Before I go in to discussing techniques to better sleep it is more important you get that almost all symptoms derive from the stress response.

The stress response is our bodies way of adapting to a situation and it should be a natural response that is a good thing. Unfortunately in our society most people live their life under stress whether it’s physical, chemical, or emotional stresses. In the wild, when you have animals being chased by their predators the animal which is the prey will be going through the stress response (fight or flight) while it is being chased. This is great as certain physiological responses will happen:

1) Blood pressure rises (you want to hurry and get away from someone chasing you)
2) Cholesterol increases
3) Blood sugar increases (your body needs more sugar when being chased)
4) Serotonin decreases (nobody cares about being happy under stress)
5) Decrease memory (remember cramming in college and not remember everything)
6) Digestion slows down (your body does not care about digesting food in times of stress)
7) Decrease immunity – (immunity will increase after fight or flight to help with the healing response)
8) Decrease sex drive (nobody cares about having sex under times of stress)
9) Melatonin decreases (you don’t want to sleep under stress)

These are many of the physiological stresses that occur while in fight or flight and chronically they lead to the MD drugging us for one of those symptoms. High blood pressure? Pills for that. Depression? More pills for that Diabetes? Drugs for that.

And what really frustrates me about almost all of these is that is that they can be helped naturally without the use of drugs or surgery. If we do things for our body that go to the CAUSE and not just treat the EFFECTS then we can truly living a life of reaching our max human potential.

Hours to Sleep

Now that you get the stress response it is important to learn how to get your best nights sleep. In the hunter and gatherer days the animals would spend the summers hunting and gathering massive food so they can prepare their body for the dark winter months. I truly feel the reason why we have more light in the summer was for that reason which means waking up earlier and staying up later will be ok during these months.

ACTION STEP: Go to timeanddate.com and type in your city to get the time of sunrise and sunset. The goal would be to fall asleep within an hour of this time so your body follows the natural rhythm of the sun.

Foods to Eat Before Bed

*Cherries – lower glycemic index and naturally release melatonin
* Grass-fed beef – for people looking to gain muscle mass it is great to eat beef before bed as it is a slow digesting protein.
* Sweet potatoes
* Water
* Whey protein

Best Positions/Mattresses/Pillows

Best Pillow – Tempurpedic Side Pillow
Best Mattress – iComfort
Best Position to Sleep – On back with pill under leg/on side with pillow between leg

Supplements for Better Sleep

Min-Tran – Stands for Mineral Tranquilizer and calms the nervous system and helps the body relax. Taking 3 capsules a night before bed helps shut down the body if it is fight or flight. Cost – $6/bottle

Cataplex G – This vitamin is made predominantly of B vitamins and helps calm the nervous system. It also helps the body with repair to increase cellular function. Cost – $11

Techniques to Crash

4 x 4 Breathing – Before bed breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe our for 4 seconds, and hold out for 4 seconds. Breathing helps to calm the nervous system which focuses on the cause.

Black Out – Turn the alarm clock around, put black tape on the cable tv light, and make sure there is no light in the room. Even the smallest light can block melatonin and not allow your body to sleep.

Listen to Sleep Meditation – One of my favorite things to do is go to YouTube.com and type in “guided sleep meditation”. Play this before you go to bed and I promise you be “lights out” before the meditation ends.

Remember, sleep is 1/3 of your life and people with poor sleep tend to have poor health. Follow these recommendations and keep increasing your bodys health potential and living the life of your dreams.

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Over the past few weeks I have had numerous people ask me about sleep and how to get a the perfect quality and quantity. The good news is on Tuesday July 16th at 6:30 PM I will be doing a 45 minute workshop in the office about maximizing your sleep and significantly reducing your risk of chronic diseases. When it comes to sleep there are many hormones that are affected and by not getting good sleep we alter the balance of those hormones:

Serotonin – this is the happy hormone and not enough leads to depression
Insulin – helps body regulate blood sugar and messing with these leads to weight problems and diabetes
Melatonin – this is the sleep hormone and slow this down then you completely throw sleep off
Dopamine – altering with this hormone can lead to ADD and other neurological problems

A major foundational point is understanding that our body follows a natural rhythm and it follows the sun. In hunter and gatherer cultures and in different Blue Zones  these people would fall sleep right when the sun set. They would not be watching TV, playing on an iPad, or playing on the computer once darkness happened. This technology and light induced electronics alters the 4 hormones displayed above and throws us in a state of stress.

On July 16th I will be going through how to make this practical for the 21st century as many of us don’t get off work until it has already been dark for hours.

If we study wild animals many of them do most of their eating and hunting during the summer months as they are storing energy for the cold and short winter months. In my opinion this is why G-d gives us more sun in the summer so we could stay up longer hunting and eating. A fact you should really understand is that we are wild animals and we are part of the Animal Kingdom (remember 8th grad biology?). The sad news is too many of us are living lives of animals that are stuck in captivity and not living out a life of a wild animal.

If you study health differences between animals in captivity verse animals in the wild then you will see quantity of life is significantly decreased and chronic disease rate is super high for captive animals. At our workshop I will be going through how you can prevent many of these disease and reduce your risk by maximizing sleep and getting the right amount.

Most of this boils down to light and understanding how to make this our friend not our foe. For example, if we start our day before the sun rises and stay in well lit rooms once the sun goes down then naturally our body will crave carbohydrates. Physiologically it will do this as explained before because it wants to store up massive energy for the winter months but for many people this leads to overeating and eating food we should not be eating. At the workshop I will explain the best times to eat and what are the best foods to eat before going to sleep.

If you plan on making it please reply to this e-mail or let Samantha know on your next visit.