Crazy Good Sleep

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About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

For a number of years I have noticed a deterioration in my sleep patterns, particularly waking too early and awake during the night, unable to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I am 73 years old and have tried numerous things, none of which helped much. This Instructable is about something simple that does work and has worked for nearly all who have tried it, even though it sounds like medical quackery. It is known as earthing or grounding. You can spend a couple of hundred dollars for commercial earthing devices. This Instructable will show how I made all I need to reap the benefits of being grounded through the night as well as for several hours during the day and did it with simple things, even scraps.

Materials

  • Light gauge stranded wire. Speaker wire works.
  • #10 machine screw and nut, or a steel rod 3/16 inch in diameter
  • Flattened copper or brass or aluminum about 20 gauge
  • A diode (optional) or a large washer (also optional)
  • Heat shrink tubing (optional) or Duck Tape (optional)

Tools

  • Wire cutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering gun
  • MIG welder (optional)

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Step 1: My Basic Setup

The goal is to connect yourself to a grounded wire. You can do that in a variety of ways. Some run a wire out of their bedroom window and drive a metal rod about 18 inches long into the earth. A metal foil could be used to get through a tight fitting window and connect to the foil both inside and outside the window.

The photo shows what I have been using during the last six weeks. I use a piece of 3/16 inch steel rod to connect to the third or grounding hole of a 120 volt wall outlet of the type used in the USA. I know many other nations use a 230 volt outlet as their standard. I assume there is a grounded terminal, but I am not sufficiently familiar to comment.

I welded a #8-32 nut to the end of the rod and inserted a #8-32 screw, This is the terminal for about 10 feet of #20 gauge plastic covered wire. See the third photo.

A video advertising a commercial cable spoke of a feature that allows electrons to flow only one direction. That means there is a diode. I have used a diode with a peak inverse voltage (PIV) of only 50 volts. A jolt of static electricity from synthetic sleepwear might destroy my diode, even though it has very nicely survived six weeks so far. A 1N4007 diode has a PIV of 1,000 volts and would likely survive most static electricity discharges. I placed the diode as near to my body as possible to work against and hopefully block electro-magnetic fields (EMF) picked up by the 10 feet of wire. There is more about a diode in a later step.

I have some rigid copper tubing I used as a terminal. I cut and flattened some to make a square about 5/8" x 5/8". This is soldered to the end of my #20 gauge wire and lays against my skin. Initially I used an old metal watchband for holding the copper in place and for making a broader connection surface. (Commercial cables use EKG pads to connect to one's body. My copper square has a larger surface area than an EKG pad.)

The second photo shows a close-up of my copper square attached with a flexible metal watchband.

Step 2: A First Consideration

The electrical wiring is not always done properly in all houses, especially older houses that may not have included a third wire for grounding before that was required. It can happen that an outlet with two slots only had to be replaced, but only three prong outlets are available at the time. There is no third wire in the wires feeding power to the outlet. The tester shown is called an outlet tester or a three-prong outlet tester and they are available at hardware stores, as well as big box home improvement stores. They cost about $5 US. If everything is as it should be, the center and right LEDs should be lit as shown, but the left LED should not be lit. A handy friend may have one of these you can borrow for a very short time. (You can also ground to a metal water pipe, if the whole system uses metal pipes, not plastic.)

Step 3: Is It Safe?

People have phobias about electricity. Some cannot imagine sticking a wire into an outlet and then connecting the other end of that wire to one's body.

But, look closely at the photo. It is typical of appliances in your kitchen and tools in your garage. You will notice a three prong grounding male plug. The handle on this heat gun is a rubberized plastic and insulated. But, in order to reach the trigger switch, your finger must rest on the metal frame of the tool. You do not receive a shock because the third wire carries no electricity, unless there is a fault and the wires carrying power short to the frame of the tool. In that case, the third wire carries the current away from you and safely to the ground.

Step 4: Cheap and Easy Ways to Make a Cable for Yourself

The first photo shows a #10-32 round head machine screw and nut used as a terminal and post. This is an easy way to make what is needed for the person who has few tools and very little technical prowess. One problem with this approach is that the screw slides into the third hole on a grounding outlet, but practically needs to be turned out with a screwdriver. That is OK if you do not need to remove the screw from the outlet very often. I am glad I used a smooth steel rod because I can easily take my cable with me when I travel.

See the second photo. Someone who does not have copper or a soldering iron could use some scrap aluminum or steel sheetmetal, or go to a hardware store and buy a piece of flat brass. Brass is not cheap, though. Hardware store do sell individual brass washers. If you do not have a soldering gun, you can bend some of the metal over the end of the wire and crimp it in place. You will want to avoid oxidation because that can ruin the electrical connection over time. Cover the joint with hot glue or Vaseline to protect against oxygen exposure. I rounded and smoothed all edges to avoid irritating my skin.

See the third photo. This is a homemade toroidal coil. Potentially undesirable EMFs are usually higher frequency alternating currents. Wire wrapped around a steel core presents a huge hindrance to the flow of such currents called inductive reactance. EMFs are everywhere. Some come into our houses from things in our neighbors' houses, like computers, WiFi routers, and a plethora of electronic devices common to life in our time. No one toroidal coil will eliminate all EMFs, but this may help reduce some EMFs in a frequency range. EMFs come in a wide variety of frequency ranges. There will be a discussion of diodes as limiters of stray EMFs in the next step.

Step 5: How to Attach to Yourself

I have come to like slipping my copper square under an elastic band to hold the copper against my skin. The photo shows slipping the copper square under the elastic band on top of my socks. It normally goes an inch or two into my sock. Find a place on your skin where you do not notice its presence. That is very easy to do. During the cold of winter sleeping with socks on feels good. An elastic band around your waist on your sleepwear works, too.

The black bulging section on the wire is some heat shrink tubing that covers a diode and provides some physical strength to reinforce the diode and solder joints from physical damage. If you choose to use a diode to limit EMFs you may use it together with a toroidal coil, or separately. The silver polarity band on the diode should be placed so it is toward the wall outlet and away from your body. You want electrons to flow into your body. See the second photo. It shows a test for getting the diode connection right and for testing to see if a diode is still good. Use the diode test function on a multimeter. While the use of a diode is optional, I recently had opportunity to compare a wire with a diode and a wire without a diode. I could tell right away the wire with the diode was better and the only way to use a grounding wire. Diodes were easy to get before Radio Shack stores went out of business. Often you can harvest a diode from an old piece of electronic equipment, but use a heat sink to protect the diode from too much heat that can destroy it. Keep the wattage of the soldering iron as low as possible to avoid too much heat. Or, find a friend who dabbles in electronics, maybe a radio amateur, and ask if he can give or sell you a diode.

I sometimes slide the copper square up a sleeve on my T-shirt and just onto the back of my shoulder where it will be pressed against my skin. Sometimes I slip the copper square under the elastic waistband on my undershorts. Any of these seem to work well. In all cases, I need to pull the copper square off of my skin in the morning. This is especially true on another cable I made. I used Duck Tape to cover the diode and it folded over to make a strip about 1/2 inch wide. That smooth surface really sticks to my skin. The copper square does not move during the night, but I do not thrash around a lot when I sleep, either. I have never had the wire separate from contact with my body during the night.

Commercial connectors for grounding include sleeping on conductive mats or sheets put into the bed. These can be expensive. Some use a conductive cuff that goes around one's lower arm.

Step 6: To What Benefit?

About five years ago I noticed some occasional sharp flashes of pain in my right wrist when I used a drill press. While the results of grounding are different from one individual to another and the time span after which they first appear is different, about four weeks after I began sleeping grounded I noticed the nascent arthritis in my right wrist has all but completely disappeared. That is something objective that is not just my opinion.

After about five weeks of sleeping grounded and attempting to ground when sitting to read or do computer work, I noticed I had some nights during which I did not need to rise and use the bathroom to empty my bladder. Sleeping through the night without using the bathroom is becoming the rule rather than the exception. Previously I could count on two trips to the bathroom each night.

I was a pastor for forty years. There have always been some stage jitters on Saturday night and Sunday morning as I tried to make sure my sermon was ready. Grounding calms people. When I waken during the night I have such a contented sense of calm that it is unbelievable. As I get ready to go to a church where I am to give a sermon, I simply feel mellow and unworried. My wife says my sermons come off better, too.

The first thing most notice shortly after they begin grounding is waking in the morning feeling much more rested than they have in years. You may still waken during the night, but in time that will likely change for the better, too. After six weeks of grounding I find I now waken briefly and go back to sleep fairly soon. I am not awake for two or more hours as in the recent past. Grounding oneself brings a better balance between cortisol and melatonin in one's body, but it is not immediate. That has been shown with blood tests. If more and better sleep were the only benefits of earthing or grounding, it would be more than worthwhile to connect each night and as often as possible during the day. For a really interesting account of what happened when the whole town of Haines, Alaska began grounding, search YouTube for the 65 minute film "The Grounded."

At my current age (73 years) seventy percent of men experience serious ED (erectile dysfunction). I had a talk with my physician and he gave me a prescription for generic Viagra. After six weeks of grounding, I have surprisingly found I do not need that pill, but the clock has turned back to an earlier time for that part of my life in a way that is considerably better than the pills. In the interest of full disclosure, this also pairs with some aerobic exercise several times during the week. (Some of my problems with ED are also related to a blood pressure medication.)

Clint Ober is a pioneer in grounding oneself. In his 2013 book Earthing he lists a whole series of benefits from grounding that are quite phenomenal. I will not mention those here, but will stay with those I have experienced myself up to this point. It appears the human body can make many, many repairs to itself if it has access to free electrons. Most of our disease problems are related to inflammations and those involve free radicals that are missing an electron. Grounding oneself seems to provide the missing electrons and kill off the free radicals.

It is very popular to criticize and find fault with grounding. Before you do that, try grounding yourself for a week and see what happens. Ten weeks is an ideal test period. I was very skeptical, but realized it would cost me nothing to try it. If it was a sham, no one needed to know I had tried it. If I found benefits, I am well ahead. From what benefits I have experienced already, I plan to ground myself as much as possible until the day I die.

Step 7: Grounding on an Airplane?

We flew across three time zones in one day recently. I have read that grounding is a big help in overcoming jet lag. Some remove their shoes and socks as soon as possible after landing to walk in the grass for 20 minutes or so. That is a very easy way of grounding.

I wondered if I could ground while in flight. The first photo shows the outer part of the wing on our Boeing 737-800, Notice the two black rods about six inches long. They are called wicks. They are to wick away the static electricity that accumulates on the metal of the airplane as it strips electrons from air molecules at cruising speed. That is similar to the belt inside a Van de Graaf static generator. The purpose of the wicks is to bring static charges down so they do not interfere with radio communications. Although the airplane is a Faraday Cage, those protect occupants from pulse charges like EMPs and lightning. But, they do not block occupants from steady charges. To me that suggests touching metal on the seat frame provides an electron rich environment, just as the earth does. See the second photo. I am touching the seat frame ahead of me from my window seat. I cannot say for certain if touching the seat frame provided extra electrons for me or not.

I could be very wrong about this and would welcome correction from anyone who has more data and knowledge than I have. I do know I was not conscious of any jet lag after we got home.

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    10 Discussions

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    nickfank

    5 weeks ago

    Planning to give this a try, but thought I'd first check back in with you 6 months after you started your personal experiment to see if you're still enthusiastic about the results. (I know I usually have a placebo effect for the first month every time I experiment on myself, but months later, I am able to be more objective.) How is it going?
    1 reply
    None
    Phil Bnickfank

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Thank you for your inquiry. I am still grounding as much as possible and now have eight months experience with it. I now waken during the night after four or five hours of sleep. Then I am awake for a couple of hours. I do fall back asleep again later. I do sleep really well while I am asleep and get about seven and one-half hours per night. Some report fewer hours of sleep because their sleep is better and more effective.

    The biggest noticeable benefit has been reduced effects of nascent arthritis in my right wrist. There may be other benefits of which I am not aware. I am scheduled for a gall bladder removal in about a month. The US cycling team has used grounding electrodes connected to injury areas to speed healing. I am curious to see if my wound from surgery heals more rapidly if I ground my skin in the area of the incision. I will have to judge by what the doctor tells me about anticipated recovery time compared to what I experience, and later when he checks my wound area. It would be nice if healing is more rapid than expected.

    There are a couple of benefits I hoped would appear by now, but I am still waiting. One may be on the threshold of appearing. Time will tell.

    Friends who have been willing to accept wires and try them have felt they benefit and are still grounding. Giving it a try does not cost you anything. If you notice any benefits you are ahead.

    None
    WadeG11

    4 months ago on Step 7

    It would be interesting to bring a multimeter on a plane (although that may be difficult to explain...), just to check your theory.

    1 reply
    None
    Phil BWadeG11

    Reply 4 months ago

    I wrote to the people at earthinginstitute (dot) net and asked about surplus electrons on the outer skin and metal parts of a commercial airplane. They indicated data they have to this point is not conclusive. In some videos on grounding Clint Ober speaks about using a meter to detect a voltage difference between his body and the earth. His meter may be a lot better than mine, but I have never been able to notice more than a very quick blip on the digital readout. At the same time, Ober’s book “Earthing” mentions an experiment with truckers. Random truckers at a truck stop were given a grounding pad on which to sit while driving. The pad was connected to metal in the truck cab. Those grounded this way reported some of the same benefits as someone connected to a grounded wire while sleeping, etc. My meager experience with electricity can understand that the large metal truck is a larger storage device for electrons than a human body and there could be an exchange to equalize electrical potential. But, it hardly seems like a true on going ground because of the rubber tires. Also, I have a hard time understanding how electrons can transfer between a mat and human skin when both are separated by a couple of layers of non-conductive cloth, unless someone is very sweaty.

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    Cekpi7

    6 months ago

    This doesn't make sense to me but i'm gonna try it, i have grounding bracelet and i'm gonna bridge that 1M resistor in it.
    Can't really get good sleep recently so i got nothing to lose :).

    1 reply
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    Phil BCekpi7

    Reply 6 months ago

    I have read Clint Ober’s book, “Earthing.” An anti-static strap for working on computers has a 1M resistor in-line. The book says do not use an anti-static strap because the resistance is too high to allow electron flow from the earth to your body. If by “bridge” you mean shunt so as to nullify the 1M resistor it should work. If you are worried about some some adverse electrical event, the book advised an in-line 2 milliamp fuse. If you read carefully what I wrote about inflammation and positively charged free radicals, it makes very good sense. You will sleep better, although you may also be awake during the night, if you have been experiencing that.

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    iceng

    7 months ago

    Let me compliment you on pursuing an unlikely concept and then testing it on Yourself !!
    I will be trying it myself tonight.. I'm using a magnetic metal band, a holey magnet with a silver solder puddle ball for affixing the wire and easy disconnect / re_connect at night.. That wire is one used for meter probes which is the closest to Litz wire with lots of small wires to provide maximum flexibility without breaking..

    As a along time electronic engineer this ible is completely safe with or without a diode and or inductor in series.. I do wander what you understand about the diode direction which will make your body assume a negative charge.. That diode will pass any positive charge as a current to ground, leaving a zero or negative body charge..

    1 reply
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    Phil Biceng

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you for looking at this. Today I talked to a man probably about 80. I had made a wire for his daughter (chronic back pain from a fall 20 years ago) and he finally decided to try it before giving it to her in another state. He was surprised to discover he did not need to get up during the night either night to use the bathroom. But, it is different for different people. I did not experience that until after four weeks.
    I mentioned Clint Ober. His first try with this was with a strip of metallic duck tape stuck the length of his bed on the sheet. He crumpled the foil around the end of the wire and ran it out of the window and pushed a rod into the ground. He slept very well without his usual Advil for falling asleep and his back pain was better in the morning. I gave a wire to my son and his back pain was better after the first night.
    An earthing or grounding wire is used to address inflammations in our bodies. Inflammations are caused by free radicals, which are positively charged because they are missing an electron. The earth is a source of free electrons. Providing a free electron to a free radical destroys the free radical and reduces the inflammation. It is a form of an anti-oxidant anyone can take everyday by simply walking barefoot on grass and dirt. Connecting to a grounded wire at night allows receiving free electrons while one is sleeping when the body is doing its restorative work.
    I am not an electronics engineer, but did some thinking about electron current flow (- to +) rather than conventional current flow (+ to -) in a diode and decided I want the silver band on the wall outlet side of the diode rather than on the side of my body. That appears to be the proper decision. I attached a graphic from a site at allaboutcircuits (dot) com on conventional versus electron current flow in a diode. The location of the bulb corresponds with the connection to earth. The plus end of the battery corresponds with the location of my body.
    Thank you for commenting. Please let me know what happens. Some results you experience may not appear for a few weeks or a few months. Others may appear right away. Deeper sleep with a greater feeling of being rested in the morning is very common.
    It is good to hear from you again.

    68459861-9ED8-46D8-9F05-EA90E209C23A.jpeg
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    DanC312

    7 months ago on Step 7

    This seems like it could be incredibly dangerous. If there was some fault in your wiring, that "earth" prong could become live at 120v (or 240 in some countries) or more in some situations (lightning, an upstream transfomer fault, etc).

    If you were to insist on doing this, I would recommend a large (like 2W) 10M resistor in line. This way, it will still dissipate any static charge but will limit current in the event something goes wrong.

    A better solution might be to put a seperate ground in place by installing a long, copper plated rod into the earth, far from the electrical safety ground, and use that for grounding beds, yourself, etc.

    1 reply
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    Phil BDanC312

    Reply 7 months ago

    I hope you carefully read steps 2 and 3. Most of your concerns are addressed there. Clint Ober’s book “Earthing” discusses grounding in a lightning storm. He lays out reasons why it is probably not a problem, but then finishes by saying it might be good to err on the side of caution and not ground in a storm. A static protective wrist band for working on computers has a high resistance like you suggest, but folks are told not to have an inline resistance high in Ohms because it stops the electron flow that is beneficial. As concerns grounding to a dedicated ground rod, that can be a good option unless you are several floors above the ground or the windows cannot be opened. Such would be the case in many hotels and office buildings.