Hi, and welcome to Stay Mobile KC, your source for information and inspiration on getting and staying active in Kansas City. I’m Dr. Steph, and I’m the chiropractor who makes house calls. That means I pack up my things and I take them to you, whether you’re at home or work. I set up right where you are, treat you right there, and I tote my things back out. You get right back to your day. So, you don’t have to mess with traffic, weather, snow, rain. I take care of that for you and it’s extremely convenient.
So, today I’m talking about sleep and I’m going to give you five tips to improve your sleep naturally. And these all have to do with melatonin. I’m sure you’re familiar with melatonin, it’s the hormone that your brain makes it tells your body at this time to stay asleep. It helps your body to stay asleep longer. And the biggest problem that we have with our melatonin production is the screens that we use at night. Just a second, I have a book here to show you and to share with you. I have struggled with sleep for years and I happened to come across a book in the library called, The Circadian Code, by Dr. Satchin Panda.
They used to think that the circadian rhythm was not that important, but as they’ve learned more and more about how the body works, about the complexities of how our bodies’ function and how to get them to function optimally, they understand better that our bodies can’t do everything all the time. I think he uses the example of or the analogy of a kitchen. It’s like constantly cooking in the kitchen and never cleaning up. When your sleep is poor, you’re not allowing your body to clean up the kitchen.
A thing that you should know about those blue blocking apps is: they’re not very good at blocking the blue light, at all. To block the blue light you’re going to need something a little better than those apps. What you’re going to need is, and I have my box here. What you’re going to need is blue light blocking glasses. And I got these on Amazon. They were about ten bucks. They’re made by Honeywell: Uvex Skyper blue blocking glasses. They have a cheaper version that’s kind of an Amazon choice or something. If you’re looking for these for the blue light blocking, I would recommend that you get these ones instead of that Amazon Choice one.These ones have been tested and it’s worth it for great sleep because this impacts your health a lot more than you would think.
So, blocking the blue light, you’ll want to wear these a few hours before you go to bed. And what this does is, blue light: our body has a natural cycle of producing melatonin and not producing melatonin in order to create good sleep and as it’s getting towards bedtime or body is producing more melatonin, starting to produce melatonin to keep us asleep. Now, when you, when blue light hits your retina it activates a protein called melanopsin that tells your brain stop making melatonin. So as we’re watching TV, looking at the computer, looking at our phones or just in bright lighting at late at night, we’re telling our brains to stop making melatonin. So no wonder so many people struggle with sleep. So this is an inexpensive way to do that.
Now, the second tip would be to block out all light in your room, of course. So any clocks that illuminate light, especially if it’s white or blue light. White light contains blue light in it. So if you have any night lights, clocks, any leakage of light around windows, try to block all that out to make the room as dark as possible. So a dark room, consistent bedtime – it’s because your body your body works out of habit, so just give it a consistent bedtime the best you can. And a cool environment, so turn down the thermostat and make it cooler at night. So you got your blue blocking glasses a few hours before bedtime. Go to bed at a consistent time, block out all the light and turn down that thermostat.
And the last one is something that you don’t do at night. It’s something you do during the day. Now, a lot of people will hear that blue light, that blue light disturbs your sleep, so without hearing all the details, they’ll think, “Oh well blue light is bad. I should block it out during the day.” And so and some people even use computer glasses that block out blue light. And there may be another reason for that, maybe with the glare. But actually you do not want to block blue light during the day because that is part of what helps your circadian rhythm, it improves your circadian rhythm is lots of blue light during the day. Lots of natural lighting, sunlight and physical activity. So be active during the day, be active everyday of the week. The more physical activity you do, the better your sleep at night’s going to be. Now, a lot of times we work during the day. Sometimes, especially as we’re coming up into winter, we don’t even see daylight with the daylight savings time and with the shorter days. So here’s a little trick you can use. Now, these, I think I told you that the blue the blue light glasses are 10 bucks or so on Amazon. Now these ones are considerably more expensive, but since winter is coming up I thought I’d go ahead and invest in them and see how much they work for me. If they don’t help me sleep, well at least they’ll help with mood during the dark days of winter. So, these are called “Luminette Light Therapy Glasses” and there’s several different brands that you can get. And you can read up on them and choose the one that’s right for you. I like these, they turn off, they give you a flash, they have an automatic timer for when you should take them off. Not that there is any danger in wearing them longer, but, it’s just recommended that you wear them for 20 minutes in the afternoons. Actually, it comes with a great booklet that tells you for a lot of different uses, when to wear the glasses and for how long: like for jet lag, for changing your shift, changing your schedule, for improving your sleep: if you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, if you’re having trouble waking up in the morning.
So, those are your 5 tips: blue light blocking glasses at night for a few hours leading up to bedtime, cool room, dark room – block out all that light and go to bed at the same time every night. During the day do not block the blue light. Lots of blue light, lots of activity and that’s going to help your body naturally improve the circadian rhythm so that you can have better health.
I’m Dr. Steph. I hope you enjoyed this and I look forward to seeing you again next time.
5 Tips plus a bonus to improve your natural melatonin production so you get better sleep, function better, feel better and look better.
1. Blue blocking glasses – I tell you which to buy and why and how to use them best
2. dark room
3. cool room
4. same bedtime every night
5. The key point and the mistake most people make: DO NOT BLOCK BLUE LIGHT DURING THE DAY
6. Bonus tip: move your body every day – it helps balance your circadian rhythm so you naturally make more melatonin and sleep better.
Sleep is when your body cleans the kitchen, so don’t skip it!