Sleep is one
of the great mysteries of life. Like gravity or the quantum field,
we still don't understand exactly why we sleep – although we
are learning more about it every day.
We do know,
however, that good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health.
Six to eight
hours per night seems to be the optimal
amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little
can have adverse effects on your health.
is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize
you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit
can have serious, far reaching effects on your health.
interrupted or impaired sleep can:
weaken your immune
tumor growth – tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory
animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
- Cause a
pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you've already
eaten, which can wreak
havoc on your weight
impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep –
meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours – can impact your ability
to think clearly the next day
- Impair your
performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem
When your circadian
rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin (a hormone
AND an antioxidant) and has less
ability to fight cancer, since melatonin helps suppress free
radicals that can lead to cancer. This is why tumors grow faster
when you sleep poorly.
can also increase stress-related disorders, including:
- Heart disease
- Mood disorders
prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth
hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland
during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as
Fitness Technique). Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.
One study has
even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times
risk of dying from any cause.
is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative
effect when it comes to disrupting your health. Poor sleep
can make your life miserable, as most of you probably know.
The good news
is, there are many natural techniques you can learn to restore your
have difficulty falling asleep, waking up too often, or feeling
inadequately rested when you wake up in the morning – or maybe
you simply want to improve the quality of your sleep – you
are bound to find some relief from my tips and tricks below.
you are interested in more information about sleep or any of the
33 items listed, I invite you to delve into the links that follow,
which are grouped by subject.
Your Sleep Sanctuary
in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible.
Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal
clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin.
Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering
with your sleep. This will
help decrease your risk of cancer. Close your bedroom
door, and get rid of night-lights. Refrain from turning on any
light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the
bathroom. Cover up your clock radio.
your windows – I recommend using blackout shades or drapes.
life evolved in response to predictable patterns of light and
darkness, called circadian rhythms. Modern day electrical
lighting has significantly betrayed your inner clock by disrupting
your natural rhythms. Little bits of light pass directly through
your optic nerve to your hypothalamus, which controls your biological
signals your brain that it's time to wake up and starts preparing
your body for ACTION.
the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F.
Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs
bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal
room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to
68 degrees. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless
sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest
level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists
believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to
sleep, since it mimics your body's natural temperature drop.
your bedroom for electro-magnetic
fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland
and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other
negative effects as well.
To do this,
you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online,
starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend
pulling your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in
alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed.
If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your
bed as possible, preferably at least 3 feet. Remove the clock
from view. It will only add to your worry when you stare
at it all night… 2 a.m. …3 a.m. … 4:30 a.m.
using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your
body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting
enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
up my alarm clock years ago and now use a sun alarm clock. The
Sun Alarmu2122 SA-2002 provides an ideal way to wake up each
morning if you can’t wake up with the REAL sun. Combining the
features of a traditional alarm clock (digital display, AM/FM
radio, beeper, snooze button, etc) with a special built-in light
that gradually increases in intensity, this amazing clock simulates
a natural sunrise. It also includes a sunset feature where the
light fades to darkness over time, which is ideal for anyone
who has trouble falling asleep.
your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV
or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift
off to sleep, so avoid doing these activities in bed.
separate bedrooms. Recent studies suggest, for many people,
sharing a bed with a partner (or pets) can significantly impair
sleep, especially if the partner is a restless sleeper or snores.
If bedfellows are consistently interfering with your sleep, you
may want to consider
a separate bedroom.
to bed as early as possible. Your body (particularly
your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between
the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder
dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins
back up into your liver, which can further disrupt your health.
the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly
after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended
for humans as well.
change your bedtime. You should go to bed and wake up
at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help
your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall
asleep and get up in the morning.
a bedtime routine. This could include meditation, deep
breathing, using aromatherapy
or essential oils or indulging in a massage from your partner.
The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then
repeat it each night to help you release the tensions of the day.
drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This
will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the
bathroom, or at least minimize the frequency.
to the bathroom right before bed. This will reduce the
chances that you’ll wake up to go in the middle of the night.
a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can
provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin
eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan
cross your blood-brain barrier.
before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. These
will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood
sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable
to fall back asleep.
a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When your body
temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime,
facilitating slumber. The temperature drop from getting out of
the bath signals your body it's time for bed.
socks to bed. Feet often feel cold before the rest of
the body because they have the poorest circulation. A study
has shown that wearing socks reduces night wakings. As an
alternative, you could place a hot water bottle near your feet
an eye mask to block out light. As discussed earlier,
it is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness
as possible. That said, it’s not always easy to block out every
stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly
if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different
schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can be helpful.
your work away at least one hour before bed (preferably two hours
or more). This will give your mind a chance to unwind
so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about
TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the
bedroom or even completely out of the house. It's too stimulating
to the brain, preventing you from falling asleep quickly. TV disrupts
your pineal gland function.
to relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of
white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to
be soothing for sleep. An excellent relaxation/meditation option
to listen to before bed is the Insight
audio CD. Another favorite is the Sleep
Harmony CD, which uses a combination of advanced vibrational
technology and guided meditation to help you effortlessly fall
into deep delta sleep within minutes. The CD works on the principle
of u201Csleep wave entrainmentu201D to assist your brain in gearing down
something spiritual or uplifting. This may help you relax.
Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense
novel, which has the opposite effect. In addition, if you are
really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might be tempted to go
on reading for hours, instead of going to sleep!
If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful
a journal and write down your thoughts before bed. Personally,
I have been doing this for 15 years, but prefer to do it in the
morning when my brain is functioning at its peak and my cortisol
levels are high.
Suggestions That Enhance Sleep
or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many
drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely effect
sleep. In most cases, the condition causing the drugs to be
taken in the first place can be addressed by following guidelines
elsewhere on my web site.
caffeine. At least one study has shown that, in some
people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling
its effects long after consumption. So, an afternoon cup of coffee
or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night. Be
aware that some medications contain caffeine (for example, diet
alcohol. Although alcohol
will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often
wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol
will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where
your body does most of its healing.
certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising
for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. However,
don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake.
Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can
excess weight. Being overweight can increase your risk
of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep. (CLICK
HERE for my nutritional recommendations.)
foods you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true
for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions
can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating
and gas, and other problems.
your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician.
Scientists have found that insomnia
may be caused by adrenal stress.
you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good
natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this
time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.
If All Else
current favorite fix for insomnia is Emotional
Freedom Technique (EFT). Most people
can learn the basics of this gentle tapping technique in a few
minutes. EFT can help balance your body’s bioenergy system and
resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to
your insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically
long lasting and improvement is remarkably rapid.
your melatonin. Ideally it is best to increase levels
naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along
with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute
complete darkness at night.
isn't possible, you may want to consider a melatonin supplement.
In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase
sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep,
decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue.
is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has
many health benefits in addition to sleep.
to use a sublingual melatonin product because it is absorbed
much faster and therefore works more quickly. I offer a melatonin
spray on my website that I believe is one of the very best
on the market.