This is part II of the Sleep Rx so be sure to read part I for some background if you haven’t
In part I of the Sleep Rx I told you about the value of a good night’s sleep. In part II we’re going to talk about specific things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
The first 2 recommendation are by far the most important and they’re also the most inconvenient. This will appear as crazy talk to many of you but once you get this right you can dramatically improve your health. You may feel you are sleeping well but there are several scientific studies that show us the negative effects that blue light and EMFs have on the quality of our sleep.
Most of us can’t feel it but we’ve known since the 1950s that EMFs disrupt cellular signaling and cause inflammation in our body. And in 1989 scientist discovered melanopsin, a photo-pigment that is highly sensitive to blue light and sets our circadian rhythm.
#1 No Fake Light at Night
This is really important. Once the sun goes down you need to do your very best to limit your exposure to blue light as much as possible. Blue light is emitted from smart phones, tablets, computers, TVs, and fluorescent and LED lights so it’s basically everywhere.
Swap out fluorescent and LED lights in any rooms that you spend time in once the sun goes down. Especially your bedroom and your bathroom. I have two lights in my bathroom and one of them has an amber bulb that I can use at night so it doesn’t disrupt my sleep or mess with my circadian rhythm. At the very least go old school and get some incandescent bulbs.
One of the best investments you can make for your health is to purchase blue blockers for you and your family. Wear these at night once the sun has set and you will block all blue light from getting in your eyes. Your eyes have the photo-pigment melanopsin, mentioned above, that is responsible for setting your circadian rhythm. Blue night at night disrupts your circadian rhythm.
If you want something more stylish that blue blockers and if you spend a lot of time on computers or under LED or fluorescent lights strongly, consider getting prescription glasses with blue blocking lenses. If you don’t need glasses you can get these without a prescription so you can look stylish and block out excessive blue light. BluTech Lenses are one brand and I recently got some new prescription lenses from Costco that have a blue blocking film on them that are much more reasonable than BluTechs.
Your skin also has photoreceptors so cover up your skin as well if you are getting a lot of exposure to blue light at night.
You can also install f.lux on your computers and this will reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen.
#2 No Electronics in Your Bedroom
This is really important too. This means no TV, plug in clocks, or cell phones. If your phone is in your room make sure it’s in air plane mode. The blue/green light from alarm clocks destroys your melatonin and disrupts circadian signaling. When you have a TV in your bedroom it still emits EMFs even when turned off. The only way around that is to unplug it but just do yourself a favor and don’t have a TV in your bedroom.
Turn off your wifi when not in use (or switch back to wired if you can manage) and at the very least turn wifi off at night when you sleep. One option is to put your wifi on a timer so you don’t even have to think about it. Your cell phone, wifi, and wireless home phones all emit pulsed EMFs and these block the alpha wave frequency of the brain & directly disrupt circadian rhythm thus affecting your sleep.
#3 Get Morning Sun
This is the best way to naturally increase melatonin, dopamine, serotonin, and melanin. When you look in the general direction of the sun in the morning your eye builds ocular melatonin and this is then stored in the pineal gland and released at night after 4 hours of darkness.
This is when you want to take your glasses off because glass blocks UV light from the sun that is used to make melatonin, dopamine, serotonin, and melanin. Contacts do the same so you’ll have to take them out before looking at the sun.
Try for at least 15 minutes in the morning and if you work inside do your best to get 10 minute breaks in the sun throughout the day. The sun gets stronger later in the day so just look in the general direction and not directly at it.
Grounding or Earthing is just the act of connecting your body to the earth. If you are able, stand outside barefoot when you get your morning sun and this also helps to mitigate the effects of EMFs. Try to get at least 15 minutes in the morning and then another 15 minutes in the evening before bed. Grounding at night has dramatically improved the quality of my sleep.
#5 Keep Your Bedroom Dark & Cold
Consider blackout curtains or a sleep mask if you have a lot of ambient light coming into your bedroom. Your body actually drops a few degrees when you sleep so having your room cooler can help you fall asleep faster.
#6 Use Candles/Amber Lights
Consider using candles or amber lights in the evening if you are doing things. It takes some getting used to but it can really set the mood for some romance so give it a try!
#7 Avoid Drugs/Inflammatory Foods
Especially caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, pain medications, gluten, and pork in the evening. Cooking pork, especially fatty pork like bacon or sausage creates a compound called MDA that really disrupts sleep. If you eat pork/sausage earlier in the day you should be fine because your body has time to detox MDA.
# 8 Stop Eating 3 Hours before Bed
Your body cannot get into deep sleep cycles if it’s digesting food.
#9 Avoid Heavy Exercise 3 Hours before Bed
Heavy exercise increases your cortisol and this will prevent you from falling asleep or getting into a deep sleep. Walking, light yoga, and meditation are all great to do in the evening.
Remember, avoiding blue light is the most important of everything I’ve outlined here. Trust me…I know it’s a pain. I know it takes some getting used to. But this is one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep and your overall health. My sleep completely turned around after following what I’ve shared with you.
Stay tuned for part III where I’ll give you some recommended supplements to help with your sleep.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I wish you sweet dreams!