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My Top 10 Tips on Increasing Quantity and Quality of Sleep

Thursday, October 21, 2010 6:13 AM
 
When people think about improving their health, they always consider diet and exercise. Quality and quantity of sleep is the most under rated healing process, and is as pivotal as improving fitness than diet and exercise.

The National Sleep Foundation reported in 2008 that the average American gets only 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep instead of the 8 to 9 hours recommended by most health practitioners.

When clients come in for consults, regardless of their BioSignature profile I work on improving their sleep quality and quantity.
 
Why?
  • Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation in the body
  • Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone, all important hormones involved in repairing tissue
  • Lack of sleep increases both insulin and cortisol, leading to increased mid-section fat deposits, and insulin resistance
  • Poor sleep increases breast cancer risk
  • Poor sleepers receive fewer promotions, earn less, miss more days of work, and have decreased productivity

Here are my top 10 tips to increase quantity and quality of sleep:

1. Fill out your Grateful Log before going to bed

I consider this my top tip to sleep properly. It is very simple. All you need is a diary and a pen. I ask clients to write down a full page of things they are grateful for before going to bed. Clients who comply to this advice always report amazing gains in ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Ever hurt your fingers and then realize how important they are in your day? You become more grateful for them when they heal again. I ask clients to write down at least 10 things that they are grateful for. Every sentence should begin with either “I am grateful for…” or “Thank You for….” It is very calming for the mind and it helps you look at the World in a positive light before falling asleep. It prevents the mind from racing all night, and enriches the quality of your sleep. The rule is very simple, what you appreciate, appreciates. Every single client who regularly uses the grateful log has seen an increase in the quality of their lives, their sleep, and the riches coming in.

2. Answer three key questions before you to go bed, and do so by writing them in your Grateful Log
 
  • What did you do that was nice to someone today?
  • What did someone do nice for you?
  • What did you learn today?
 
Answering those questions will put your life in perspective, reset your brain on positive, and allow you to sleep better.

3. Take Yang R-ALA in the morning and at lunch

The Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) gives it its Yang property by helping you get energized write from the get go. Being the ester form of carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Nutrition researchers believe that ALC improves cognition by enhancing the activity of acetylcholine and/or increasing neuronal metabolism. There is a good chance that ALC might increase dopamine activity in the part of the brain where dopamine is produced and it has been documented in the literature that ALC enhances cerebro- and cardio-vascular blood flow, which will potentiate any other pre-workout nutraceuticals that I usually recommend.

A further added benefit of acetyl-l-carnitine, is that like the branched chain amino acids, it will prevent the decrease of plasma testosterone associated with high training loads, and will likely have a positive effect on your endogenous testosterone.
This product is particularly useful for people who when exposed to long term stress show signs of low morning cortisol, such as early morning fatigue and difficulty waking up.

The combination of the acetyl-l-carnitine and the R-form alpha lipoic acid has a syngergistic mind boosting ability that helps restore the body’s natural rhythm of being energetic in the morning.

4. Stay away from grains and refined sugars snacks before bed

The reason why they ruin sleep is that they raise blood sugar, and then create a reactive hypo-glycemia that awakens the clients, and makes it impossible for the client to fall asleep again. It is the main cause why women wake up between before 1 A.M.. Refined grains often contain allergens such as gluten which cause the body to make cortisol which awakens the woman.

5. Sleep in a bat cave

You should sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. Keep in mind that even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can mess up your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and the gut’s production serotonin ( better known as the happy neuro-transmitter.) That could be as small as the standby light on your television set. Presence of light in the sleeping environment is considered a risk factor for breast cancer.

A simple sleep mask can help sleep even better. I always make sure to have one in my suitcase. Furthermore, the minimal light rule applies to the bathroom too. By any chance, if you need get up in the middle of the night, keep the light off. Turning the light on will instantly interrupt the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Some researchers even advance that being awake longer than 3 seconds during the night is enough to interrupt melatonin production.

6. Minimize the electrical fields around your bed

You will be amazed how much better you will sleep. Before going to sleep you can turn off the breaker responsible for your room. Lowering the amount of EMF around you will amazingly improve your sleep. If you must need an electrical alarm clock to wake you up, use a battery operated one.

Keep the clock away from your view. If you are a worry wart and have difficulty staying asleep, watching the clock will make it worse. Covering with a towel will also diminish the light around. The best solution to diminish electrical fields is to turn the off the electrical breaker responsible for your room. Keep a flashlight near the bed for emergencies.

7. Take Alpha-GPC in the morning

Alpha-GPC is an amazing nutraceutical. It has been shown to regenerate the pituitary glands of subjects using it, even if they were 90 years old. When you regenerate your pituitary gland, your ability to make more growth hormone which we know does an excellent job at fat burning and preserving lean body mass.

8. If anxious take Lysine & Arginine

The amino acid lysine and arginine has been proven to be effective at reducing anxiety. This combination has been shown to improve galvanic skin response (a stress response indicator), and lower cortisol, adrenaline, and nor-adrenaline levels. One study showed, L-lysine supplementation lowered plasma cortisol in response to stress and reduced chronic anxiety (Smriga M et al 2004). L-lysine has been shown to act like a partial serotonin receptor antagonist, therefore inhibiting neurotransmitter reuptake in the synapse (Smriga M et al 2003).

9. Stretch in the evening

Static stretching done in the evening is an excellent way to bring down an overly excited nervous system. Plus, it has been shown to accelerate strength gains. At the present level of knowledge, gains in static flexibility levels are directly proportional to the length of time under which the muscles have been stretched. It appears that multiples of 15 seconds stretches, interspersed with brief returns to the starting position work best.

10. Take Sweet Dreams 1.0 before Bed

Sweet Dreams 1.0 features some of nature’s most calming ingredients including valerian, California poppy, L-Theanine, lemon balm and passion flower. Studies suggest that certain nutrients contained in this formula affect neurotransmitters in the brain that play a key role in the sleep cycle. The nutrients in Sweet Dreams 1.0 have long been studied for their positive effects on insomnia, anxiety, and stress. One study, for example, found Passionflower to be as effective benzodiazepine medications in treating anxiety. California Poppy herb extract is recognized as a mild sedative and is typically used for insomnia and nervous tension. This unique formula also features Melatonin -an important hormone involved in the sleep/wake biorhythm. Try this mild but effective formula for a calm mind and restful sleep.


In conclusion, adhering to the rules given above will accelerate the regenerative and body composition enhancing effects of sleep.
 
 

Copyright ©2010 Charles Poliquin

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