Sleep. It is a primary determinant of mental and physical health. Over the years I’ve found that the more I focused on good quality sleep, the more my health improved. Sleep is the time when your body repairs and regenerates. Your brain gets a deep cleaning. Your memories are consolidated for future recall. There is NO substitute for getting enough sleep! Many people struggle with sleep, I often find that that lifestyle adjustments are key to improving sleep. If these are *not* enough, or if further help is needed while getting behaviors that improve sleep on-line, a supplement or medication can be a helpful addition.
Sunlight exposure sets our internal clocks.
View sunlight by going outside within 30-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset. If you wake up before the sun is out and you want to be awake, turn on artificial lights and then go outside once the sun rises.
On bright cloudless days: view morning and afternoon sun for 10 min; cloudy days: 20 min; very overcast days 30-60 min. If you live someplace with very minimal light, consider an artificial daytime simulator source.
SCHEDULING needs to be consistent, even on weekends.
Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy. Pushing through the sleepy late evening feeling and going to sleep too late (for you) is one reason people wake at 3 am and can’t fall back asleep.
CAFFEINE MIGHT NOT BE YOUR FRIEND.
Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime. Even if you think you can have caffeine later in the day and still sleep, research shows that that the sleep you get is of poorer quality.
TRY SELF HYPNOSIS.
If you have sleep disturbances, insomnia, or anxiety about sleep, try the research-supported protocols on the Reveri app (for iPhone). Do the Reveri sleep self-hypnosis 3x a week at any time of day. It’s only 10-15 min long and will help you rewire your nervous system to be able to relax faster.
KEEP LIGHTS DIM.
Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am. Here is a simple rule: only use as much artificial lighting as is necessary for you to remain and move about safely at night. Blue blockers can help a bit at night but still dim the lights.
Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all.
DON’T LAY AWAKE IN BED FOR HOURS!
If you wake up in the middle of the night (which, by the way, is normal to do once or so each night) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR protocol when you wake up. Enter “NSDR” into YouTube and the top 3-4 options have different voices, durations for you to select from. Or simply do a “Yoga Nidra” protocol (enter “yoga nidra” to YouTube; 100s to select.)
EVENING ALERTNESS IS NORMAL.
Expect to feel really alert ~1 hour before your natural bedtime. This is a naturally occurring spike in wakefulness that sleep researchers have observed. Don’t freak out if it happens. It will pass! Use this spike in alertness as a cue to start winding down to get into bed.
COOL BEDROOMS ARE BEST.
Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove. Your body needs to drop in temperature by 1-3 degrees to fall and stay asleep effectively. Body temperature increases are one reason you wake up. Thus, keep your room cool and remove blankets as needed. If it’s too hot you would have to use a cooling device and that’s harder than simply tossing off blankets if you get too warm.
Drinking alcohol messes up your sleep. If you’re going to drink, try to do so at least an hour before bedtime, if not more.
CBD may be a helpful addition.
Ask your doctor what dose is appropriate for you. We often use doses between 5 and 50mg in our practice, the goal is to use the smallest dose possible. We carry doses between 25 and 100mg CBD in our Nature Pharmacy.
CBN is widely touted for improving sleep.
We carry CBN gummies in our Nature Pharmacy. You can also find CBN in many formulations along with other cannabinoids. The research on this use is lacking but many patients have found it helpful. Ask your doctor what dose is appropriate for you. We often use 25mg CBN gummies.
If you have questions or concerns about finding the right dose and dosing schedule for you, the doctors at Qwibil are happy to help you.