Michael Breus – El doctor sueño, cómo dormir mejor – Sleep Doctor.
Your body temperature naturally drops to prepare for sleep, and many experts say you should keep your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit to help facilitate this decrease. But Chris Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, tells Health that he thinks 65 degrees is ideal. «That doesn’t mean 66 or 67 is terrible, but a cooler environment usually lends itself to a better quality of sleep,» Dr. Winter tells Health.
Turn Your Firm Bed into a Dream Machine!
Short Sleep Duration in Working American Adults, 2010–2018
But even without the added stress (and fun) that comes with the holidays, our country is struggling to get enough rest. A recent study from Ball State University made this clear, showing more than 35% of working Americans aren’t getting sufficient sleep.
- Your Temperature
Temperature matters. If your body is too warm at night, you’re going to have a hard time completing REM sleep. The optimum room temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees or about 18 degrees Celsius, so make sure you check the thermostat before dozing off.
But another thing to keep in mind is your body temperature. Our body operates a process called thermoregulation on a 24-hour circadian cycle that allows it to adjust our core temperature. Lower body temperature at night helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
You might want to check out Cool Jams, the most stylish and best moisture wicking pajamas I know about, to help you stay cool throughout the night. I’ve included them in my holiday gift guide for this very reason.
- Everyday Concerns
Whether it’s having a big report due at work, a recent fight with your significant other, or the frustration of having to pay a few hundred bucks to fix an unexpected car problem, the hurdles we run into every day can significantly impact our sleep. This is a common issue that many of us deal with throughout our lives.
I’m not a big drinker. Still, I certainly understand the appeal of a nice glass of wine to unwind after work, or a few beers while sitting back and watching the game at night.
At the same time, millions of people turn to alcohol at night as their go-to sleep aid, with around 20% of Americans relying on it to help them fall asleep.
But drinking, especially the closer you get to sleep, will actually do you more harm than good. I’ve talked about alcohol’s negative impact on sleep at length in the past. While it may help you fall asleep quickly, during the second half of the night, your sleep becomes more disrupted. That’s because as your body metabolizes alcohol, the body goes through the “rebound effect,” where it transitions from deeper to lighter sleep. This leads to more waking up throughout the night.
Perhaps the most obvious one on the list. Caffeine, and coffee in particular, is a stimulant. This opens you up to a number of side effects that will hamper your sleep, including:
- Stomach cramps
- Frequent urination
- An elevated heart rate
Stay away from caffeine before falling asleep and you’ll do yourself a big favor.
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of interrupted sleep. It affects about 12% of Americans, but about 80% of those suffering from sleep apnea go undiagnosed.
Common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Snoring — which can also be worsened by alcohol use
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
If you’re battling some of those symptoms throughout the night, you should look into getting tested for sleep apnea in the near future.
- Your Diet
A midnight snack is one of life’s great joys, but don’t go overboard. Higher fat and calorie consumption at night has been shown to make it harder for men and women to reach REM sleep. Avoid big meals right before going to sleep.
- Anxiety and Depression
Mental health is closely linked to sleep. If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, it can lead to interruptions in your sleep pattern — making it increasingly difficult to reach REM sleep. Talk to your doctor if you believe you’re suffering from either of these health issues. A game plan to treat your anxiety or depression can help you get better sleep.
Exercising is great. I would never tell my patients to shy away from a good workout. But depending on your body clock, it might not be the best idea for you to exercise an hour before calling it a night.
The best times to be physically active depend on your chronotype, so you’ll want to have that nailed down before figuring out your gym plan. If you don’t know yours, you can find out here: https://chronoquiz.com.
- You Phone
Harvard researchers have found blue light — something that comes from our mobile screens — throws the body off its kilter. Instead of helping your mind and body wind down, your phone stimulates your brain and makes it tougher to get a good night’s sleep.
Of course, it can be fun to lay in bed and scroll through Instagram or read a quick article before calling it a night. But those minutes on your phone are costing you sleep later in the night. Try reading a book and limiting your phone time in the hour before you fall asleep. At minimum, wear blue light blocking glasses at least 90 minutes before bed.
A good 20-minute nap in the afternoon can help us tackle the rest of our day with an extra burst. I know it can be hard to wake up from a little siesta once you’re comfortable, but you don’t want to nap for too long, either. Taking too much of a break during the day can throw your body off and make it that much harder for you to fall asleep at night.
If you’re simply struggling to fall asleep at night, insomnia could be a factor. Insomnia can be amplified by several of the things we’ve just talked about, including alcohol use, excessive napping and a poor sleep environment. If insomnia is persistent you should visit a sleep specialist to determine the cause.
If your bed isn’t helping you fall asleep, be sure to look at the Luma Sleep Hybrid Topper in my holiday gift guide. The topper not only makes your bed immediately more comfortable, but also helps with your body temperature regulation. This could be a good first step towards getting your sleep pattern back on track.
I hope that this holiday season and every season, you’ll be able to look back on these 11 common reasons we have difficulty sleeping and find a solution that works for you.
Sweet dreams and happy holidays!
Dr. Michael Breus
That’s why I wasn’t shocked when I came across anew study looking at the connection between a bad night’s sleep and back pain.
It turns out, a lack of quality sleep doesn’t just make it harder for you to concentrate at work. It also hurts your body’s ability to recover from injuries.
The responses from participants really made this clear. Men who showed two or more insomnia symptoms were 16-18% less likely to recover from LBP than those with no symptoms.
For women, the impact was even starker. Women who reported one insomnia symptom were 19% less likely to recover from LBP than those with no symptoms; women with two or more symptoms saw their recovery likelihood drop between 32-40%.
This is something top athletes like Lakers star LeBron James have started to adopt — making sleep an integral part of their recovery.
I know falling asleep quickly, especially during the week, can be a challenge. You should generally fall asleep about 20 minutes after you to to bed if you are ready to sleep. If you’re having a problem, you might want to try out Sleep Doctor PM, a nighttime spray I personally developed. A few sprays about a half hour before you go to sleep will improve the quality and duration of your sleep, while also alleviating stress and anxiety.
The good news is, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new mattress to get better sleep. Instead, consider a mattress topper. Mattress toppers give you a new addition to your sleep foundation and quite often upgrade the quality of the mattress. Mattress toppers are also less expensive than a new mattress and can extend the life of your existing mattress by several years. Check out the 3” Sweet Dreams Topper from Luma Sleep in my annual holiday gift guide. It’s an affordable and easy way to improve your mattress, and it’s Natural Latex and Serene foams offer the perfect combination of comfort and firmness you need.
In U.S., 40% Get Less Than Recommended Amount of Sleep.
- Eliminate blue light at night by putting your screens away an hour before bedtime or using blue light blocking glasses.
- Get plenty of light in the mornings. The days are going to get shorter in winter, so it’s important to get your morning sunlight. That might mean driving to work in the dark and then taking your morning coffee for a short walk.
- Avoid alcohol the weekend of the time change.
- Exercise regularly for better sleep quality.
Make Sleep a Priority
Many treat sleep like something that will automatically happen as soon as they hop into bed. However, going to sleep is more like bringing a car to stop. You gradually take your foot off the gas the slowly ease it onto the brake. It’s a process. That means we have to prioritize sleep in order to give yourself the time you need to relieve and deal with anxiety before your try to sleep.
Develop a Bedtime Ritual
The most important rule for better sleep is to pick a bedtime and a sleep schedule and stick to it. It gets your body into a rhythm. Once you’ve determined your schedule, use the hour before bed as a power-down hour. The first twenty minutes should be used to take care of unfinished tasks that can’t wait until the morning. The second twenty minutes should focus on your hygiene ritual. (A warm bath is both relaxing and conducive to a good night’s sleep.) Finally, the last twenty minutes should be used to do something relaxing.
Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment
Keep your bedroom tidy and free of clutter. Make sure that your bedroom is dark, comfortable and cool. I can’t stress this enough, keep electronics out of the bedroom, and, if at all possible, don’t look at them an hour and a half to an hour before bedtime.
Relaxing Things to Do Before Bed
Journaling: Keep a journal by the bed. Jotting down what happened during the day can reduce anxiety levels. Do this before 6 pm, after that only work on a gratitude list, positive thoughts before bed can help with sleep.
List-Making: If you’re up late thinking about what you have to do tomorrow, make a list before you go to bed. That way, you’ll have it ready for the morning and won’t have to dwell on it when you should be sleeping.
Try TouchPoints: TouchPoints (get 10% off at checkout with the code BREUS10) are an anxiety tech product that works really well, I use them with the whole family when anyone feeling stressed or anxious. This scientifically proven technology uses bilateral alternating, stimulating tactile micro-vibrations to help calm and reduce anxiety. These are really cool and you should at least check them and the science out, This tech should be on your radar if you regularly experience stress, anxiety, or related issues.
Meditation: Studies have shown that meditation can reduce anxiety. An easy technique is to sit comfortably with your eyes closed while breathing naturally, then try to keep your attention on your breath moving in and out of your body.
Bonding with Family Members: Take time to talk and bond with family members before bed. It’s a nice, life-enriching way to relax.
Supplement Your Sleep
There are plenty of great, stress-relieving supplements that you can make a part of your bedtime ritual or daily life.
Warm Lemon Honey Water: Heat the water to at least 180 degrees and pour into a cup. Add lemon juice and raw honey. (Raw honey has no added sugar.) Let the tea steep for one minute or until cool.
Banana Tea: Cut the bottom and top quarters off the ends of the banana. Slice the rest (including the peel) in half. Place the two halves in boiling water for ten minutes. Strain the banana water into your cup. Add a drop of raw honey or cinnamon for some added flavor.
Magnolia Bark: Research suggests that magnolia bark can reduce anxiety as well as the time it takes to fall asleep. Additionally, it may also increase the amount of time you spend in NREM and REM sleep.
Magnesium: Magnesium is one of those minerals that a lot of people don’t get enough of in their diets. It’s been shown to have stress-reducing and mood-boosting properties, and it also plays a significant role in healthy sleep. I take Jigsaw magnesium daily to improve my sleep quality.
Sleep Doctor PM- If you’d like something in a comprehensive formula that helps you go to sleep and go back to sleep if you wake up but won’t leave you feeling groggy you may find my Sleep Doctor PM formula right for you. Many of my patients and readers are finding it very effective for helping them go to sleep and stay asleep.
CBD: Extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD has well-known calming and anxiety-reducing properties. There’s even evidence it can help with depression!
Deal with Your Anxiety in the Daylight
You don’t have to wait until bedtime to tackle your anxiety, There are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your lifestyle that can help keep anxiety out of the bedroom.
Exercise: When done on a regular basis, exercise (both strength training and aerobic exercise) has been shown to reduce anxiety. You need 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week (or a combination of the two).
Diet: A poor diet is bad for both the body and mind. There’s plenty of research that indicates that there’s a relationship between diet and anxiety. A sugar-heavy diet can contribute to depression and hinders your ability to sleep.
Get Help When You Need It: If you’re struggling with a problem whether it’s anxiety or poor sleep, see a doctor or a specialist and get help for it. There’s no need to suffer. Being attentive and responsive to your needs can reduce anxiety and improve your sleep and overall quality of life.