Dr. Baltuska’s Elite 8 Sleeper Picks for Optimal Sleeping Habits

DrBsleepSleep is every bit as important for optimal health as healthy food, pure water, exercise, prayer and meditation, and Chiropractic adjustments. The human body’s sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, plays a central role in multiple processes including mood and energy levels, disease progression, weight gain and much more.

In Sleep Deprivation, Life is ROUGH!

Reaction Time Slows: When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re not going to react as quickly as you normally would, making every activity of the day a potentially dangerous one.

Cognition Suffers:
Your ability to think clearly is dampened and you will have trouble retaining memories, processing information, and making decisions.

Emotions Are Heightened:
Your emotions will be kicked into high gear. This means that arguments with co-workers or your spouse are more likely and you’re probably going to blow things way out of proportion. Count on experiencing strong anxiety and flowing tears.

Immune System Shutdown:
Chronic sleep deprivation will weaken your immune system to that of a 80-year-old on antibiotics. You will be sick often. And if not actually sick, you will feel sick.

Better Sleep Quality and Quantity for Optimal Health

1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even a sliver light in your bedroom can disrupt your body’s clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. The glow from your clock radio, phone, moonlight, or streetlights could be interfering with your sleep, so do whatever it takes to find pitch black slumber. Move all electrical devices at least three feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades. I recommend a sleep mask to cover your eyes each night. The bonus of sleep masks are twofold. First, the sleep mask will reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes and pineal gland. Second, the Oculocardiac reflex is a physiological process that causes heart rate to drop when pressure is applied to the eyeballs. The sleep mask will trigger this response and calm your body allowing you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

2. Avoid viewing your phone, TV or computer screens in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 and 10 pm, and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. Even the American Medical Association now states: “…nighttime electric light can disrupt circadian rhythms in humans and documents the rapidly advancing understanding from basic science of how disruption of circadian rhythmicity affects aspects of physiology with direct links to human health, such as cell cycle regulation, DNA damage response, and metabolism.”

3. Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin with the strong contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production. Also, sun exposure is required to achieve optimal vitamin D levels for numerous health benefits.

4. Install a low-wattage yellow, orange, or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. You can also download a free application called F.lux that automatically dims your monitor or screens.

5. Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60 and 70 degrees F. Many people keep their bedrooms too warm unintentionally just because heat rises to the upstairs rooms. Optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees F.

6. Take a hot bath before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready to sleep.

7. Avoid using loud alarm clocks. Being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. Every time the loud alarm shocks you into reality, your body’s stress hormones flood the bloodstream. Imagine what you are doing to yourself with repeated use of the “snooze” button every morning! If you are regularly getting enough sleep, you might not even need an alarm.

8. Be mindful of electromagnetic fields in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well. A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. Ideally, you should turn off any wireless router while you are sleeping. You don’t need the Internet on when you are asleep.

Nighty-night,

Kelly Baltuska, DC