Why We Sleep

Author: Cascadia Wellness Clinic |

Why We Sleep

Here is the book that I’m recommending: Why We Sleep, unlocking the power of sleep and dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD

A great explanation of the scientific basis of sleep and why it’s so important. If there was one magic pill, it would be good quality sleep.

“Routinely sleeping less than six hours a night weakens your immune system, substantially increasing your risk of certain forms of cancer. Insufficient sleep appears to be a key lifestyle factor linked to your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Inadequate sleep-even moderate reductions for just one week-disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.”

12 tips for Healthy Sleep:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time.
  2. Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes or more on most days but no later than 2-3 hours before your bedtime.
  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bedtime. It may help you relax but heavy use robs you of REM sleep.
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  6. If possible, avoid medications that delay or disrupt your sleep.
  7. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to sleep at night.
  8. Relax before bed, reading, listening to music, and/or meditating would all be helpful
  9. Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after the bath may help you feel drowsy.
  10. Dark, cool, and gadget free bedroom is recommended.
  11. Have sunlight exposure, getting outside in daylight is key to regulating sleep patterns.
  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake for more than twenty minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy.