Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Sleep Really that Important?

“Sleep is the most important predictor of how long you will live, perhaps more important than whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.”
Demet, W. & Vaughan, C.  The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep, 2000: Dell Publishing, N.Y.

Some tips for increasing restful sleep:
  1. Go to bed at a time that will allow you to wake up feeling rested.  It is best to keep a consistent wake/sleep cycle, even on the weekends.
  2. Create a sleep-friendly environment.  Keep you bedroom quiet, cool, dark and free from clutter and distractions.  
  3. Sleep in as dark an environment as possible.  Consider eyeshades or black-out shades for your windows.  Melatonin regulates the sleep/wake cycle and is secreted in darkness.
  4. Take an Epsom salts bath before bed.  Add 1 to 2 cups to a hot bath.  (Caution: Avoid Epsom salt baths if you have heart trouble or are diabetic.)
  5. Remove anything electrical from your bedroom. (e.g., TV, computer, electrical alarm clocks, phones, etc.)
  6. Avoid drinking too much liquid in the afternoon and evening.
  7. Journal before bed.  You can write down things you are grateful for, your dreams or worries, or just write about your day.
  8. Take 200-400 mg of magnesium to relax your nervous system and muscles.  Use magnesium citrate if you tend toward constipation and magnesium glycinate if you tend toward loose bowels.
  9. Soon after awaking, expose yourself to bright sunlight.  This will help to reset your internal clock allowing you to differentiate between night and day.
  10. Use caffeine wisely.  It you are needing it to help you stay awake during the day, it may end up preventing your from quality sleep at night. 
  11. Avoid relying on alcohol to fall sleep.  It may help you fall asleep, but it will interfere with the quality of your sleep.
  12. Try relaxation or breathing exercises, meditation or a guided imagery CD to help you fall asleep or to help you go back to sleep if you wake up in the night.
  13. Avoid energetic exercise after dinner.  It can be stimulating and can make it more difficult to fall asleep. 
  14. View sleep as an essential nutrient.  Make it a priority!

Wishing you blissful, restful sleep!


Hyman, Mark.  The Blood Sugar Solution. Little, Brown and Company:New York, 2012.

Clark, Linda.  Detox 360°:  An Integrative Detox System. Apex Energetics, Inc., 2010.

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