Bouncing Back After a Poor Night’s Sleep

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Let’s face it, most of us aren’t having a perfect night’s sleep, every single night. Whether it’s an impending deadline has you crunching out work til the wee hours of the morning, a racing mind keeping you up, or a night of tossing and turning, most of us know what it’s like to go through life the day after a crummy night’s sleep.

Today I want to outline the best ways to bounce back after a poor night’s sleep, as well as provide you with tips to optimize your sleep quality on a nightly basis. Let’s dive in!

How to Bounce Back After a Poor Night’s Sleep

Get Outside: The best way to set your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) is to get outside! Sunlight signals to the photoreceptors in your eyes and skin that it is day time and boosts alertness (and improves mood, which helps with sleep deprived grumpiness!). Take your shoes off and let your feet touch the earth. The electrical exchange of free ions from the earth are scientifically proven to lower inflammation and help cellular health, which is much needed after missing sleep.

Hydration: Sleep is when the body repairs both physiologically and psychologically. Muscles, bones, ligaments, neurotransmitters, hormones, and more are recycled and repaired during the night to keep us functioning optimally. When we miss a night of sleep, it’s crucial to support cellular health. One way to boost cellular health is to hydrate while replenishing minerals. Add trace mineral drops or even a high quality sea salt to your water. This helps optimize the cellular environment, prevents effects of dehydration, and curves appetite.

Caffeine: When you miss a night of sleep, you may be extra drawn to the coffee maker. Be cautious not to overcome caffeine, or else you may suffer the consequences when you hit the pillow that night. Stick to one or two cups of coffee, tops. 

Diet: Sleep deprivation does weird things to hunger hormones! Cravings can come on strong, while satiety may never seem to come. Don’t give in! Keep carbs low and eat protein and foods rich in healthy fats to assist your body during this time of physiological stress. 

Is your diet causing your insomnia? Click here for a consultation with a functional medicine doctor to start sleeping better tonight.

Immune Support: During a normal sleep cycle, the immune system fights to keep your body healthy. When you miss sleep, immune system function declines while inflammation increases. When you miss sleep, you’ll want to use supplementation to boost your immune system. Oil of oregano, probiotics, Immuno Supreme, and activated charcoal are all immune supporting supplements that can really support you when you’re sleep deprived!

What’s Keeping You Up?

Awareness of the cause of sleep deprivation is the first key to unlocking the door to a great night’s sleep. Physical factors such as sounds, temperature, and light are some of the easiest to resolve. You essentially want to be sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet cave. I recommend blackout curtains. You can use a white noise machine to help lull you to sleep if there are neighborhood noises that distract you from sleeping. Also, be sure the temperature is not too warm. It can be appealing to climb into a warm cozy bed, but biologically we need to be sleeping at around 65 degrees.

If your sleep disturbances are psychological or hormonal in nature, such as work stress of an autoimmune condition, I recommend a consultation with a functional medicine doctor who can help you address the underlying issue and help you fix things at the root of the problem.

Tips for Better Sleep

Get outside and move every day. Exercise can increase human growth hormone which has an excellent effect at blunting cortisol and increasing the repair of your body. As discussed, natural sunlight and grounding set your circadian rhythm, which tells your body when it’s time to be awake, and when it’s time to wind down.

Avoid blue light and reduce EMF at night. Blue light (emitted from screens and devices) signals to your body that it is day time, and keeps you up for hours after you last saw a screen. Limit screen time before bed, and if you must be on a device, look into apps that block or reduce the blue light they emit.

To calm down before bed, try a relaxing tea, like chamomile, which can increase neurotransmitters like GABA to help promote relaxation.

Do you have other tips for better sleep? Share down in the comments below!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/ 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480364

http://www.scienceoflight.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/journal_pone_0092251.pdf

Is Blue Light Hurting Your Sleep?

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and fluorescent bulbs are the most commonly used sources of illumination. These bulbs are regarded as brighter and more energy-efficient than other bulbs. LED bulbs are not only the common lighting in homes, offices, and stores—they’re also used in electronic displays, like your smartphone’s screen. While LEDs and fluorescent bulbs are a convenient choice, they aren’t a healthy one. Let’s dive into the reasons you might want to steer clear of these types of bulbs, and what you can use instead.

The Problems with Artificial Light

All sources of artificial light, including LED and fluorescent bulbs, can break off regular sleep patterns. The biological system of our body functions in pulses that are laid down by the light received. This is known as your ‘circadian rhythm’ which manages and controls the timing of various biological functions. Your circadian rhythm sets the stage for everything from hormone secretion and brain activity to your sleep-wake cycle.

Up until modern times, our bodies were exposed to sunlight during the day, and moonlight at night. When our ancestors saw sunlight and then when it started to get dark, their brains knew how to appropriately respond. Upon seeing sunlight, their brains mapped out their sleep-wake cycle, and produced the proper hormones based on the time of day.

Evolution doesn’t move as fast as technology, and our brains are still wired to react to light in the same ways as our ancestors’. This makes the artificially-lit world we live in is very confusing to our biology! We sit under artificial lights all day and into the night. Our bodies do the best they can, but we aren’t receiving the right input. Artificial light baffles our body’s natural rhythm— and is especially damaging at night.

The intensely bright blue light emitted from LED and fluorescent bulbs trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. When you’re exposed to blue lights including the light emitted from your phone, computer, or TV screen), your body stays in “wake” mode. You don’t produce sleep hormones, or any of the other biological steps to prepare for sleep.

Blue Light and Sleep Patterns

LED and fluorescent bulbs create a two-fold problem: they generate artificial light, and they produce blue light. Blue light wavelengths created by electronic devices and light bulbs increase alertness and blocks melatonin production. Studies have also revealed that blue wavelengths inhibit delta brainwaves, which encourage sleep, and enhance alpha wavelengths that generate attentiveness.

Having trouble sleeping? Click here to ask a functional medicine doctor how to optimize your sleep!

Blocking Blue Light

Chronic fatigue, sleep deprivation, obesity, and other hormonal health issues have been linked to blue light exposure after sundown. These are growing epidemics in developed countries, and the increasing omnipresence of blue light gadgets is only making things worse.

There are however steps you can take to mitigate the negative effects of blue light. Firstly, reduce your exposure to blue light by swapping out LED and fluorescent bulbs for incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs contain much less of the blue spectrum. Alternatively, candles are a great option for night time lighting. Other than the moon and the stars, the only light our ancestors would have seen at night was fire. Candles are a biologically-friendly source of evening lighting.

It’s recommended to stop using electronic devices at least one hour prior to going to bed. Let’s be real: most of us are going to be using our phones, checking work emails, or watching TV after sundown. If you’re going to use electronic devices after sundown, there are ways to do so wisely.

The iPhone has a feature called Night Shift, which you can set to turn on at night. A program called f.lux for your laptop and desktop computers is a must. Lastly, it would be wise to invest in a pair of blue-blocking glasses. These glasses have an orange tint to the lenses. In generally, the yellower the lenses, the less blue light they block. The redder the lenses, the more blue light they block. Try wearing blue blocking glasses at least 2 hours before you go to bed—the results are pretty incredible!

Takeaway

In the hunt for more energy-efficient products, LEDs have taken over the illumination industry. These sleep-damaging lights are virtually everywhere, and it is up to us to take steps to mitigate their damaging effects. Be conscious of the light you use, and the light you’re exposed to after hours. Invest in a pair of blue-light blocking glasses, download free light-filtering apps, and start sleeping better tonight!

Click here to work with a functional medicine doctor to start sleeping better tonight!

References:

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/what-circadian-rhythm
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  3. https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html
  4. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sleep-blue-light-idUSKCN0IC21W20141023
  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed
  6. http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/opinions_layman/artificial-light/en/l-3/4-effects-health.htm

The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.