Can’t fall asleep? Can’t stay asleep?
Or do you sleep deeply, but even after a good night’s sleep, often still feel fatigued?Living with sleep deprivation, even for a short time, can have brutal effects on your physical and mental health.
Sleep is essential to your health. It is when your body and brain reset and prepare for the next day.
In deep sleep, your brain mitochondria remove damaged parts and cellular waste.
That’s partly why, after a good night’s sleep, you wake up feeling energized and thinking clearly.
Or you should...
The Health Benefits of Sleep
- Sleep affects growth and stress hormones, your immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.
- Research shows that the benefits are endless: healthy weight, lowered risk for serious health issues, reduced stress, and improved mood.
- Sleep is also VITAL to a large number of brain functions, including how nerve cells communicate and the process of dealing with toxins in your brain that build up during waking hours!
Along with diet, supplements, stress relief, and reduced exposure to environmental toxins, quality sleep is one of many lifestyle choices that can transform our genetic destiny.
When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you don’t methylate properly. And when you don’t methylate properly, you don’t make melatonin, a natural biochemical that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Many people take melatonin to support sleep, but as with most things in life, there are many factors at play.
You have an internal factory which makes your own melatonin. The issue is that factory can be easily disrupted by many things such as stress, inflammation, nutrient deficiency – and one of the biggest influencers – light.
A key initial stimulus for melatonin production is the onset of darkness, so before heading to sleep, be sure to turn off all lights (and screens!) or your body will not be triggered to make melatonin.
And it’s not just melatonin. Poor sleeping habits can dirty your genes.
Poor Sleeping Habits:
Here's how this can show up in your life:
- Not getting enough deep, restorative sleep. (Not necessarily your fault, it’s hard to do!)
- Going to bed late, getting up late.
- Eating a big meal before you go to sleep.
- Using your devices before you go to sleep.
- Irregular sleep patterns, like going to bed early one day and staying up late the next two days. (Come on, who’s guilty?)
Helpful Sleep Tips:
Going to bed and getting up, according to a fixed routine, is a powerful and simple way to help your body get the most refreshing sleep.
If you’re wired, a regular bedtime helps cue your body toward sleep.
If you’re scattered and unfocused, a regular bedtime helps create a routine that encourages focus.
Here are some effective sleep support tips to consider:
- Use blue-light filters on computers and other devices
- Avoid screen time one hour before bed
- Sleep in a dark room (or get a good eye mask)
- Monitor your sleep with apps such as Sleep Cycle
Additional tip: Exercise when it doesn’t negatively impact your sleep. Don’t skimp on sleep to exercise; don’t exercise later in the evening if it keeps you from falling asleep.
Let’s review some lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sleep quality right away.
Dr. Lynch's 8 Steps to Better Sleep:
Set up a regular sleep routine.
Consistently match your sleep schedule to nature’s circadian rhythms: asleep by 10:30 p.m. and awake seven to eight hours later.
Your ideal bedtime is 10:30 p.m. If you’re going to bed much later than that, start going to bed earlier in half-hour increments every other day.
Don’t drink caffeine after 2 p.m.
Stop eating three hours before bedtime.
If you have a fast MAOA, and if you’re NOT sleeping through the night, enjoying a light snack within an hour of bedtime may be helpful. Just a few bites of that evening’s leftover dinner is sufficient.
Monitor your device use.
Install a blue-light filter on your devices, stop all electronic activity at least one hour before sleep, and put your devices on airplane mode until morning.
Sleep in the darkest room possible.
Turn off all night lights and block bright illumination from street lights or neighbors. If needed, sleep with a good eye mask.
Ask someone if you snore or are a mouth-breather at night.
If the answer is yes, talk with your dentist. Snoring and mouth-breathing make for a poor night’s sleep and a dirty NOS3 gene.
Don’t take a multivitamin before bed.
A multivitamin might keep you awake at night. Supplements such as tyrosine and some herbal stimulants can also keep you awake.
Track your sleep!
Consider using the Sleep Cycle app
Try out the OURA ring.
- Download the full detailed checklist to receive Dr. Lynch's discount code for the OURA ring!1
Tracking your sleep helps you spot trends. I’ve spotted many trends in my own sleep through tracking, and have altered my habits to obtain more deep sleep and REM.
Supplements for Sleep Support*
Try Dr. Lynch's 8 Steps to Better Sleep Guide, and if you feel you need additional support, talk to your healthcare team about including supplements into your sleep protocol.
You may benefit from magnesium if you can’t wind down for bed in the evening.
Optimal Sleep – supports a healthy sleep-wake cycle*
You may benefit from Optimal Sleep if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Do not consider Optimal Sleep if you are a slow MAOA and 5-HTP makes you irritable.
Better sleep is not just a dream!
The key to changing your sleep schedule is consistency.
The Ultimate Sleep Guide above will help benefit your sleep over time, as well as your overall health.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping. Let’s optimize our health while we do!
Share your sleep success stories!
Found something that works well for you? Share your sleep success stories with us!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1Dr. Lynch is a brand ambassador for OURA ring.