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Research is abundant that shows chronic sleep deprivation is one of the major risk factors contributing to everything from depression to Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic pain is increased significantly, and divorce rates double. Insomnia also drains the “joy factor” out of our lives.
Mainstream medicine is quick to offer a quick fix with sleeping medications. Objective experts caution about memory loss, amnesia, loss of balance, increase of pneumonia risks and other undesirables with long term use of drugs. The sleep achieved with sleeping pills has been found to not allow the “restorative” type of sleep that we would achieve on our own if our sleep worked as it should.
Despite decades of investigation and research, the true purpose of sleep to our body has eluded researchers until recently. The latest studies point to the fact that sleeps #1 purpose may be to detoxify the brain! The activity of our waking brain creates certain chemical compounds that become toxic if not removed by sound sleep. Imagine your colon not ridding itself of its built up residue everyday and how unhealthy your entire body would become. To view a TedTalks video on this subject, click here.
I have observed thousands of individuals who are desperately looking for relief from chronic poor sleep in my career. I also personally have dealt with this issue in my own life and I must say it is not always easy to find non-drug answers. The reason it is complex is because it usually cannot be addressed by single pill fixes but requires putting together a “sleep plan” in order to achieve results.
Here are the 6 steps in Ed’s Plan for improved sleep:
- Sleep in Complete Darkness and maintain the bedroom at 70 degrees. (I recommend using eye covers every night)
- Move all electrical appliances away from your head and body by 3 feet. Electrical magnetic fields affect brain chemistry in a very negative manner.
- Get a minimum of 30 minutes of direct sunlight some time in the first 6 hours of being awake. This anchors our sleep rhythm. If circumstances make it impossible to do this I suggest purchasing a special light that achieves the same goal. Click here to view. Also attempt to spend the last 2 hours of your day away from bright lights.
- Realize that depression and anxiety are often associated with insomnia, especially if you have early morning awakenings and cannot go back to sleep. To maintain optimal levels of natural brain chemicals, consider looking into your Vitamin D levels, Omega 3, folate and possibly using 5-HTP at night to raise serotonin levels. (check with your health practitioner if you are being treated for medical problems) To read more about these nutrients, click here to download the free E-Book, Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired.
- Consider theanine or Kava before bed to calm your brain. Relax your body with herbs such as valerian, hops, skullcap, and poppy seed. 1mg of melatonin is suggested to further help reset the messages from our brain to instruct the body to sleep. Putting lavender oil or frankincense essential oil on bottom of feet is amazing effective for improving sleep.
- Check out all prescriptions that may contribute to poor sleep. Foods that contain MSG are killers of sleep. (MSG can be hidden because of lack of regulation that allows it to be called dozens of names such as yeast extract, soy, etc) Alcohol prevents deep sleep and of course caffeine should be stopped at an appropriate time of the day. Lastly do not drink any liquids excessively after 5pm.