I truly believe that even with the stress of everything we are facing right now, we can still feel healthier than ever if we intentionally set up supportive, comforting and deeply healing health routines.
So all winter long, I’m going to be giving you a weekly blog post full of uplifting ways to improve your health, and every single idea is something you can do right in the comfort of your own home. Social distancing approved.
It’s a new mini-series I’m releasing for you to help boost your health over these next three winter months. Forward this newsletter to a friend or a family member so that they can take part in this healing mini-series with you!
The series so far has been:
And now, on to today’s topic: Restorative Sleep
Today I really want to focus on something that is so important to your long term well being that you literally can’t live without it… and that is good sleep.
Sleep is absolutely crucial for optimized physical health. I am ferocious about protecting my sleep, because I know that sleep is non-negotiable and absolutely essential for longevity.
And the good news is, that no matter how bad your sleep is right now, 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.
So right now I am going to give you tons of ideas on deepening your sleep to protect your health… which is more critical now, than ever. Let’s go:
1. Get Morning Light On Your Face
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 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.
Seek your own sunlight exposures in a way that honors social distancing such as:
- sitting on a porch, balcony or front door stoop every morning
- eating picnic lunches outside mid-day
- observing which of the windows in your home are sunny and at what time of the day there is a sunbeam and sitting in those precious light rays while drinking your morning coffee, your evening tea, while working on your computer, or while reading a good book, etc… (the glass will stop the majority of UVB waves needed for making Vit D, so open the window if you can)
- even going for a drive or sitting in your car (even without driving) it if you have a car — be sure to roll the windows down and enjoy!
Another idea that might be a good resource for you during this pandemic and beyond, is to simply use a light box when you wake up.
In addition to spending a bit of time outside or in front of a well lit window each morning, I use my light box every day — especially crucial for me all fall and winter long — I aim for 20 minutes while I attend to my emails or package up orders.
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.
You can find the lightbox I love most right here.
2. Get Grounded During The Day
More on this next week, but I can’t wait until then to tell you about grounding because it so dramatically improves sleep as well.
If you can touch the earth outside for even a few minutes a day, do it.
If you have one rock outside you can touch, one blade of grass (even a weed!) you can touch, one leaf on a tree or bush outside, one corner of a cement driveway or garage or one square inch of sidewalk you can stand on, you can be instantly grounded.
The effects of grounding the human body start instantly, so there is no time too short for getting grounded — if it can only be 30 seconds, do it. If it can be 30 minutes, all the better.
My book The Earth Prescription 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…
…perfect for giving you tons of easily actionable ways to stay connected to our planet and boost your health during this pandemic and beyond.
Meanwhile, I’ve got lots of great ideas for grounding outside — tons of ideas await you on my ticktock channel, my instagram page, my facebook page, and my youtube channel. For starters, check out this video on 15 different ways you can directly ground outside even when you have no grass, no public greenway, and no yard to get grounded on.
3. Move Your Body Every Single Day
As we talked about in the first blog post of this series, walking each day is the one of the single best things you can do to prolong your life.
You have to move your body daily. Yes, even when you are stuck indoors. Yes, even when there is a pandemic.
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, which is why it’s included again in today’s idea list.
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.
Hop over to this blog post for easy ideas to increase your daily movement even when staying indoors.
4. Decrease EMF Exposures In Your Bedroom
Decreasing the disruption to your sleep at night by decreasing your EMF exposures in your sleeping area — removing those you can remove, decreasing those you can decrease, and shielding from those you can’t do anything about — this 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.
If you lay in bed and still feel overstimulated, even after doing what you could from your EMF Reduction Checklist, the next step would be to sandwich yourself between a shielding blanket above you and a mattress shield below you. I show you in this video here how this dramatically decreases the radiation to your body all night long, for hours on end. In a world where you can’t do much about decreasing your daytime exposures to radiation, decreasing them at night gives your body a precious opportunity to recover and boost your health resilience.
Ahh… the relief is immediate. You can literally feel your entire autonomic nervous system relax and appreciate the break from the constant onslaught of eSmog that is pervasive across the globe now. You can find all of my favorite shielding tools right here.
5. Block Blue Light From Reaching Your Eyes
Ok I’m a mother of two older teens (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 — especially right now when all of their learning is online. Or use their phone to stay in touch with friends, or to use their televisions to catch up on their favorite TV shows or movies.
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. You can find blue light filtering glasses almost anywhere, but make sure they are dark yellow to orange, not light yellow, in order to block enough blue light that it actually makes a noticeable difference in your ability to fall asleep.
6. Take Probiotics Daily
The mind/gut connection is completely underrated. Decreased gut flora has been linked with anxiety and probiotics are now shown to be an effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, and as a bonus, they boost immunity.
Since probiotics are being aptly called “psychobiotics” because of their beneficial influence on brain function, it’s not much of a surprise to see that they also result in an improvement in sleep. Research published in 2019 in Frontiers In Psychiatry showed that after 6 weeks of taking probiotics, participants has significantly improved sleep quality. You can read this article right here.
My favorite way to reestablish a healthy gut balance is to kick start any probiotic regime with a 7 day intensive probiotic inoculation.
I have these waiting for you, along with the other supplements I suggest in this article, in one easy Sleep Restore Protocol that is waiting for you right here.
7. Take Melatonin At Dusk
I hear all the time from folks who say that melatonin doesn’t work for them. The most likely reason why is because they were taking them at the wrong time. You have to take melatonin as the sun is setting, not at night. This is the key!!! It must be at dusk, not 1 hour before bedtime (as instructed on the bottle of most melatonin supplements.)
Whether dusk is at 4 pm or 10 pm or any time in between, no matter what part of the season you are in or where you live, take melatonin as the sun goes down. Even if you plan to be up for hours and hours longer! Take it when it is natural for your body to have rising levels, and you will naturally relax through the evening and be ready for bed whenever you are able to hit the hay.
Why is this ultra important to focus on right now, during the pandemic?
Because interestingly, melatonin is emerging as a possible treatment against lung complications from coronavirus infection, as melatonin directly decreases lung inflammatory cytokines. Melatonin has even been proven to significantly decrease lung inflammation in patients who are on ventilators, making it perfect as a targeted supportive therapy for coronavirus patients.
This article, just published March 2020 in Respiratory Research, found that a melatonin receptor agonist not only significantly reduced lung inflammation for patients on a ventilator, it also significantly reduced their inflammatory concentrations of cytokines in the lung.
Because melatonin naturally decreases with age, it may be a unique factor contributing to the “agism” that the coronavirus has so far been displaying. Infants and young children have the highest natural melatonin concentrations of all, which might provide natural lung protection that steadily decreases throughout the human life span. Melatonin concentrations peak at age 6, are cut in half by age 45, and are almost non-existent in the elderly 80+. This may help explain why lung complications and death increases dramatically in coronavirus infections at age 40 and exponentially increases from there.
We even have 8 melatonin research trials ongoing right this minute to evaluate the possibility of using melatonin to prevent or reduce morbidity and mortality in coronavirus infection.
If you give melatonin a try, just don’t forget that 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, as that is our 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. If you take it at bedtime, your body has already 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! My favorite melatonin supplements, along with all the other supplements I’ve recommended in this article, are all waiting for you in my Sleep Restore Protocol here.
8. Take L-Theanine To Help Decrease Intrusive Thoughts At Night
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 in the brain to help relax over active thoughts.
A supplement called GABA Trex is my favorite L-theanine supplement, because it is a chewable tablet and doesn’t require water, which means you can leave it on your nightstand and chew one right before bed if it is just one of those nights where your brain is feeling restless… or chew one if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Like all the supplements I mention in this article, you can find my favorite GABA Trex in my in my Sleep Restore Protocol here.
(I find I get so many questions asking where to find these supplements and which supplements to take (as well as where to purchase them, since there are so many places, like Amazon, where they don’t properly store supplements so that by the time you get them in hand they are deactivated and a waste of money) so that’s why I want to be sure you know a reliable source for supplements in case you don’t already have one! If you have a different online supplement shop you love, I’m sure you can find all the same supplements there too!)
9. Get Up And Drink A Warm Magnesium Drink If You Still Can’t Sleep
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, 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, has neck and shoulder tension, 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.
There are lots of different magnesium powdered drink mixes, of course I’ve put my favorite one in my Sleep Restore Protocol right here. 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?
10. Keep A Dream Journal
There are so many benefits to your body and mind and spirit from getting deep restorative sleep. And one of the very best benefits is that you can process and release stress while you sleep!
If you find dreams fascinating and think it’s a fun project to undertake during winter, a time of hibernation anyway. I encourage you to sleep with a journal right by your bedside, so that you can wake up and — while you are still in that open, groggy, free flowing, intuitive hypnogogic state — record any feelings, thoughts, images, memories, impluses, sights, sounds, topics, ideas, etc… that you got from your dreams the night before.
There are lots of different types of dreams… some are simply to off gas old energy you are done with, some are just processing types of dreams to enhance memory and recall, some are about subconscious fears releasing… so it’s not necessary to take all of your dreams seriously or focus on ones that are disturbing or frightening. So if you find yourself waking from a truly frightening dream, it’s really important to remember that this likely arose from deeply held or suppressed fears or worries or anxieties that you have held onto because of past experiences, traumas, hurt feelings, past life wounds, etc… and just to let them go.
But if you do wake up from a dream and feel it is symbolic, you might want to have a dream journal by your bedside to jot it down in — one specific animal, situation or event that you are left with upon waking… for example, you battled a snake all night long, you were swept away in a flood, you watched a mystical creature swooping down breathing fire all around you. These dreams arise from your subconscious (Hello Dr. Freud!) and they are not about divine guidance as much as the mind’s way of dealing with big themes that are going on in your life. While they can be *informative* and full of fear or violence or sexuality or power struggles or other dynamics you are trying to sort and release in your life, I think of these dreams as more an intellectual exercise in processing and releasing. These are fun and interesting to record and might give you insight into how your mind is working on certain issues, but I would take this the same way you deal with your monkey mind during waking hours — with a bit of humor and not so seriously!
Every once in a while you might be lucky enough to get a dream that is incredibly calming and centering. These are the dreams where are you connecting with God/The Universe/Spirit — dreams about speaking to someone who has passed away, or seeing a long deceased pet, or a conversation with a spiritual guide or teacher, dreams of flying or astral travel or falling or riding elevators or going through tunnels. What is important to remember about these dreams are the physical sensations and *felt sense* that you get from the dream… sometimes it’s also important to write down a directive or information that was shared with you during the dream from a teacher or guide.
Keep your dream journals by your bedside so you can immediately record your experience in these types of dreams — they are lost very easily and forgotten, just like your intuition speaks quietly and can be easily overshadowed by the mind… these Divinely Inspired dreams are beautiful and centered and more quiet than your daily activities of life and are easily forgotten!
If you like want more of this type of guidance, on how to open to intuitive information and process it, you are in luck because I am starting my Expand You Intuition Online Class next Monday! I only run it once every few years (the last time I ran it was in 2019, and this will be the only time I run it in all of 2021.)
So if you’ve ever wanted to ask me about why and how I use intuition in healthcare, or help figuring out your own intuitive messages, or you simply want help learning how to protect your empathic nature as you face a harsh and overwhelming world full of toxic energy, I am here for you right here, right now. I am even going to have two live Zoom Q&A sessions with you during this class, so we can be sure I get all of your questions answered personally!
Please join in today, this is the very last week to sign up:
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!
For more articles I’ve written on sleep health, click over to read:
- Sleep and Asthma
- Sleep and ADHD
- Sleep and Cancer Recovery
- Sleep and Alzheimers
- Sleep and Weight Gain
- Sleep and Mood Disorders (Anxiety, Depression)
- Sleep and Mental Illness
One last thing… do you follow my podcast yet?
I’ve got more holistic sleep tips waiting for you there!
I recorded a 20 minute podcast for you all about a recent medical study on sleep, and run through all of these tips plus a few extra bonus tips (for a total of 14 holistic steps to your best night’s sleep yet!)
Hop over here to listen in and please be sure to subscribe. Intuition Physician Updates is a brand new podcast I just launched and I’ll be adding new episodes on the latest holistic health news all year long!
Good sleep is non-negotiable for long term health. So this entire week, focus on getting deep restorative sleep and prioritizing sleep above other activities that might be distracting you.
Also be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of the uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week!
If someone forwarded you this email so you could join in on this health routines mini-series with them, you can sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here: