One of summertime’s greatest joys? Travel to faraway places. One of its biggest headaches (other than the TSA lines)? Jet lag. It’s the traveler’s equivalent of a hangover, with the main difference being that you probably had no fun getting it, and the pain will last longer than the alcohol-induced kind. And why does jet lag still have such power over us?
With sleep problems as with any chronic problem, to really address it, one must always look for the underlying imbalances and root causes. Although we may not like to admit it, many of the sleep problems we experience are the result of bad habits and behaviors. We stay up late or sleep in late. We eat foods that disagree with us or enjoy a drink late at night, oblivious to their disruptive impact on our sleep rhythms. Over time, we teach our body not to sleep and for relief we often turn to sleeping pills, which mask rather than solve the problem, and can lead to addiction.
Here you will find key tips and articles to help you address your sleep issues.
What led you to write The Sleep Revolution?
As I went around the world talking about my last book, Thrive, I found that the subject people wanted to discuss most—by far—was sleep: how difficult it is to get enough, how there are simply not enough hours in the day, how tough it is to wind down, how hard it is to fall asleep and stay asleep, even when we set aside enough time. And since my own transformation into a sleep evangelist, everywhere I go, someone will pull me aside and, often in hushed and conspiratorial tones, confess, “I’m just not getting enough sleep. I’m exhausted all the time.”
With our patients’ 24-hour lifestyles, sleep often takes a backseat. But when they skimp on sleep, they not only feel extra tired but they are also speeding the aging process, driving weight gain and increasing risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems. While a sleep strategy can be very individualized, here’s how the Be Well team conquers the almighty sleep routine.
As a holistic psychiatrist practicing in New York City, I see a lot of people who struggle with sleep. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, not getting tired at night, not having enough time to get adequate sleep, and sleeping well but not feeling rested in the morning. While I can’t shorten your commute time or work hours, and I can’t stop a crying infant from disrupting your sleep, we can improve the quality of your sleep with a few easy fixes.
Sleep is often the first casualty of our busy lives. We cut out an hour here and there in our quest to fit more into the day, working on the assumption that sleep is unproductive.
“I might be wiped out tomorrow,” we think, “but if I stay up a little later, I can accomplish more.”
To pass sleep off as an extended stretch of downtime is to dangerously mischaracterize it. Far from being at total rest during sleep, our bodies are intensely busy: While our waking minds go on autopilot, some of our bodies’ most sophisticated mechanisms rev up to do the hard work of repairing and maintaining nearly every aspect of our physiology and psychology.
Many clients that we see in our practice are worn out, run down, and confused as to why they don’t have the energy that they used to. After hearing these common complaints, we always ask them to describe their bedtime routine, including the amount of hours they get on average, the quality of their sleep (if they wake up during the night) and what time they are getting into bed.
Change. Why is it that the changes we promise to make on New Year’s Day are so easily broken just a few days later? Why is it that sticking with new, healthy habits can seem like such a challenge? One reason might be that we’re not actually enjoying the process of making those changes. But what if they were fun? What if these healthy changes were more like treats that filled us with good feelings instead of resentment or cravings for old, not-so-healthy habits? With this in mind – the idea that changes that feel fun are the ones that’ll stick – I’ve put together a ‘pleasurable plan’ for 2016.
In the world of medicine, it’s been quite a year of outstanding studies and warnings. Here are the most popular articles on medicine, medications, chemicals, water and sleep from 2015.
I often tell my private consulting clients that their mattress should be the first thing they replace if they want a non-toxic home. I feel so strongly about this because of the fact that a) we spend such a large portion of our lives in our beds, and b) most mattresses contain a range of chemical components, linked with everything from nervous system disorders to cancer.
Sleep. We all know we need it, but with our 24-hour lifestyles, many people view sleep as a waste of time that could be better spent doing just about anything else.
Problem is, when you skimp on sleep you’re not only making yourself tired and compromising your ability to fight off everyday ills, you’re also speeding the aging process, driving weight gain and increasing your risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems.