Tagged: Your Guide to Better Sleep

Why is My Insomnia Worse in Winter? Your Cold-Weather Sleep Questions Answered   0

Why is My Insomnia Worse in Winter? Your Cold-Weather Sleep Questions Answered  

Winter and sleep seem made for each other. Cold temperatures, and long, dark nights, all seem tailor-made for a great season of sleep. The truth about winter sleep is a quite a bit more complicated. Cold weather and short days pose some very specific challenges for sleep. 

For example, I heard from a reader in Ohio just the other day, wondering why her insomnia is so much worse in the winter than in the warmer months. 

I thought I’d answer her question here, along with a few other winter-sleep questions that come up a lot among my patients. Let’s dive into a little winter-sleep Q&A!  

Q: Why is my insomnia worse in winter? 

A: In her note to me, the reader pointed to several possible reasons for her escalated winter insomnia: “I feel like the cold temperatures and dry air is to blame. (Also, the lack of sun).” 

She’s absolutely right, on all counts. Cold outside temperatures can create problems for indoor sleep environments. Running the heat constantly leads to dry air that can irritate the nose and throat, making

The Role Of Dreams In Mental Health 0

The Role Of Dreams In Mental Health

The role of dreams in mental health has long been a conversation in sleep and psychological communities. We are beginning to better understand that dreams are an underrated and essential byproduct of a good night’s sleep.

Not only do some of our best and most creative ideas come to us during the night, dreams also make a key impact on our mental health. 

Several studies in recent years have highlighted the connection between dreams and how we feel when we’re awake. We’ll get to some of those interesting results in a moment. 

But in particular, it’s worth pointing out dreams help combat issues that millions of Americans face every day — fear and anxiety. 

How is that? 

Think of it like batting practice for the brain: if a professional baseball player doesn’t get his swings in before the game, the odds are against him getting a hit against a 96 miles per hour fastball later that night. 

The same goes for fear and anxiety. 

We’re better equipped to deal with real-world issues after we’ve experienced an anxiety-inducing situation while we’re

Terpenes: They are Not Just in Marijuana and They Can Help with Sleep 0

Terpenes: They are Not Just in Marijuana and They Can Help with Sleep

If you’ve used any kind of botanical therapy for sleep or other health issues—taken an herbal supplement, used aromatherapy or essential oils—you’ve almost certainly benefitted from terpenes. These tiny molecules are found in many plants, fruits and flowers, including lavender, citrus, and hops. They’re also found in abundance in cannabis.

The cannabis plant has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Terpenes are one of the primary reasons why cannabis can be so effective at helping ease sleep problems, including insomnia. Cannabis has been shown to lengthen sleep time, increase time spent in deep sleep and shorten the time it takes to fall asleep.

What are terpenes?

Tiny and powerful, terpenes are highly active, aromatic molecules that are responsible for both taste and aroma in plants and fruits. Botanicals used in aromatherapy (including the aromatherapy and essential oils that elevate sleep) are potent in terpenes. When you inhale lavender and feel tension slip away from your body and mind, that’s terpenes at work. As scientific study has shown, terpenes have a pretty broad range of medicinal effects:

How To Fall Asleep Fast With A Warm Bath Tonight 0

How To Fall Asleep Fast With A Warm Bath Tonight

Almost everyone asks me how to fall asleep fast and they are often not surprised when I tell them a warm bath is a good option but they are often surprised by how it works … it’s not only for the reasons you may think.

I think it’s pretty clear that the shower reigns supreme as the preferred method of daily personal hygiene. According to a survey by Angie’s List, 90% of people choose the shower over the bath. It makes sense. We live in a fast-paced society, and we’re constantly on the go. So we’re bound to select the most convenient option. 

However, I would argue that a warm bath is a better choice. You may even save more time overall. 

Baths help you sleep, including helping to fall asleep faster and if you get more sleep, you’ll be more productive and if you’re more productive, you’ll get things done faster. I know for some of you it seems impossible, but it’s totally possible to incorporate warm baths into a busy life. Baths boast other benefits as well.

Can Intermittent Fasting Help Your Sleep this Holiday Season? 0

Can Intermittent Fasting Help Your Sleep this Holiday Season?

Always consult your doctor before undertaking a new diet or fasting routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician or nutritionist.

I’m currently conducting a sleep course online and there’s one thing people are asking me about A LOT: intermittent fasting. I’m not surprised. Fasting has become extremely popular as a tool for weight loss, anti-aging and longevity, and for its benefits to mental and physical health.

I’ve talked about intermittent fasting and its relationship to sleep before. Since then, there’s been some new information introduced about the ways fasting may benefit sleep. I’m guessing you might be as intrigued by this form of time-restricted eating as my students.

We’re heading right into the holidays, when healthful dietary choices can be tough, with  all of those constant temptations. Eating routines—the timing of our meals throughout the day and night—also can get turned upside down, with parties, long, festive meals that stretch late into the evening, and the constant supply of snacks and treats that accompany the holiday season.

How To Sleep Well On Thanksgiving 0

How To Sleep Well On Thanksgiving

You’d think everyone knows how to sleep well on Thanksgiving, and why they are sleepy.

It’s estimated that over 700 million pounds of turkey will be gobbled up this Thanksgiving!

Hopefully, you’ll eat your portion (or perhaps a plant-based substitute) surrounded by the people in your life that matter the most to you. Afterward wolfing down yams, gravy and other goodies, you might find yourself getting a little drowsy. 

Thanksgiving is maybe the only major holidays where sleep is an expected part of the celebration. After the feast, relatives retreat to the various recliners and couches to watch the football game but instead drift off to sleep. Traditionally, this post-banquet snooze has been attributed to the tryptophan in the turkey. However, the turkey and its tryptophan need to be officially pardoned. They aren’t to blame for the Thanksgiving food comas. 

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s also an essential precursor for the sleep hormone melatonin. However, turkey typically doesn’t contain more tryptophan than red meat, pork or fish. You’d have

Hyperhidrosis: An Uncomfortable—and Common—Problem for Sleep 0

Hyperhidrosis: An Uncomfortable—and Common—Problem for Sleep

When you hear about night sweats, you probably think: menopause. It’s true that the menopausal transition is often accompanied by night sweats that significantly affect sleep.

But hyperhidrosis—that’s the medical term for excessive sweating—can happen to anyone, adults and children, and for a variety of reasons. And hyperhidrosis that occurs at night often spells trouble for sleep.

Estimates vary, but research indicates that as much as 12% or more of the general population may experience night sweats. And the prevalence of night sweats increases with age. Among older adults, research shows nighttime sweating is more frequent. One study found that more than 40% of adults over age 64 had at least one episode of night sweats within the past month. I’ve seen patients of all ages and genders contend with nighttime sweating that creates restless, interrupted sleep.

Maybe it’s because of embarrassment, or maybe it seems like not a big deal, but hyperhidrosis is a condition that often gets overlooked. Research indicates that fewer than 4 in 10 people speak with their physicians about excessive sweating. Although most

Sleep And Exercise A Necessary Partnership 0

Sleep And Exercise A Necessary Partnership

This might come as a surprise to my readers, but people often choose fitness and nutrition over sleep. According to a 2018 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 35% percent of people say they prioritize fitness and nutrition over everything else. Sleep (10%) narrowly beat out Social Life (9%) for the second-to-last place spot. Career (27%) and Hobbies (17%) came in second and third respectively. 

Sleep just doesn’t get the love it deserves! Maybe that’s why about half of the U.S. population is sleep deprived. 

It could be that the people who value fitness and nutrition rank it higher because it seems more important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a trim waistline. Popular media constantly promotes diet and exercise as the cornerstones of health. Shows like The Biggest Loser focus more on fitness and food and rarely on sleep. 

Sure, feats of athleticism and healthy meals cooked by gourmet chefs are packed with flavor and drama, and sleep, by its very nature, doesn’t translate well to TV. But when it comes to a healthy lifestyle in real life,

How Eating Vegetarian (and Vegan) Affects Your Sleep 0

How Eating Vegetarian (and Vegan) Affects Your Sleep

This is not medical advice. It is information you can use as a conversation starter with your physician or nutritionist.

With plant-based diets exploding in popularity, this seems like a good time to talk about how vegan and vegetarian diets interact with sleep. These diets hold potential benefits for sleep—and they also may create complications for sleep, depending on the specific make up of one’s individual diet.

Vegetarianism and veganism, with their focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil, have a lot going for them, in terms of being sleep friendly and sleep promoting. But like any diet, it can be tricky to find the right balance of a spectrum of nutrients that come together to support sleep. First, I’ll talk about some specific issues vegans and vegetarians may encounter in how their diets relate to sleep. Then, I’ll highlight a few of the natural strengths these plant-based diets have for sleep.

4 sleep-specific nutrient issues for vegans and vegetarians:  

Being short on the all-purpose sleep vitamin, Vitamin D 

I’ve talked before

Sleep, Anxiety, And The End Of Daylight Savings Time 0

Sleep, Anxiety, And The End Of Daylight Savings Time

Sleep, anxiety and daylight savings. With the beginning and end of daylight savings time (DST) comes sleep anxiety for some. As you likely know (or do now and are scrambling but just realized you have an “extra hour”), daylight savings time ended early this morning, November 3 in the United States, it’s time to fall back.

A lot of people who have sleep issues tend to stress out about the time change because it can be so disruptive. Falling back isn’t as hard as springing forward, but even a slight change may be enough to throw your whole routine off balance. Although I am fortunate enough to live in sunny southern California, winters in other parts of the world can be dark, cold and dreary which can also increase anxiety and depression.

I’ve written about the effects of daylight savings time before, and there are a few simple ways that you can lessen the effects of the time change.

  • Stick to your sleep schedule that’s best for your chronotype.
  • Eliminate blue light at night by putting your screens