You’ve heard the recommendations on sleep for adults in the United States. Everyone knows that an average of 6 to 8 hours per night is the suggested amount of sleep. Men who struggle with pornography addiction and compulsive behaviors often have a hard time with sleep, though.
We experience inadequate amounts of sleep, poor quality sleep, or an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Some experience only one, some experience each at various times, and some experience all three at the same time.
Needless to say, sleeping is a problem point for most men in the Porn Reboot program. We also realize, though, that we put ourselves at a higher risk for relapse if we don’t get our sleep together. Taking control of your sleeping patterns is crucial if you want to overcome your pornography addiction.
Are you having a hard time managing your sleep? I’ve got a few suggestions for you to help you take control of your sleeping patterns and have a stronger chance at ending your compulsive behaviors.
You might think self-care is a girly thing to do. Self-care often ends up associated with putting on a facemask, taking a bath, lighting some candles, and relaxing. It’s far more than your favorite Instagram influencer would have you think, though.
Self-care is the best thing a man can do for himself. It’s a priority for every man in the Porn Reboot program. Self-care applies to anything that helps you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on your day and sleep falls under this umbrella.
Before starting your reboot, watching porn was your go-to way of relaxing. Now that you’ve removed porn from your life you need to find new ways to care for yourself. You have to develop new self-care practices and coping strategies to replace your old behaviors.
Your reboot won’t be sustainable if you don’t put self-care at the forefront. The system is intense at times, demanding a level of focus and dedication that you might not be used to at first. You won’t be able to maintain your reboot if you aren’t also practicing self-care during the process. Prioritizing self-care means prioritizing sleep.
Get Some Exercise
Getting exercise during the day is crucial if you want to get a good night’s sleep. It’s not just because you’re trying to tire yourself out enough to fall asleep quickly when the evening rolls around. Exercise helps you manage your cortisol and melatonin levels in a healthy way. Go for a run, practice martial arts, lift some weights. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. Melatonin is the sleep hormone. Men who struggle with pornography addiction tend to have elevated cortisol levels and low melatonin in the evening. This makes it harder to both fall asleep and stay asleep. You’re not going to get an adequate amount of sleep if you’re battling stress hormones every night.
Exercise helps moderate the balance and release of cortisol and melatonin levels. Higher cortisol levels earlier in the day tend to mean lower cortisol levels and higher melatonin levels later in the evening. Managing these hormones through exercise makes it easier for you to get to sleep at night.
Expose Yourself to Sunlight
Staying inside all day makes it harder to fall into a proper sleep pattern. Get outside and expose yourself to some sunlight every day. Sunlight encourages the production of serotonin, the feel-good neurochemical. Serotonin not only helps you feel good, though, it also is the precursor to melatonin production.
Exposing yourself to sunlight is another way to encourage natural melatonin production in the evening. The more you get your body to produce melatonin, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
You should also keep your blinds open during the day. If you can’t spend as much time outside, opening your blinds is another way to get some sunlight exposure. Filtering sunlight into your room or home can help your brain produce serotonin, too.
Be honest – are you drinking enough water during the day? Staying hydrated is an important part of sleep regulation. This doesn’t mean slamming a 32-ounce bottle of water before you go to bed. That’s only going to keep you from staying asleep because you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
You need to stay hydrated throughout the day instead. Why is that? You’ve probably heard that water makes up 70% of your body. That’s not only true of your body, though. Your brain is also made up mostly of water. If you’re dehydrated, your brain will have a harder time regulating your sleep appropriately.
Understand Sleep Cycles
You don’t need to be a sleep cycle expert to get good sleep but you should have at least a basic understanding. It won’t do you any good to get the recommended 6 to 8 hours of sleep if it’s all poor-quality sleep. You need to ensure that you not only get enough sleep but that it’s quality sleep.
In my opinion, the two most important parts of the sleep cycle are REM sleep and dream sleep. If you can get enough sleep within these two stages, you’ll function better than someone who sleeps more but doesn’t spend as much time in REM or dream sleep.
For example, I function well on 6 hours of sleep because I can get four 90-minute sleep cycles in that time. Someone who needs 8 or 9 hours of sleep needs longer to achieve those quality sleep cycles. The more care and attention you direct toward ensuring quality sleep cycles, the better your sleep will be.
Adhere to Some Simple Sleep Rules
I have some little rules that I adhere to which contribute to the high-quality sleep that I get. You should try out a few of these things to see whether they make a difference in your sleeping patterns:
1. Avoid blue light (like that from laptops or cell phones) before bed
2. Don’t work or watch TV in bed – my bed is only for sleeping or sex
3. Keep the room as cool as tolerable
4. Sleep with earplugs to limit sound and an eye mask or blackout curtains to limit light
These rules are a great place to start out. As you start to prioritize your own sleep, you’ll learn some rules that work for you personally, too.