I recently returned from a medical conference where one of the lectures was on repairing sleep deficits.
Something I was very interested in because I’ve always been a poor sleeper all of my life.
The take home point that really stuck in my mind, and now when I have a sleepless night I remind myself of this again and again so that I don’t stress out too much about it, was:
You are only ever one night away from a good night of sleep.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve struggled with insomnia or how big your sleep deficit is. Every single night is an opportunity to completely turn that around.
Because your last night’s sleep affects your next’s night’s sleep, when you have a really poor night just think of it as increasing your sleep pressure to make it all the more easy to repair your sleep the very next night.
The other thing that was comforting to me as well was this:
When you are laying there all night long, staring at the clock and counting down the hours as they dwindle in front of you and you get closer and closer to the time you have to get back up, yet you feel like you have not slept a single second… guess how much time you have actually been asleep?
Researchers in sleep labs have studied patients who are up all night, wide awake. Monitoring their brain activity on an EEG, researchers could see exactly what brain patterns they had every moment of the entire sleepless night.
What percent of the night do you think the brain has gone into a normal sleep pattern, even when you feel that you didn’t sleep a single minute?
10% of the night? 25% of the night? 50% of the night?
It turns out that when you are laying there all night long, your brain is actually catching sleep roughly 70% of the night. That is infinitely reassuring to me as I lay there, sure I got zero restorative sleep.
I remind myself that not only did I get a lucid, in-and-out, semi-rest where my brain unplugged for probably 70% of that sleepless night, but I also have an opportunity the very next night to turn my sleep completely around.
To that end, here is a list of my 14 favorite holistic ways
to help you get back into a health sleep/wake cycle.
Use throughout the day, in this order:
1. Get AM Light (or use a Light Box)
To easily correct your circadian rhythm, totally naturally, get into a habit of getting natural light on your face every single morning as early as possible outdoors.
20 – 30 minutes is ideal, but even just 10 minutes greeting the day before heading off to work will make a difference in your sleep that very night. Sometimes I can only have a cup of coffee in front of a well lit window for 5 minutes in the morning but it is still helpful to get that light on my face.
Another idea is to simply use a light box when you wake up. In addition to spending a bit of time outside each morning, I use my light box every day as well — especially crucial all fall and winter long — for 20 minutes while I am attend to my emails.
Effective to not only boost your daytime energy levels (making you more active during the day, when it’s healthiest to be active!) a light box will also help you sleep better that night… naturally, without taking any medications or supplements at all.
Perfect for those who don’t want to risk any untoward side effects from taking pills, a light box does more than just correct your circadian rhythm, light boxes have been shown to directly treat depression as good as a Rx medication and even boost libido.
2. Get Grounded During The Day
If you can touch the earth outside for even a few minutes, do it. The effects of grounding the human body start instantly, so there is no time too short for getting outside.
My new book The Earth Prescription (releasing this spring) is all about how to get outside not matter what the season, no matter what the weather, no matter what the location, and no matter what the circumstance. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter (just enter your email address in the sign up box on my homepage) and I will be sure to update you as that book becomes available for pre-order.
Meanwhile, I’ve got lots of great ideas for grounding outside — like this blog post I wrote for you on how to get grounded outside throughout the day, plus more ideas on my instagram page, on my facebook page, my youtube channel, and the best outdoor grounding tools (like USA made fingerless gloves!) that you can use all fall and winter long to keep your earth connection going strong… they are waiting for you right here.
3. Move Your Body Every Single Day
As I talk about in this blog post, walking each day is the one of the single best things you can do to prolong your life.
Walking has been shown to do everything from predict better remission rates during cancer recovery to prolonging life span to simply helping deepen sleep at night.
If I am not sleeping well at night I have to ask myself, did I truly move my body during the day? Increase your daytime activity levels and watch your nighttime sleep deepen. It’s directly proportionate.
4. If You Can’t Exercise Daily, Consider Sauna
Sauna increases the circulation of blood all throughout your body — getting the blood pumping through your cardiovascular system, your muscles, your skin, your joints, your brain — so it turns out that routine sauna has many of the same health benefits that exercise does.
So when the weather is too harsh outside, if you can find a local sauna to go to, you can feel confident that you are still boosting your health and longevity even without hitting the treadmill.
And there are several major medical studies that back this up, which I blog about for you right here.
5. Re-examine your work schedule
Lower your stress at work in order to protect your sleep patterns. Not only be re-examining work hours and job responsibilities, but by lowering stress loads all together.
Hop over here to read my blog post on how to decrease the negative impact that job stress can have on your life and re-consider or re-negotiate your work hours, your job load, your career path, your commute, your training requirements, think of ways you can delegate or ask for help for routinely overwhelming responsibilities, and many more ideas here.
6. Address the Adrenal Fatigue that has you “tired but wired” and unable to go to sleep.
If you have been through any kind of stressful situation or big life transition or change (even fun, positive ones like marriage, a new job, a new baby!) chances are your adrenals could use some TLC.
I’m running a 5 day healing online class starting Nov 4th so together we can recover you from I’m going to share with you exactly what causes adrenal fatigue and all the absolutely critical ways to address it. I run this class every fall because fall is the perfect time to finally go inwards and address your burn out. If you start to take care of your adrenal rhythm now, in just a few short months from now you can be fully recovered from Adrenal Fatigue and emerge this spring feeling better than you have felt in many many years! Ready to eat lighter, sleep in a healthier pattern, lose weight, and move your body more.
Did you know that you can actually be in adrenal fatigue from birth? It’s true.
But did you also know it’s fully reversible, no matter how long you’ve been living on fumes? That’s also true, and I will help you get there. Grab a spot in this class here and let’s repair your adrenals together
Decreasing the disruption to your health at night by decreasing your EMF exposures — removing those you can remove, decreasing those you can decrease, and shielding from those you can’t do anything about — will help your body truly restore it’s health during sleep.
I have a guide for you to help you do just that, without the overwhelm of “where to start!?!?!”
Hop over here for a blog post I wrote that gives you a free printable checklist on decreasing your body’s EMF exposures… especially crucial if you suspect you are EMF sensitive.
Ok I’m a mother of two teenagers (oh my how the time has flown) and it’s just completely unrealistic for me to expect them not to use their computers to complete homework assignments, or use their phone to arrange plans with friends, or to use their televisions to unwind at night to catch up on their favorite TV shows or (in my son’s case) watch their favorite sports teams play.
That said, you can make the glow from these screens less disruptive to circadian rhythm simply by the compromise of wearing blue light filtering glasses, like these.
The mind/gut connection is completely underrated.
Decreased gut flora has been linked with anxiety and probiotics are now shown to be a very effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, and as a bonus, they boost immunity.
My favorite way to reestablish a healthy gut balance is to kick start any probiotic regime with a 7 day intensive probiotic inoculation with Innate Response Flora 200-14 Seven Day Intensive treatment and I have those waiting for you in my online dispensary here:
The hormone that signals it is time to sleep for our body, our melatonin levels naturally decline with age. I know some people avoid melatonin because they believe it decreases your body’s own production, but the truth is that the body naturally makes less and less over time, and is not likely to ever rebound production on it’s own anyway. So if you find it hard to naturally fall asleep, you can safely boost your own melatonin levels with a low dose melatonin supplement.
But here is the key, that most people don’t know. Most melatonin labels instruct you to take it one hour before bedtime.
Actually, the very best time to take melatonin is at dusk, as the sun starts going down.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan to go to bed for several more hours, still take it at dusk, that is the natural rhythm of melatonin production.
This one simple tweak can change everything for people who think melatonin doesn’t work for them. Take it as the sun goes down and you will find that no matter when you finally go to bed that night, you are so much more aligned with falling asleep than you would every have been only taking melatonin an hour before bed. By then, your body has missed the window of the natural circadian rhythm signaling that night is approaching.
I’ve found that patients can take a much much smaller effective dose of melatonin, sometimes as small as only 0.3 mg (instead of the usual 5 mg) as long as they are taking it right at dusk!
GABA is the brain’s soothing neurotransmitter.
If you are have trouble with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime, you might feel the calming benefits of supplementing with a product containing L-Theanine, which crosses the blood brain barrier and converts to GABA to help relax over active thoughts.
You can find both my favorite melatonin supplements as well as my favorite L-theanine supplements in my pharmacy-grade, trusted online dispensary right here.
To take your sleep resonance to the next level, you can combine your brain’s healing alpha sleep state with the Earth’s soothing Schulman frequency directly by grounding the body when sleeping with in indoor grounding product.
As I talk about in this blog post I wrote for you, it’s not just the sun that sets your day/night pattern but actually the earth itself directly does as well, so contact with the earth is just as important as daytime light to get your sleep patterns corrected.
While we sleep, we cycle through alpha sleep states and REM sleep states and each time we do we are held in beautiful resonance with the Earth’s healing energy. This is one of the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep impacts our entire body from head to toe… because high quality sleep does everything from preserve our brain volume and function to enhancing weight loss!
I have invested a great deal of time and research creating the highest quality, most reliable, washable, and ethically respectful (crafted by hand right here in the USA!) grounding healing tools. Tools like my eco-friendly organic hemp Grounding Mattress Panels. Or sleep right on top of my Grounding Organic Fitted Sheets, or even sleep warmly curled up with my Organic Grounding Hot Water Bottle on your tummy or by your feet… warm, comforting, reliable grounding… complete with a machine washable cover.
13. Sleep Shielded Nightly
If you lay in bed and still feel overstimulated, even after doing what you could off of your EMF Reduction Checklist (see idea #7, above) the next step would be to sleep under a shielding blanket or better yet, a shielding sleeping bag for 360 degrees of protection to all of your internal organs.
If you simply can’t turn off your router completely at night, or paint your entire bedroom with shielding paint, or hang a shielding canopy all around the bed (both the paint and the canopy run into the thousands of dollars and they are so cost prohibitive at this point that I don’t even use them myself and don’t yet carry them for my patients until they are a more reasonable price) then the most cost effective thing you can do is zip up into a shielding sleeping bag.
Ahh… the relief is immediate.
Similar to the relief I feel when I zip up in my shielding windbreaker before heading out the door for the day — you can feel your entire autonomic nervous system relax and appreciate the break from the onslaught of eSmog that is pervasive across the globe now. You can find the blanket and sleeping bag and jacket all of my other favorite shielding tools right here.
14. Get Up And Drink Magnesium If You Still Can’t Sleep.
Magnesium is very relaxing and because it helps your muscles relax and release, it is a wonderful nighttime drink. On nights when I am feeling tense (especially helpful for anyone who grinds their teeth at night or has restless legs!) instead of laying in bed growing more and more frustrated, I break out of that rut by making myself a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of powdered magnesium drink mix stirred into it, found in my online dispensary as well.
Just get up, take 10 minutes to sip your warm magnesium beverage, then settle back in and literally feel your muscles relax as you sink into bed more deeply. There, isn’t that so much better?
I hope this information helps you positively impact your circadian rhythm, helps you boost your mood, remedy your sleep, even protect the longevity of your lifespan.
A good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to maintaining wellness — one thing is for certain — your body needs good sleep to function over a lifetime!
P.S. For more articles I’ve written on sleep health, click over to read: