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5 Brilliant Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep



I’ve seen a lot of sites with advice on sleep.  Dim the lights.  Calm music.  Locking the kids outside for the night.  I’ve tried them all.  But for many of us that stuff is just hokus-pokus window dressing that doesn’t do Jack when the time comes to turn out the lights.  But over time me and the delightful Mrs. Parrot have come up with a few tricks that seem to have a good chance of stacking the deck in one’s favor.

#5. Calcium/Magnesium, Vitamin D3 and Cod Liver Oil

Sleep is not one of this things that just happens when you’re tired.  If that was the case then technically all you need to do is have 12 cups of coffee in the morning, go like a meerkat on crystal-meth all day and finally collapse in a heap.

i.e. Monday

To have a quality sleep you actually require a complete set of nutrients and your body needs to be somewhat healthy.  In a way, you have to prepare for it like any endurance exercise.  And as such you may want to look into some supplements to help you along.

Calcium/Magnesium:  These need each other, so don’t waste your dough on a lone Calcium vitamin.  Cal/Mag will help calm your nerves and muscles which is the golden ticket to a good nights sleep.  But many pills have too much calcium ( such as 2:1  ratio ), throwing the balance off so look around for a good quality Cal/Mag not a cheap clearance special.  The Magnesium should at the very least be equal so if your sleep isn’t working, give a 1:1 supplement a try.  In some cases a straight up magnesium dose does wonders too.  Experiment and see what works for you.

Vitamin D3:  Vitamin D3 signals the pituitary gland to release growth hormones, and it encourages sleep by producing melatonin in levels high enough to trigger slumber.

Unless you live on the Equator, your Vitamin D is probably waaaaaay too low and most people are extremely deficient. Especially for a Canadian like me who gets about 4 hours a year of summer ( sucks if it’s raining ). Contrary to what health professionals advise, a paltry 1000 IU isn’t even a whiff of what you need. I take 4000 IU daily, but your mileage may vary depending on your outdoor exposure and geographical location. If for example, you’re a naked missionary in Sudan, you’re probably groovy without any D supplementation and should probably instead invest in quality body armor.

Cod Liver Oil:  A diet low in fatty acids results in an imbalance of physiological chemicals.  The Omega 3’s from ground up fish juice is like rocket fuel for your brain neurons and enhances the secretion of melatonin.

#4. Avoid Wheat

Your mileage may vary here, but nothing puts my sleep quality in the tank like wheat and it should be no surprise why.  Even the best whole wheat bread does little more than crank up your blood sugar levels even though for years we’ve been told it is good fiber and helps sleep.  Only now is the truth getting mainstream attention and dietitians as well as national Food Guides are scrambling to revise their charts to accommodate this information.

High blood sugar makes you prone to bathroom runs, mood swings, and general all-around bad balance of the body.  So instead of a high-carb food that acts like a sugar, aim for something more protein rich.  And be sure to skip the cookies and milk because seriously…what are you, like…five?  A scrambled egg on rice cake would be a superb alternative.

#3. Avoid TV and Computer before bed.

There’s a dramatic difference between getting the latest from the Weather Channel and sitting through eight uninterrupted hours of Doctor Who ( which is an awesome show, so I understand ).  After a while a certain part of your brain checks out for the night while the rest engages in the apex of science fiction entertainment.

Expect some pretty crazy dreams as a nasty side effect.

Problem with heavy tech usage is that when it comes time for all of your brain to enter sleep, half of it has already got a head start while the other half is still chasing Pokemon.  The mental jet-lag might take several hours to snap out of.  Hours that could have made the difference between a good nights sleep, and punching the office water cooler the next day because you swear it called your mother a whore.

#2. MSG

It’s not just for cheap Chinese Take-Out anymore.  You can’t imagine how prevalent this crap is in the food you buy and don’t expect Monosodium Glutamate to be nicely displayed on the ingredients label.  Being honest doesn’t help sell a product so manufacturers have instead opted for underhanded tactics.  If it says “spices”, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (HSP), or Autolysed Yeast Extracts on the ingredients label then the scum sucking degenerates are hiding this nefarious bastard of a food additive guaranteed.

MSG makes your brain fire off random neurons like Yosemite Sam.   It can also cause diabetes, adrenal gland malfunction, seizures, high blood pressure, excessive weight gain, stroke and other health problems.  Although highest in the worst kind of “food” such as fast food, it may very well be in that supposedly healthy mushroom soup you had for lunch.  Definitely not good night sleep nutrition, so if you’re having difficulty shutting the mind off then take some time to review food labels in your pantry.

#1. Get Your Freaky On. ( aka. Vitamin “Chick-a-bow-bow!” )

Some days you decide to sit and watch old ThunderCats reruns and before you know it you go to bed and start having weird dreams of Cheetara.  At that point you wake up sporting “morning wood” and realize you’re probably permanently mentally damaged.

I am so messed up.

But like most young men, I didn’t just get married for the regular meals and having someone pick out good shirts for me.  No siree…it was some good old fashioned filthy desire to do shamefully explicit acts to expand the human race that got me down the isle.  So if you’re staring at the ceiling at 3am and your significant other is having the first uninterrupted stretch of sleep in years since the kids were born, feel free to give your bride a nudge and meet her slowly opening blood-shot eyes with a wink and a dirty smile.  By golly, if you’re not having some of the best lovemaking in the next 5 minutes then my name ain’t Doctor Love.

And he was never heard from again...

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.



  1. Some guy

    January 22, 2013 at

    Hey… Love your site. But just one comment: You do realize that rice cakes have an insanely high glycemic index, right? In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re higher than a piece of toast.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 22, 2013 at

      That explains my chronic insomnia. :)

      • Some guy

        January 23, 2013 at

        I find the easiest way to keep my diet balanced and healthy (apart from the obvious, like not eating processed, fried and otherwise lethal foods) is to look up the glycemic index. Anything over 55, I avoid like the plague (except after a workout). That means no rice, especially (I use barley instead).

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