A Doctor Shares 7 Secrets for A Good Night's Sleep
Many Americans have trouble falling asleep, can’t stay asleep all night, or simply don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. Getting an adequate amount of rest is essential for living a healthy lifestyle. For National Sleep Awareness Week, April 23-29, 2017, the National Sleep Foundation aims to spread the word about the importance of getting enough sleep.
Dr. David Perlmutter, MD has done extensive research on this topic and reveals his findings in his latest book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. Sleep disorders directly affect the brain, its levels of inflammation, and your risk for developing brain issues. Studies have convincingly shown that your sleep habits impact how much you eat, how much weight you gain, how strong your immune system is, how creative and insightful you can be, how well you cope with stress, how fast you can think, and how well you remember things.
Poor sleep habits are a factor in brain fog, memory loss, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. So why aren’t you trying to get the best night’s sleep possible? Dr. Perlmutter describes sleep as a “diet of the mind” and recommends a low-carb, high-fat diet to solve sleeping problems and brain fog for good sleep. Read on to learn Dr. Perlmutter’s strategies for a good night’s sleep:
1. Prioritize and protect your sleep time.
Try not to sacrifice your sleep in favor of entertainment or work. To maintain your health, it’s essential to have a set sleep schedule and stick to it. Dr Perlmutter explains, “Because the body metabolizes a lot of waste products after 10:00 p.m. and the immune system revitalizes itself between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., it’s important to be asleep during these hours.” Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
2. Get enough sleep 365 days a year.
It can be easy to let your sleep schedule get out of sync during a vacation or a long weekend, but Dr. Perlmutter warns, “don’t let holidays and weekends derail you.”
3. Watch what you consume.
“Avoid caffeine late in the day and be mindful of the medications that might affect sleep,” Dr. Perlmutter says. Don’t forget that coffee and cola aren’t the only sources of caffeine. It’s also found in tea, other sodas, some over the counter painkillers, certain flavors of ice cream, and chocolate.
4. Cultivate a peaceful, clean sleeping environment.
For an optimal bedtime ambiance, Dr. Perlmutter suggests keeping electronics outside the bedroom, maintaining a cool temperature, and keeping the room tidy.
5. Prepare for bedtime.
Dr. Perlmutter suggests taking time to unwind before bed. You can create a bedtime ritual that you stick to as part of your daily routine. Perhaps your nightly habit can include drinking a cup of calming chamomile tea, doing a short yoga or stretching routine, or reading a book. Try to avoid blue light from your phone screen, computer, or television at least an hour before bed.
6. Gear up appropriately.
Choose comfortable pajamas every night for the best possible night’s sleep. Dr. Perlmutter advises wearing loose clothing that’s not too hot or cold. Look for nightwear made of thin, breathable materials like cotton, light linen, or silk blends.
7. Try melatonin.
If you have trouble sleeping, you may opt to try melatonin supplements to help you sleep. Melatonin is the “body's natural sleep hormone,” but according to Dr. Perlmutter, “it can be thrown off and might need to be rebalanced.” Melatonin can be purchased over the counter, but you should talk to your doctor if you want to try this natural sleep aid for dosage recommendations.
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