a minute or two, and then drop down onto all fours again. At last, sit back toward the heels. Repeat this pose twice.
2. Legs Up the Wall Pose
Lie comfortably on the floor, with your body parallel to the wall. Lift your legs and place them against the wall, so that your heels are supported, and your hips are few inches away from the wall. Open your arms into a cactus shape and slide a pile of folded blankets under your lower. Close your eyes and relax every muscle in your body. Hold this pose as long as you feel comfortable.
3. Cross-Legged Forward Bend
Place a folded blanket in front of your knees, and sit down cross-legged. Fold your arms and let them on the blanket, with your head facing down and eyes closed. Stay like this as long as you feel comfortable.
4. Bridge Pose
I guess you already know how to perform this pose, but let’s go over it once again. Start lying on your back with your knees a bit bent and feet hip distance apart. Slowly lift your hips and roll the weight of your body onto the upper back. Prepare a bolster, which you will place under your lower back for support. Close your eyes, extend your arms alongside the body and relax.
5. Supported Child’s Pose
Start on all fours, open your knees a bit wider than your hips and slide a stack of blankets or bolster under your torso and head. Turn your cheek to whichever side feels more comfortable, take a few slow breaths and rest for a little bit, then turn to the other side.
6. Corpse Pose
This is the tricky one. Not because it is hard to pull out or physically challenging, but because it really invites you to fall asleep.
Lie on your back, open your arms and legs, palms facing the ceiling. Rock your head from side to side to release the neck and roll the shoulder blades down. Cover your eyes and add a blanket to make this pose even more relaxing.
Even though I emphasized the importance of yoga, remember, the method isn’t relevant; relaxation is what matters. Half an hour can make miracles.
Limit Your Bed Activities - 10 PM -11 PM
Your bed should be a place where you sleep and have sex. Nothing else.
People who suffer from insomnia tend to do a lot of things from their bed while trying to fall asleep – study, chat with a friend, write e-mails, schedule appointments and so on. Stop doing that. If you want to do something, get out of your bed.
The same goes for watching television, listening to the radio or staring at your favorite gadget. In fact, you should turn off all screens at least one hour before your bedtime. All of these activities you do in bed can increase alertness, while electronic screens emit a blue light that disrupts natural melatonin production and makes you awake instead of sleepy. So, no more phones, tablet, or laptops in your bed. This is the last step of the “OHL Technique” but a strict one at the same time, so no negotiation.
There are a few tips that can help you limit the screen time at bedtime. They are pretty straight-forward, and you shouldn’t have any problem following them. Here’s the list of those that outed to be the most effective in my case:
Calming audio instead of exciting video – Watching an episode of my favorite TV show, a few YouTube videos or TED talks before sleeping was one of my favorite activities. However, the problem with these was not just a disruptive screen light but also the fact that this type of content engages our brains and tells us to stay alert and think.
So, listening to calming music or a podcast is much better idea. There are even podcasts designed for relaxation and sleep induction. You will be surprised with the range of topics they cover. Using Bluetooth speaker or headphones for this purpose is the ideal solution because it will offer you a chance to stay physically away from your phone at the same time.
Internet blocker is your friend – All of those addicting apps that keep us awake at bedtime, cannot function efficiently without an internet connection, so installing an internet or app blocker is a simple trick you should use.
One of the most useful apps for this purpose is Freedom. It allows you to select which apps or websites you are going to block, and set a concrete timeframe for doing so. Program your internet blocker to turn off the data usage at 10 PM and turn on again when your wake-up is scheduled.
Keep the distance – This is probably the most efficient and simplest solution of all. Leave your phone or any other gadget in another room. You should keep doing it for all 21 days of OHL Technique, but I would recommend you to continue with this practice even after your insomnia goes away.
National Sleep Foundation recommends clearing your bedroom of all devices, at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
If you must, use the night mode - If there is simply no way you can put away your gadgets – which I believe to be just a well-rehearsed list of weak excuses – make sure to activate the night mode. Apple's Night Shift and Android’s Night Mode are designed to reduce the screen’s brightness and adjust the color temperature, therefore minimizing the amount of blue light and negative effects it has on the quality of your sleep.
Let’s see what we’ve learned. Insomnia is a complex problem, usually caused by the interaction of many different factors. Once you check your medical condition and make sure that your sleep loss is not just a symptom of some disease or metabolism disorder, you can proceed to use “OHL Technique.”
It is unique and useful because it battles insomnia on many fronts instead of relying on just one of two activities as other approaches do. At the same time, with OHL Technique you can stay away from drugs and their side-effects.
The whole process focuses on changing your sleep-related habits, and it takes time. This is not a miraculous solution that will turn you from night owl into a sleeping baby within a day, but three weeks will get you there, you just have to go step by step.
I would appreciate hearing from you after you’ve tried this technique. What was the easiest part, what was the hardest?
What step do you consider to be the most significant one and create the biggest leap toward the good night’s sleep?
Would you add something or make any other change?
Please do comment, leave your opinion and share this article with fellow insomniacs; it could tremendously improve the quality of their life. Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!