Sleep Hygiene

We tend to overlook the simple things, the basic things. Sleep is one of these things. There’s a tendency for us to take sleep for granted until it becomes painfully obvious that our sleep is not long enough or not good enough for us to be well.

There is, of course, insomnia – not being able to fall asleep at all or taking an inordinate amount of time to fall asleep. Then there is sleeping too lightly or the slightest noise or discomfort wakes us. There’s also the sleep that seems like it should be enough, that we sleep through the night, but we wake tired instead of feeling fully rested and recharged.

Many people drag through the day and don’t feel energy until late into the evening and don’t want to sleep until sometime early in the morning.

There can be very specific reasons/causes for poor sleep and, sometimes, this can take the focused work of a dedicated physician to solve the puzzle. But, most of the time, the reason for poor sleep distills down to not practicing basic health habits that support a good nights’ sleep.

Sleep deprivation is often present in people who sleep a full eight hours a night due to their sleep not being restful and restorative.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with a great number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders and depression, autoimmunity and systemic inflammation, obesity, memory and cognitive issues, immune dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, learning disorders, alcoholism and drug addiction, and even seizures.

Supporting sound sleep depends on our health habits, or hygiene. If we follow a few basic habits to nurture our sleep it will typically improve.

First, we tend to live in a constant state of overstimulation in our culture. This is often even glorified, but it ends up draining us and leaving us in an overstimulated, but exhausted state.

Breath deeply and with an even cadence. Be present. Do one thing at one time. Be clear you don’t have to do everything right now. Be focused on what you can do and not attached to what you cannot do.

Use less stimulants during the day and especially less at night to prepare for sleep. Avoid caffeine after early afternoon. Too much consumption of sweets and alcohol impairs sleep. Poor sleep is often an exercise deficiency. It is very common that increased exercise will solve chronic insomnia.

Assume you need 8 hours of sleep a night. Get some exercise a few hours before bed. Contrary to popular belief exercising in the evening can improve sleep – walking is sufficient. Decrease the light you are exposed to at night – use soft light and consider blue light filters. Turn the volume down – listen to music or watch programs that are relaxing. Use reading, meditation, contemplation, and/or prayer before bed. Go to bed at approximately the same time every night. Retire a little earlier in the night to improve the quality of your sleep. Sleep well.

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Dr. Mark Force

Practice And Mission These experiences and practicing since 1984 have helped me be a catalyst for helping people heal from chronic and complex illnesses that commonly get dropped through the cracks. It’s an honor to be present to people healing; I love the work and study associated with it. There have been many gifted mentors over the years who have shared their knowledge - Lance West, DC, Harry Eidenier, PhD, David Walther, DC, and George Goodheart, DC - and I am extremely grateful to perpetuate their work and vision through practice, teaching, mentoring, writing, and research. My mission now is to turn the knowledge base I've gained from mentors and practice into books and courses for people to practice selfcare and doctors to incorporate more natural healthcare into their practices.

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