Can’t Sleep? Try These 5 Effective Hacks

by JJ Virgin on June 18, 2024

If tossing and turning at night is a familiar scenario, rest assured, you’re in good company. Sleep challenges are a widespread issue: 50-70 million Americans struggle with sleep disorders, and one in three adults don’t get the ideal amount of uninterrupted sleep nightly.1 

Prioritizing great sleep keeps your immune strong, your brain healthy, and your mood steady.2, 3 It can also increase energy levels, make you more productive, and boost your overall well-being.4 

Simply put, when you sleep great, everything gets better. The solution doesn’t always require drastic measures. These five simple, science-backed strategies can significantly improve your sleep so you get the best rest every night. 

1. Eat Healthy Carbs at Dinner

Including healthy carbohydrates in your dinner can be a game-changer for your sleep quality. Eating complex carbs, or what I call “slow low” carbs, keeps a steady supply of energy going to your brain to help you stay focused and energetic. Slow is because they are higher in fiber; low because they are generally lower on the glycemic index, so they have less of a sugar impact.

Unlike faster-absorbing, simple carbohydrates, these slow low or complex carbs don’t spike and crash your blood-sugar levels. As Dr. Alan Christianson says in The Adrenal Reset Diet, slow low carbs in the evening can help lower cortisol, the stress hormone that can keep you awake.5 

Carbohydrates boost the production of serotonin, a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter crucial for regulating mood and sleep. When you eat carbs, your brain gets more tryptophan, a building block of serotonin. After a meal that contains healthy carbs, insulin release reduces other amino acids in your bloodstream, making more room for tryptophan to enter the brain and increase serotonin levels.6 

Opt for slower-absorbing, low-glycemic options like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and legumes to enjoy their sleep-promoting benefits without disrupting your blood-sugar levels.

2. Take an Epsom Salt Bath

Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral for a reason. It helps make calming neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and melatonin. As a result, this mineral can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.7, 8 Research shows that almost half of Americans don’t get enough magnesium from food.9 Deficiencies can take their toll on stress response and sleep quality.10 

Increasing your magnesium intake can help you sleep better. One way to do that is with Epsom salts, which provide magnesium in a unique form that absorbs through your skin. Indulging in Epsom salt baths allows your body to absorb magnesium directly, effectively addressing and potentially reversing sleep and stress issues.11 Among its benefits, Epsom salt can reduce muscle and joint tension, promote relaxation, and relieve muscle pain.12

For the perfect Epsom salt bath experience:

  • Add approximately 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to a standard-sized bathtub filled with warm water. This concentration provides enough magnesium sulfate to facilitate relaxation and muscle-soothing effects.
  • Ensure the water temperature is comfortably warm but not too hot. Overly hot water can dry your skin and cause discomfort. Aim for a temperature between 92°F and 100°F (33°C to 38°C).
  • Soak in the Epsom salt bath for around 15 to 30 minutes. This timeframe allows your body to absorb the magnesium sulfate and experience its relaxing effects without dehydration or overheating.
  • If you’d like to enhance your bath experience, add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus, to promote relaxation.

A magnesium supplement is another great way to get therapeutic amounts of this often-deficient mineral. Many forms of magnesium absorb poorly, creating gastric issues and preventing you from getting the magnesium your body needs. 

Magnesium Body Calm is different—every serving delivers 300 mg of chelated magnesium. Unlike other forms like magnesium oxide, chelated magnesium provides this important mineral bound to amino acids. This allows higher bioavailability and absorption, ensuring you get all of the magnesium’s benefits without the digestive discomfort that other magnesium formulas can create. 

3. Practice Meditation

Chronic stress and sleep disruptions often go together. Stress can worsen sleep difficulties, while poor sleep raises stress levels.13 Meditation offers a powerful way to break this vicious cycle. By calming the mind and relaxing the body, meditation primes you for restful sleep, effectively reducing stress and anxiety. 

In one review, researchers compared mindfulness meditation with other sleep treatments and interventions that matched the time and attention of meditation but didn’t focus on sleep. They found that mindfulness meditation improved sleep quality compared to these other methods. These benefits lasted even after the meditation sessions ended.14

Other research shows that meditation can help people with sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia sleep better. Meditation reduces the severity of this condition and improves how long and well you sleep.15

I began using Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations a few years ago, and the results have been life-changing. I stress less and sleep better. He offers a Restorative Sleep Guided Meditation specifically designed to get better sleep.

4. Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or tapping, is an easy way to alleviate stress and anxiety and potentially enhance sleep quality. EFT is grounded in the principles of traditional Chinese medicine—specifically, the concept of meridians or energy pathways within your body. By tapping on specific meridian points with the fingertips while focusing mentally on particular stressors or emotional discomforts, you can help release energy blockages that contribute to anxiety and impede sleep.16

Over 100 studies show that EFT works. In one, participants attended a four-day EFT training workshop. Afterward, they reported significantly lower anxiety levels. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels were also lower, indicating less stress on the body.17 Other studies show that EFT can significantly reduce stress, indirectly fostering better sleep.18

Bringing EFT into your nightly routine is simple and effective. You follow a sequence of tapping on key body points (including the top of your head, eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under your nose, chin, collarbone, and under your arm) while mentally addressing and accepting specific anxieties or concerns. You’re literally tapping away stress and paving the way for better sleep. 

5. Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Quality sleep doesn’t just happen; it requires preparation, starting with your bedroom environment. Managing light and noise and investing in comfortable bedding can help you sleep better. 

Research shows that the ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is generally around 64°F (18°C), although researchers recommend anywhere between 60-67°F (15.6-19.4°C). Temperatures within this range create the ideal body temperature for sleep onset and support continuous, restful sleep cycles.19

Ear plugs and an eye mask can improve sleep quality and duration. One study found both can help in noisy, brightly lit environments (in this case, intensive care units and coronary care units. Patients using eye masks and earplugs reported better sleep quality and reduced sleep disturbances due to light.20

Sleep&Glow is my go-to for pillows, blankets, sleep loungewear, and more. Use code jjvirgin for $20 off all pillows and blankets.*

Blue light from devices disrupts your natural sleep rhythm, so turn off screens an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, opt for screen-free activities like reading or listening to calming music.

Other strategies to optimize your sleep environment include: 

  • Bedroom setup: Ensure your bedroom is clutter-free and organized, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.
  • Mattress and pillows: Invest in a mattress and pillows that adequately support your body and sleep position, promoting comfort and spinal alignment. 
  • Bedding materials: Choose breathable, natural fabrics for your bedding to help regulate body temperature and reduce sweating during the night.
  • Lighting: Use dim, warm lighting in the evening to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Consider installing blackout curtains or shades to block out external light sources that may disrupt your sleep.
  • Aromatherapy: Experiment with soothing scents like lavender or chamomile through essential oils or scented candles to create a relaxing atmosphere conducive to sleep.
  • White noise: Some people find white noise or nature sounds helpful for masking disruptive sounds and promoting a sense of tranquility. You can generate these sounds using a white noise machine or smartphone app.

Your Best Night’s Sleep, Starting Tonight

Even with these simple and effective techniques, getting a great night’s sleep can feel like a challenge. A few science-based nutrients can help support calm, help you unwind, and fall and stay asleep safely.

I designed the Optimal Sleep Kit as your all-in-one solution for achieving rejuvenating sleep every single night. It contains Sleep Candy™, which combines melatonin with other sleep-supporting ingredients, and Magnesium Body Calm to provide efficacious amounts of this important mineral, along with a comprehensive guide to getting the quality sleep you’ve been dreaming of.*

Order the Optimal Sleep Kit here.


  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Sleep Health
  2. NIH News in Health: Good Sleep for Good Health
  3. Alhola P, Polo-Kantola P. Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2007;3(5):553-67. PMID: 19300585; PMCID: PMC2656292.
  4. NIH News in Health: The Benefits of Slumber
  5. Christianson, Alan. The Adrenal Reset Diet. Harmony/Rodale. Kindle Edition. 
  6. Benton D, Bloxham A, Gaylor C, Brennan A, Young HA. Carbohydrate and sleep: An evaluation of putative mechanisms. Front Nutr. 2022 Sep 21;9:933898. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.933898. PMID: 36211524; PMCID: PMC9532617.
  7. Medical News Today: Magnesium for sleep: Benefits and how to take it
  8. Healthline: Does Magnesium Help You Sleep Better?
  9. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018 Jan 13;5(1):e000668. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668. Erratum in: Open Heart. 2018 Apr 5;5(1):e000668corr1. PMID: 29387426; PMCID: PMC5786912.
  10. Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, Bienkowski P, Yaltsewa N, Amessou M, Noah L, Pouteau E. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 28;12(12):3672. doi: 10.3390/nu12123672. PMID: 33260549; PMCID: PMC7761127.
  11. Chandrasekaran NC, Sanchez WY, Mohammed YH, Grice JE, Roberts MS, Barnard RT. Permeation of topically applied Magnesium ions through human skin is facilitated by hair follicles. Magnes Res. 2016 Jun 1;29(2):35-42. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2016.0402. PMID: 27624531.
  12. iMedPub: Pharmaceutical Influences of Epsom Salts
  13. Medical News Today: How to tell if stress is affecting your sleep
  14. Rusch HL, Rosario M, Levison LM, Olivera A, Livingston WS, Wu T, Gill JM. The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019 Jun;1445(1):5-16. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13996. Epub 2018 Dec 21. PMID: 30575050; PMCID: PMC6557693.
  15. Research, Society, and Development: Meditation and sleep quality: integrative review
  16. WebMD: EFT Tapping: What Is It and Does It Work for Stress?
  17. Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019 Jan-Dec;24:2515690X18823691. doi: 10.1177/2515690X18823691. PMID: 30777453; PMCID: PMC6381429.
  18. Blacher S. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Tap to relieve stress and burnout. J Interprof Educ Pract. 2023 Mar;30:100599. doi: 10.1016/j.xjep.2023.100599. Epub 2023 Jan 14. PMID: 36687311; PMCID: PMC9840127.
  19. ResearchGate: The effects of increased bedroom air temperature on sleep and next-day mental performance
  20. Bani Younis MK, Hayajneh FA, Alduraidi H. Effectiveness of using eye mask and earplugs on sleep length and quality among intensive care patients: A quasi-experimental study. Int J Nurs Pract. 2019 Jun;25(3):e12740. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12740. Epub 2019 May 14. PMID: 31090172.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. *I couldn’t make it without supportive relationships, and I bet you feel the same! That’s why my team and I offer you products and services we believe in. If you happen to purchase something I recommend here, I may receive some kind of compensation. However, I only bring you partners whose content and core values will serve you with the same commitment to excellence my team and I strive for every day. Please be in touch with any concerns.