Quality sleep is integral to your well-being. All mammals require regular sleep. While we still don’t know exactly how sleep rejuvenates the body, it is clear that sleep is necessary to regulate mood, brain function, hormonal balance, metabolism, and learning and memory.  Many of our participants come to us with complaints of insomnia or poor quality sleep. There are countless causes of disrupted sleep (perhaps attempting to count them all would help us doze off), and the most effective method for determining what’s at the root of your particular insomnia is to have a Nutrition Response Testing assessment done in our office. There are several surefire ways to sabotage your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few of the common culprits and ways to avoid them:

Exposure to blue light. Blue light exposure disrupts circadian rhythms and decreases the natural production of melatonin. Blue light is the spectrum of light predominantly produced by many techno-gadgets and energy-efficient light bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs. A bedroom should be as minimally populated by technology as possible. No computers, no cell phones or iPads, no routers or wireless modems. Make your bedroom a protected haven from the gadgetry of the modern world. Additionally, it’s best to limit use of our gadgets and televisions for at least an hour before bed time. For people whose work requires nighttime exposure, there are now blue blocking glasses which of course look ridiculous, but hey, that’s the trade off. There’s also F.lux. F.lux is free, down-loadable software that automatically controls your computer’s color spectrum, causing the display to mimic daylight and warm night-time light at the appropriate times automatically. It is available for free for PCs and laptops. It can only be used on jailbroken phone devices. Find out more at justgetflux.com.

Exposure to EMFs (electromagnetic field). Along the same lines as the blue light, studies have found that exposure to EMFs can disrupt sleep. They act as a toxin, and when they’re causing poor sleep, symptoms such as exacerbated allergies, tiredness upon waking, sore or painful muscles, heart palpitations, and weakened immune system can occur. Many of the same solutions to blue light apply in this case. We also recommend unplugging the router for your home’s wifi at night, and using a grounding mat like this one from Nikken. If you must keep your cell phone near you at night, keep it on airplane mode; the alarm will still work, and you’ll protect yourself from EMFs that way.

Poor nutrition. You knew this would make the list, right? Of course! What you eat not only affects your body’s digestion, which is very busy when we sleep, but also your circadian rhythms, and the body’s balance of minerals and hormones. A diet that includes plenty of vitamin A is important when it comes to sleep, because it manages how we process (get ready for an exciting call back here) blue light! The best source of dietary vitamin A is liver, but upon surveying the general public we’ve found liver is widely considered “gross”. So, if you’re not a big fan of liver (pate, anyone?) you can get your vitamin A from a trustworthy source of cod liver oil, and from real, grass fed butter.  Processed foods and sugars are a major contributor to insomnia and poor quality sleep because those foods disrupt all the systems listed here. Avoid processed foods and sugars as much as is humanly possible if your goal is to feel great!

April is all about Sleep at Lotus of Life Chiropractic. To learn more about how BGI chiropractic and Nutrition Response Testing can help you sleep well consistently, come to one of our free classes!