How Come They're Happy and I'm Not?

How Come They're Happy and I'm Not? by Peter Bongiorno Read Free Book Online

Book: How Come They're Happy and I'm Not? by Peter Bongiorno Read Free Book Online
Authors: Peter Bongiorno
good night's sleep:
Step 1: Find Out if You Have Sleep Apnea
    Ask your partner if you snore. Better yet, set up a video camera to record yourself sleeping and see for yourself. Check for signs of heavy snoring and long pauses in breathing. The gold standard way to diagnose this properly is to work with a sleep clinic that studies you while you sleep. If sleep apnea is an issue, work with a naturopathic doctor to help lower inflammation in your nasal passages, which is usually caused by food allergies, and lose weight if you are heavy. If these do not work, or if the condition is severe, you may want to see a pulmonologist or sleep specialist for information about a CPAP machine or even consider surgery to reduce upper respiratory tract extra tissue. However, I recommend trying more natural treatments before resorting to surgery.
Step 2: Be in Bed Before Midnight (and Preferably by Ten P.M.)
    There's an old Chinese proverb that says, “One hour before midnight is worth two hours after midnight.” This proverb predates what we now understand about the timing of melatonin release. Research shows that melatonin peaks at about ten p.m. and rapidly decreases afterward. Going to bed earlier than midnight takes advantage of that maximum release. Also, the later you go to bed, the more you release stress hormones. You see, animals that stay up past dark are usually either running for their lives or starving—so when you stay up late, you are telling your primitive brain there's a big problem, and it sends out the signal to be stressed. If you are used to going to bed at one a.m. or later, you may need to start by backing up that bedtime by a half hour each week so your body rhythms have a chance to adjust. I recommend taking a melatonin supplement a half hour before the desired bedtime to help you reset your rhythm.
Step 3: Dim All the Lights
    Avoid bright lights at least thirty minutes before bed. This includes computers, cell phones, tablets, and televisions. Bright lights suppress the release of melatonin and trick your body into thinking it's still daytime, which triggers a stress response.
Step 4: Create an Evening Ritual
    Once you dim the lights, make a calming tea such as chamomile or lavender. It's best to make a small concentrated cup and sip it so you do not fill your bladder too much and have to get up during the night. Over time, you will find comfort in a regular, healthy ritual guiding your body to be calm and relaxed for a successfully sleepy bedtime.
Step 5: Keep Your Bedroom Dark
    Hormones like melatonin and human growth hormone are important for repair and detoxification. These are suppressed when the bedroom is too bright. The rule of thumb is: if you can see your hand one foot in front of your face, then the room is too bright. Use electric tape to cover any light sources, and try occlusive blinds that are cracked just at the top to allow morning light in.
Step 6: Check Your Blood Sugar
    Some people experience drops in blood sugar before bed and have a hard time entering a deeper sleep due to hunger, which signals your animal body to stay awake to look for food. If this might be you, try eating a protein-and-carbohydrate snack a few minutes before bed. Try a small piece of turkey and a slice of apple, or if you are a vegetarian, try an apple slice with a tablespoon of nut butter.
Step 7: Journal Before Bed
    From an emotional standpoint, humans are not created for the hectic modern lives we lead. Oftentimes, our first quiet time of the day is when our head hits the pillow. If there are issues that our brain wantsto work out, it may use this quiet time to say, “Okay, I got you here—just the two of us, and there's nothing to distract us, so let's go over a few things . . . .” That is when you start to mentally process your job, kids, in-laws, finances, old relationships, lack of relationships, new dent in the car, world peace, schedule for tomorrow, and so on.
    Many of my patients find it helpful to stop for a

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