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Troubleshooting Poor Sleep : 6 Simple Drug-Free Solutions

Discover six simple, drug-free strategies to improve your sleep. By implementing these natural methods, you can reset your sleep patterns and enhance your overall health and well-being without relying on prescription medications.

Difficulty falling asleep is a real issue for millions of people. Recently, the impact of sleep on health has been getting more attention from scientists and doctors who are realizing that sleep is an active and dynamic state. The most recent focus has been on the importance of adequate sleep for the brain’s physiological maintenance.

It turns out that while you sleep, a plumbing system called the glymphatic system opens up between the brain cells and literally flushes out toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders. This wealth of science can be overwhelming, and for many, it only adds to the anxiety of “not getting enough sleep.” The good news is resetting your sleep is actually not that hard. By implementing natural and straightforward strategies, you can achieve better sleep without turning to prescription medication. Here are six simple, drug-free ways to troubleshoot poor sleep today:

Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

The screens of tablets and smartphones emit a blue wavelength light that affects your Suprachiastmatic Nucleus (SCN), a pinhead-sized structure that contains 20,000 neurons and controls your sleep cycle, and decreases melatonin production, causing sleep disruptions. If you absolutely must look at your phone before bed, get an app that filters the light emanating from your device so that in the morning it is blue/black predominant and in the evening it is red predominant, mimicking sundown and reducing your exposure to blue light at night.

Quit Caffeine

At Expand Health, we have many patients who don’t sleep well but who claim that there is no way coffee is the culprit. Research shows that even just one medium cup of drip coffee can disrupt sleep, even if taken early in the day. And if you are one of the millions of people who have a genetic variant of an enzyme called CYP1A2, you may metabolize caffeine more slowly than others. Also keep in mind  that a piece of dark chocolate can have up to 30 mg of caffeine!

Try Red Light Therapy

Exposure to red light wavelengths using panels, can help regulate the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles. Red light therapy has been shown to stimulate the production of melatonin, promoting feelings of drowsiness and helping to synchronize the body’s internal clock for better sleep.

Take Magnesium Glycinate Before Bed

Magnesium is an essential mineral that up to 70% of the population is deficient in. It has many important uses, including muscle, brain, and nervous system function. Taking Magnesium Glycinate before bed can relieve anxiety and naturally support deeper sleep.

Incorporate Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy exposes your body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time to increase the production of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects your sleep/awake cycles and activates your REM sleep. The release of endorphins may result in an energy boost followed by a state of relaxation and a better night’s sleep.

Face Your Anxiety Head On

The number of prescriptions written for two medications, Xanax and Valium have been on the rise. Often when we work with people on sleep, we start by taking care of the basics, like sleeping in a cool room, cutting caffeine, and avoiding screens and the blue light they radiate, but this process is often like peeling back an onion, revealing the deeper anxiety that drives sleep disruption at the core.

By incorporating these strategies, you can reset your sleep patterns and improve your overall health and well-being. Interested in adding Red Light Therapy or Cryotherapy or both to your sleep optimisation toolkit?

Visit us at Expand Health in Cape Town.

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