👉 9 Tips for Getting Great Sleep
Humans are not getting adequate, restful and restorative sleep. Up to 30% of patients surveyed reported one or more symptoms of insomnia, women affected more so than men. Many women in my practice require a prescription sleep aid to treat insomnia, which then creates dependence on these medications to sleep at all. Many of these medications when used long term (such as benzodiazepines like xanax or klonopin or other sleep agents such as ambien for example) have been linked to increased rates of dementia.
Why are we not getting sleep? 6 main reasons
- We take stimulants such as coffee or black tea to start the day and to help keep us awake during the day. The problem is that the effects of caffeine may not wear off by the time we are ready for bed.
- We depend on alcohol at night to help us fall asleep. Unfortunately alcohol ends up creating wakefulness at 2AM as the liver starts to detoxify the consumed alcohol for the night.
- Excessive blue light exposure disrupts natural circadian rhythms that give us the signal to wake up or to get to sleep. Think about all of our screen exposures — ipads, iphones, TV screens, computer screens that continue until the second we go to sleep.
- Artificial light also wrecks our natural circadian rhythm. We weren’t meant to stay awake beyond sundown, nor to wake up prior to sun up.
- We believe that sleep is expendable. We need to fit more into a 24 hour period. Sleep has become optional for many.
- Stress levels are at an all time high and this prevents us from being able to wind down at the end of the day, keeping us in a state of being “wired but tired”
What happens when you don’t get enough quality sleep?
- BRAIN: Impaired concentration, memory, focus and also concentration. Wait, did I mention concentration? I don’t know about you, but I can’t really afford to have MORE of these issues in my life.
- IMMUNITY: Reduced ability to fight off infections and increased risk of getting cancer
- HEART: Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease
- PAIN: Reduced pain tolerance, irritability, increased joint aches and pains
- WEIGHT: Increased risk of obesity
9 Strategies for Getting Better Sleep
- Get morning sunlight exposure — this will help to fix your circadian rhythm so that your body knows when to get up and when to fall asleep. That means, as soon as it is light out, get out of bed and jump around. Literally, do something cardio-like as soon as you get up, even for 5 minutes.
- Avoid artificial light within 1-2 hours of bedtime. You can use blue light blocking glasses while using your digital devices, or better yet, stop using your devices prior to bedtime.
- Be in bed by 10PM if possible, as the most restorative sleep occurs between 10pm and 2 am. It’s not just about the amount of hours of sleep you get, but the timing of your sleep.
- Use blackout curtains to keep your room pitch black.
- Turn off all devices that emit light like clock radios, and put all digital devices on airplane mode or better yet in the OFF position.
- Make sure the room is cool, ideally no more than 65 degrees.
- Limit caffeine to the morning, nothing after 10 AM
- Form a going to bed routine — hot bath, chamomile tea, meditation, calming music, journaling, prayer, or relaxing reading. Establish a sleep ritual to get your brain on board with going to sleep.
- Consider some natural supplements to help with sleep. My favorites are magnesium glycinate, Glycine, L-theanine, phosphatidyl-serine, CBD or serotonin precursors.
👉 5 Benefits of Vitamin D
Here are 5 pretty good reasons to take Vitamin D on the daily. If you suffer from any or many of the below listed conditions, it is mission critical to get your vitamin D levels up to snuff.
- Reduces inflammation and Autoimmunity
- Improves Brain Function
- Reduces Cancer Risk
- Improves Mood and Sleep
- Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks
Dosing of Vitamin D
Ideally, it is best to check your blood levels of D to determine what dosing you will need. Ideal serum levels are between 60 and 80. In general, the darker skinned you are, the higher the dose you will need. The less sun exposure you have, the more Vitamin D support you will need.
Start with about 2,000-3,000 IU a day. If your serum levels are 30 or less, consider taking 5,000 IU a day of vitamin D for 3 months and then rechecking to see if you have adequately raised your D.
Take Vitamin D with adequate calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2
- Calcium citrate 600mg daily
- Magnesium (glycinate, citramate, malate, threonate are my favorite forms) 200 to 400mg daily
- Vitamin K2 1mg daily
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Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!