Who Needs Sleep? Tips for Improving Your Sleep Habits.

After your diet and supplements, the most important things for your health are sleep and exercise.  Both are important medicine.  
 
Sleep is when we heal.  If you stub your toe in the morning, you repair it at night, during restorative sleep.  Sleep seems to be the ONLY time our brains detoxify; hence that foggy-headed feeling when you don’t get enough deep sleep.
 
Most of us are sleep deprived; if you need to use an alarm clock, you probably are too.  Make it a priority to get at LEAST 7 hours of sleep per night, but ideally 8 or 9.

Tips for better sleep...

Avoid screens

Avoid screens(especially smart phones, iPads, tablets and kindle readers) in the hour or two before bed or, if you can’t avoid them, be sure to at least turn on the blue-light blocking option on your Apple or android phone or device.  And download the f.lux app onto your laptop or desktop computer to block the blue light on that.

Use screen glasses

Watch TV at night?  Use orange glasses to block the blue light emitting from your television – they’re very affordable and can make a huge difference!
 
Taking all of these measures is extremely important because exposure to blue light at nighttime can mess with your circadian rhythm and keep you from falling asleep.  These options are free and take only seconds to install (or buy)! 

Shut off WiFi in your bedroom

Limiting blue light exposure at night is key in helping our bodies know when it is almost time for sleep, but it is perhaps even more important to not have WiFi on in your bedroom! 
 
We cannot avoid technology, but there is extensive research showing that EMFs (electromagnetic fields) from WiFi and cell phones can cause serious harm.
 
Minimize the amount of time you spend with the phone against your ear by using speakerphone or headphones (avoid wireless headphones of any kind) but, above all, and at least, have a clean environment to spend your sleep time in.  It’s easy.
 
Your bedroom should have no WiFi routers or receivers (your bedroom should have a minimum of electronics, period).  Consider switching to a battery-operated alarm clock.

Put your smart phone in airplane mode at night or keep it in the next room.
 
If you must have some electronics in your bedroom, keep them away from the head of your bed, especially if you have a metal frame holding your box spring and mattress (I have only a battery-operated travel clock and a lamp in my bedroom, and I keep the phone in the adjacent bathroom, where I can hear it if necessary).  

If you want to be sure your bedroom (or any room of your house) has safe levels of EMFs, purchase a Gauss meter and take some readings. 

Avoid exposure to light

Avoid exposure to light, especially between 1am and 4am -- light exposure can block melatonin and make it much more difficult for you to get back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Use a very dim (ideally blue light-blocking) nightlight if needed for late night trips to the bathroom.  Here are a couple of nightlights we like!

Keep your bedroom cool

Keeping your bedroom cool, between 62 and 68 degrees is optimal for good sleep.  Wear socks if needed.

Establish a bedtime routine

Get a nice, calming bedtime ritual and stick to it.  Use your bed only for sleeping (OK, and one other thing...) -- a bed should not be used as a place to eat, watch TV, work on your laptop, etc.

Here is my sleep handout which lists all of these sleep tips in one convenient place.

Pleasant dreams!

Dr. Tamara Sachs

With over 30 years in the medical field, Dr. Sachs is a pioneer of Functional Medicine and Integrative Care. She has toured the world and spoken to over 500 audiences about the benefits of detox, wellness and nutrition-based health. Her experience is available to help YOU hit your wellness goals.

With credible, scientific and leading-edge information, and everything from resources to recipes, Dr. Sachs will empower you to take control of your life and your health.

Image Credit: Elena Bressan

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