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Our Sleep is Not as Good as it Should Be

One reason my girlfriend and I have different bedrooms is because I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. She reads, she fidgets, moves, tosses, and turns. Because of the comparison with her and my ease of sleeping, I always thought I didn’t need help with my sleep.

I was partly under this illusion because I do all the biohacking and sleep-optimizing techniques that I’ve been told to use. I eliminate blue light, sleep in a cool environment, maintain a regular schedule, eat well, avoid stimulants later in the day. I do everything the founder of a health food company should know how to do.

And yet my sleep isn’t as good as it should be. Yours probably is not either.

This is partly caused by situations out of our control. The forces of “progress” and civilization have developed many great things, but they have also had unintended consequences and they are altering our ability to get deep, restorative sleep.

Diet deficiencies - no matter how healthy one eats, if you consume the majority of foods from the grocery store or restaurants, you’re only getting a fraction of the nutrition our ancestors had. Modern Americans consume about 30 - 40 species of plants per year. Our ancestors averaged 80 - 100 with some people using up to 168 species. This doesn’t even address all the pesticides and chemicals (even in organic foods) that end up in our dinner.

Water impurities - hormone dysregulating compounds from plastic water bottles are found in 93% of Americans. Chlorine in our drinking and bathing water kills probiotic organisms in our digestive system, and fluoride is added to drinking water despite evidence that it harms cognitive development. Unless you’re out harvesting spring water at a safe distance from urban environments, these systemic problems are affecting you.

The list can go on ad-infinitum. Air quality, even in America, is terrible. Pesticides used to grow cotton clothing somehow end up in breast milk.

My point in sharing all of this is to acknowledge that we are surrounded by side effects of civilization that negatively impact our sleep. And sometimes we need an aid to help us.