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5 Simple Steps to Successful Sleep

Whether you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep – the culprit may be your bedroom.

A few simple room tweaks can stop the tossing and turning once and for all. Here’s how:

  1. Stay cool. You will fall asleep faster in cooler air because when you go to sleep, your “set point” – the temperature your brain needs to reach before going to sleep – goes down. If your room is too hot, you’ll have a harder time reaching this point and falling asleep. Keep the temperature around 65 degrees. Try using a few fans, opening the window or a lighter comforter.

  2. Block the light. Light has a stimulating effect on the brain. We are wired to associate light with morning, not with electricity. Block as many sources of light from your bedroom as possible. For outside light, consider blackout shades. If you can’t live without a nightlight, make sure the bulb is 7 watts or lower and doesn’t shine directly on the bed.

  3. Turn the clock. Clocks are one of the most disruptive items in our bedrooms yet are often overlooked. Yes, even with your eyes closed, the light from your clock can be telling your brain to wake-up. If you can’t wake up without an alarm turn the clock to face away from your bed. Bonus: You won’t be tempted to count the minutes as you fall asleep.

  4. Ditch the electronics.  According to Harvard Medical School the blue light emitted from digital screens is very stimulating to brain activity, making it harder to conk out. Consider keeping the TV out of your bedroom and limiting your computer use as bedtime approaches. We recommend a full hour of electronics-free time before bed. Tip: If you can’t pull yourself away from your iPhone or Mac, consider downloading f.lux – a free app that automatically adjusts the brightness of your screen based on the room you’re in, and the time of day.

  5. Sleep Solo. We know you love your pets. A lot. Over half of dog owners let their pet share their bed, and most cat owners do the same. While pet affection can be calming and relaxing they can also steal blankets, roll around and need attention – generally disrupting your sleep.

We won’t compare snoring spouses to animals – but the solution may be the same. If you think your spouse is keeping you from getting shut eye – try sleeping in a different room periodically. Getting the rest you need is essential to your well-being and that of your relationship.

Next Steps

If you’ve tried all these remedies and still find you’re dragging through the day it makes sense to be evaluated for what may be the root cause. I’m not talking about a sleep clinic – which really only results in one of two solutions: medication or a CPAP machine.

The type of evaluation that will help you get to the underlying cause is a Functional Medicine approach that looks at your blood sugar, any adrenal issues or nervous system imbalances.

Click the link below to take our Nutritional Profile Quiz. You’ll get your results immediately.

 

Take our Nutrition Profile Quiz!

 

Dr. Marina Rose practices in the San Francisco Bay area. She uses a Functional Medicine approach to help people improve their sleep as well as a variety of other health issues such as digestion, mood, hormones and inflammation.

6 Comments

  • Kevin Carney

    Reply Reply May 13, 2015

    Ditch the electronics? I’ll try, but I make no promises.

    • Marina Rose

      Reply Reply May 15, 2015

      Just for the last hour before bed. It can make a big difference in your ability to produce melatonin.

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