Poor sleep, both the quality and quantity, is one of the most common issues that Americans experience today. The National Sleep Foundation reports that about 45% of adults report poor sleep quality. In 1910 American adults were sleeping about 9 hours a night whereas in 2013 that average went down to 6.8 hours a night.
When you don’t sleep, your body can’t build muscle and repair itself from injury, make white blood cells for a properly functioning immune system or detox from the day’s exposure to toxins. Sleep quality profoundly affects brain health and studies suggest that Alzheimer’s may be preventable with a nightly dose of good sleep.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
There are 2 reasons that I believe are the biggest contributing factors to this problem. One is the disruption of melatonin production and the other is the fact that most of us are burdened high levels of toxins in our bodies and have a decreased ability to detoxify.
Melatonin is the hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that tells our body when it is time to sleep. Normally melatonin gets released at night. Cortisol, which is another hormone, is high in the mornings and tells us when to wake up. Exposure to bright lights and blue light-emitting electronic devices prevents adequate levels of melatonin to be released so that it is difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep for more than a couple hours. These devices include TVs, computers, cell phones, and Ipads.
- Turn off your electronics 2 hours before bedtime. If that is too difficult for you, an alternative is to wear Orange glasses that are specifically designed to block blue light. These are available online.
- Turn off or lower the lights in your house after sundown. If you cannot live without conventional light, use the old school incandescent bulbs as opposed to LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs emit very little blue light.
- Sleep in a dark room, as dark as possible. Avoid nightlights and digital clocks. Even a small amount of light can interfere with melatonin production.
- Get sunlight exposure in the morning. This will help cortisol to increase in the morning and helps produce melatonin at night.
We Americans are exposed to an astounding amount of toxins in our environment that we have to contend with daily. When toxins make their way into the body they head to where there is fat. A membrane that is made of fat surrounds all the cells in our bodies. Attached to every cell membrane are hormone receptors that allow messages to get in. Every hormone in your body has to attach to a receptor on the cell membrane. That includes thyroid hormones, insulin, the sex hormones of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and also melatonin. When toxins attach to the fat on the cell, they block the hormones from being able to do their jobs and the cell membranes become inflamed. Inflammation is known to be the cause of many things like cancer, diabetes, pain, and every hormone imbalance including why people can’t lose weight or why they can’t sleep. What is particularly alarming is that toxins especially heavy metals can get into the pineal and the pituitary glands in the brain and affect sleep as well as puts us at risk for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- True Cellular Detox. True Cellular Detox is a program that removes the toxins from the cell including from deep within the cells of the brain, repairs the cellular membrane, helps rev up the body’s detoxification processes and ensures complete excretion of the toxins. Other cleanses like a colon or liver cleanse does not go far enough upstream to get to the level of the cell. True detox has to happen at the level of the cell. If we don’t remove toxins from the cell we are not going to permanently solve the problem. Additionally, most other programs will start moving toxins but they’re not strong enough to hold on to them so they don’t get excreted. The result is the stirring up of toxins, which is why you will often feel sick, then they just get reabsorbed. Contact me for more information about True Cellular Detox and to get started.
THE TOXINS NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT: EMFS AND THEIR ROLE IN SLEEP DISRUPTION
EMFS stands for electromagnetic fields. They include radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices, microwave ovens, and dirty electricity from electrical outlets. Studies have determined that EMF exposures at night can interrupt sleep cycles and contributes to other problems like exacerbation of allergies, heart palpitations, muscle pain, and weakness and daytime irritability.
- Unplug the wifi. Unplugging your wifi router is one way to lower the EMF impact on your body while you sleep. An even better solution is to get rid of the wifi in your house and get wired instead. I just did that in my home and I’m so glad I did. A company called Next Level did it for me.
- Unplug all electronic devices from the bedroom. Dirty electricity is emitted anytime an electronic device is plugged in even if it isn’t turned on. Unplugging everything will cut your EMF exposure while you sleep. This is especially important with the things closest to your head so avoid plugged in alarm clocks or phone-docks.
- Turn your phone on airplane mode. Turning your phone off or putting it in airplane mode is really important if your phone is lying next to your bed. You want electronic devices as far as possible from your body when you sleep.
GENERAL SLEEP SUGGESTIONS:
- Get acupuncture! I have helped hundreds of people achieve better quality sleep over the 14 years that I have been practicing.
- Get to bed early. Restorative and deeper sleep happens earlier in the night so if you can get to bed before 10, you will sleep better.
- Do whatever you can to reduce your stress. Stress increases cortisol and decreases melatonin. Meditation, exercise and laughter are good stress reducers.
- Eat 3-4 hours before bed. You can’t sleep well if your body is expending energy digesting food.
- Cooler temperature. Have your bedroom temperature be between 65 and 68 degrees will help you sleep deeper.
MY FAVORITE SLEEP AIDS
- Sleep Plus is a supplement I carry that contains 5HTP and Corn Grass. 5HTP is a precursor to melatonin and it helps your body to make its own. It helps you stay asleep longer. Corn Grass helps you relax so you can get to sleep.
- CBD from Full Spectrum Hemp is being studied extensively right now and has demonstrated positive effects on sleep. I carry an exceptional brand in my office.
To Your Best Health,
Sydney Cooley L. Ac., Dipl OM
My Acupuncture Durango
801 Florida Rd, Suite 12, Durango, CO