I'm a fitness and nutrition consultant who helps people learn how to live a healthier life. Many of my clients struggle with getting enough sleep, and I frequently hear complaints. One client, let's call her Alyson, recently told me she was following all of my tips but still barely sleeping five hours a night.
Alyson is in her mid-40s, a single mom with three kids and a high-stress job. Alyson fell into the “extreme cases” category; she did everything correctly yet struggled to maintain solid slumber, often feeling anxious when she attempted to fall asleep and awakening throughout the night.
Over the past few months, we worked hard to clean up Alyson’s diet. She incorporated plenty of protein; high-fiber, low-glycemic carbs; and healthy fats. We tried various supplements like melatonin and valerian. We tapered down Alyson’s coffee to one cup a morning.
All these things helped, yet Alyson continued to struggle to get eight hours of sleep every night and often felt haggard throughout the day. When she confessed that her doctor had put her on Ambien, I knew it was time to bring out the big guns. Working with a prominent sleep-expert friend of mine, we incorporated these seven advanced strategies for falling and staying asleep better: