MY FAVE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

Do you remember being a kid, begging to stay up late, fighting the nap mandates and waking-up at the crack of dawn?

WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?

 

It pains me now to think of all those “great sleeps missed!” Great sleep is delicious and so underrated.  Truth is, it’s one of the fastest ways to a better mood, more energy, a sharper brain, it helps us control cravings and it’s one of the BEST anti-aging techniques around! It’s also beneficial in terms of Alzheimer’s prevention: Without great sleep our brains can’t flush out the toxins that accumulate.
Imagine it like this: pretend like there is a little dishwasher in your brain that only runs adequately once we reach a certain sleep quota. This is because this “dishwasher” cycle takes so much energy, that it requires all other energy-sucking activities shut down in order for this magic dishwasher to power up. Once we’ve stored up enough energy to run it, the flow of liquid whooshes through to clean the debris on and in between each item in the “dishwasher.” (In our case, the liquid is actually the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and it increases dramatically, pumping fluids up to the brain at a rapid rate, washing away waste proteins and toxins that build-up between brain cells during waking hours. So basically, when we are sleeping adequately, that fluid gets activated and our brains get their wash cycle!) If this procedure does not happen effectively…. well, you’ve seen the accumulation in the dishwasher when it hasn’t run properly, right? And who wants all that leftover debris?  In real life, we can also accumulate debris which may be one reason why sleep disorders are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. That essential wash cycle may not be happening enough due to lack of sleep.

 

So, know that by making sleep a priority you’re helping your brain get cleaned and self-restored each night. (Grateful moment: How divinely made are we to have this self-restorative ability?) Now we just need to turn our self-restoration setting ON at night by shutting the rest of us OFF  so we get enough great, restorative sleep to activate the process optimally.

Note: Around the year 1900, we were sleeping an avg. of 9 hours per night. Now we sleep an average of 6 hrs. per night. That is a drastic (33%) reduction in a short amount of time, evolutionally speaking, and thus our brains have not had enough time to adjust. Additionally, our brains are trying to contend with the increase in sleep disturbances and overstimulation due to the unfathomable increase in electricity and technology which have proven to be big disruptors as well.  That’s a lot to expect out of our very important, fragile brains.
One of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to give our brain the rest it deserves, and we can start by getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night!
Here are a handful of my fave sleep tips that I share with the groups I present to about Alzheimer’s Prevention/ Peak Brain Health/ and Women in Midlife:
  • Try to go to bed before midnight to get the most restorative sleep
  • Decide on a schedule & try to stick to it
  • If you nap during the day, keep it 30 min. or less (10 min. is ideal)

tracey-hocking-727337-unsplash

  • There’s advice out there that says “If you drink coffee, try not to drink it past 2PM.” That’s because caffeine stays in our system for ~8 hours. LIFEHACK: I found that I actually have to cut myself off from caffeine at 11AM because I am sensitive to it, and some of my clients have found the same. So, if you wake up frequently in the night/early morning–  start paying attention to the timing of your caffeine intake to determine what your own ideal caffeine cut off time should really be. Does it need to be earlier than you may have thought?

 

  • If you drink coffee, try to choose organic coffee, or beans that have been tested for molds and pesticides whenever possible. The neurotoxins in conventional (highly sprayed!) coffee beans can be disruptive to our nervous system, as can be the molds/mycotoxins.  LIFEHACK: I love Bulletproof coffee for this reason: they have strict guidelines that need to be met in terms of the beans purity.  The Brain Octane Oil I add gives my brain some extra nourishment. They are both available at Whole Foods market, online or at Amazon. Bulletproof Coffee & Brain Octane Oil 
  • Don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bedtime if you can avoid it and avoid spicy foods at night if heartburn or digestive issues may be waking you up.
  • Exercise at least 30 min. a day.  LIFEHACK: try to finish at least 6 hrs. before bedtime so you do not get the energy surge associated with exercise.
  • Establish a relaxing nighttime ritual, like soaking feet in Epsom salts or taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are filled with beneficial magnesium and can be found at any grocery store.  LIFEHACK: To save money and for convenience, I buy Epsom salts online in bulk since my kids also use it to recover more quickly from sore muscles from sports and we go through the smaller bags way too quickly!  I add my own lavender oil and sometimes as well as some Redmond’s sea salt since it is often purer than sea salts that can absorb pollution from the sea. (Sea salts help us detox.)

Epsom Salts Tested For Purity- by Saltworks (bulk

Redmond’s Sea Salt – tested for purity   

USDA Organic Lavender Oil

  • The warm water from a bath can trigger our parasympathetic system (i.e.- calmness.) The trick is to not re-excite yourself with TV or too much stimuli after the bath….because then the benefit is reduced.
  • Avoid computer, phone & electronics for at least 1 hr. before bed.

 

  • Keep phones/tablets out of the bedroom to avoid the signals from the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s) which negatively affect our nervous system.

 

 

  • If you drink alcohol, try to keep it to “Happy Hour”: Avoid alcohol before bed if possible. It may help a person fall asleep initially due to its sedative effect but then that wears off and it often causes various sleep disruptions, including snoring, restlessness and not enough of the restorative type sleep, while the body undergoes a “rebound effect.” (Ever experience that initial spike in blood sugar, then a precipitous drop that wakes you up in a restless fit around 3 AM?) Alcohol also causes a disruption to the Circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a key facilitator of sleep and regulator of sleep-wake cycles, and research indicates that a moderate dose of alcohol up to an hour before bedtime can reduce melatonin production by nearly 20 percent.

 

  • If you do drink wine consider switching to some of the great organic wines. There are some out now that have been tested to be sulfite free, pesticide free and mold free. Conventional wines tend to be loaded with additives, pesticide residue from the highly sprayed grapes, contain molds and mycotoxins, all of which can be disruptive to the nervous system/ sleep. etc. and/or cause hangovers that affect brain function the next day. LIFEHACK: Dry Farm Wines is my fave go-to source for delish lab tested wines that are also low sugar, so none of that initial sugar spike and crash that negatively effects our cortisol. Dry Farm Wines

 

  • Keep room temperature cool

 

  • Take care of any snoring or sleep apnea issues- it’s very important for health! (A person is 2x more likely to get Alzheimer’s if they have untreated sleep apnea!)

 

  • Magnesium is known as the most powerful relaxation mineral available. It’s an antidote to stress and it can aid in sleep, can help relax muscles and help with a myriad of other conditions that might help a person sleep better.  Being magnesium deficient can cause insomnia. LIFEHACK:  There are so many types of magnesium it’s hard to determine which kind to take! The kind I love is Angstrom magnesium because it is easily soluble, and it does not act as a laxative like some other types of magnesium. (Check with your physician before taking. It’s safe for most people but there are some conditions that advise against magnesium intake.) Due to how easily it is absorbed (many types will pass right through you) the brand I love is  Mother Earth Angstrom Magnesium

 

  • Do a “Brain Drain”: write worries tasks down to mentally “set them aside” for the night. Knowing that our “to do list” is  not ignored but shelved away somewhere safe can give the type of peace of mind that assuages anxiety for some
  • Try using lavender oil before bed …put on wrists, temples or on the pillow.  LIFEHACK: This lavender scented pillow spray is such a nice treat! I’ve been obsessed with it ever since discovering it at the Hotel Bel Air. It’s so gorgeous and transforms my mood in an instant to one that says “I am taking good care of myself now.”  ThisWorks Deep Pillow Spray
  • Try deep breathing or reading a book if you cannot fall right to sleep (but avoid e-books due to the light)
  • Try earplugs or a white noise machine if you’re sound sensitive  LIFEHACK: I use a great air filter that creates a nice hum and also delivers very clean air with fewer allergens that can stuff me up and wake me at night. I also like that it has a “dim” setting so the lights are not too bright. Air Doctor Air Purifier
  • According to sleep researchers/experts, it’s better to get up for a bit than to lay in bed wide awake for a long duration because it sends the wrong signal to the brain and breaks the association that “bed is for sleep or sex only”
  • Avoid using Benadryl as a sleep aid (proven to be very detrimental for brain health when used to induce fatigue/sleep, which is an off-label use.)
  • Use more stress-reduction/ mindfulness techniques during the day to create more ease at night: less stress = better sleep.
  • Learn breathing techniques that you can utilize during wakings to try to reset your relaxation response. Excerpt/ Screenshot taken from the National Sleep Institute website: http://www.sleepfoundation.org:

Screenshot 2018-09-09 15.55.06

 

  • If you find that you have too many night-sweats that wake you, see your physicians to get to the root cause and to seek relief.  LIFEHACK: in the meantime, consider using moisture-wicking sheets and/or PJ’s. It’s amazing how far technology has come in the athletic world to develop sports performance fabrics that soak up moisture, and the same technology can be used for sheets and sleepwear. Soma offers a lovely line of sleepwear and you can get other brands on Amazon, as well as Moisture Wicking Sheets        Moisture Wicking Sleepwear

 

  • If you suspect peri-menopause, menopause (or even Man-o-pause!) to be the reason for night sweats, consider seeing a functional medicine physician who specializes in hormones. LIFEHACK: To find a Functional Medicine MD, try utilizing the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) search tool. IFM -Find A Practitioner 

 

  • LIFEHACK: One product that has worked well for several women I know in reducing peri/menopausal related symptoms (including night sweats) is called Dim Plus and you can read about it by clicking the link below. But please, check with your physician. I ‘ve not tried this myself the way I have every other product listed on this page- and I’m not a hormones expert, so please do your own due diligence. Nature’s Way Dim-Plus    

 

  • Assess whether or not you have inflammation, and if you do– can you get to the root cause to address it?  The pain associated with inflammation (such as arthritis, headaches, an upset stomach, nerve pain) can disrupt sleep. LIFEHACK: One product I’ve tried and swear by is called Total Restore  It is not for sleep or inflammation, per se, it’s for gut health, and there’s definitely a gut/brain connection. More specifically, this product is for leaky-gut syndrome.  However, for me it also works as a sleep aid! Ever since I started taking it I’ve been getting the most amazing nights of sleep. I can see how it might address sleep disturbances because leaky-gut can harm sleep for several reasons:  Leaky-gut can increase inflammation and levels of cytokine (the inflammatory messengers and studies have found that those who do not sleep well have higher cytokine levels than healthy sleepers. Higher cytokine levels can lead to insomnia.  Higher cortisol levels are also associated with leaky-gut, and the increase in this stress hormone can make it more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. So, I cannot say precisely why it is working so well for me – just that it is and…. it kinda makes sense.  And in the meantime, by taking this I’m doing something good for my digestive tract.  Win win!/ Are there underlying health issues that you might benefit from addressing, like body aches? Digestive issues? Snoring? Allergies?

 

 

  • LIFEHACK: Another interesting option is to use auditory stimulation to induce Slow Wave Sleep. Our ability to achieve Slow Wave Sleep reduces as we age, but science has found that certain acoustics and rhythms can induce it.  Worth a try!  Slow Wave Sleep .  There’s also something called Binaural Beats, two sounds at once that have been shown to reduce activity in the brain when trying to sleep. Fascinating to read about. Here’s a link to a piece by the Sleep Doctor about it: Binaural Beats- info from the Sleep Doctor

 

But my BEST LIFEHACK of all?  Become your own sleep scientist! We are all individually unique (and you will hear me say/  type that ad nauseam!) What works for one person may not work for another. As I say to all of my clients,

 

“Step into your power as the World’s Leading Expert in You!”
Utilize that position to discern what does and does not work for you, and continually tweak until you get to a place of ease and continuity. And then…recalibrate as things shift– as they always do.
Great sleep, great health… it is not a destination but a journey and you are the one doing the navigation. (Coaches are just there to help hold the map, share navigational skills and give support.)  Nobody knows you, your life, your needs better than you!

 

That said,  sometimes it feels challenging to find and implement the tools that might work, especially when exhausted! If  you feel that you could benefit by receiving some personalized coaching attention, please reach out. I love helping people reach their goals, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone thrive.

Sweet dreams 🙂

-Michelle

 


 

 

All content found on the Thrive + Fly Website, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only.  The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providerwith any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by http://www.thriveandfly.com or written by Michelle Gillette for the purposes of social media, for publication or for coaching is solely at your own risk. (Can you tell I grew up around attorneys? )

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