Sleep Hygiene Recommendations

There are numerous ways you can optimize your sleep. Start by implementing one or two changes, and gradually incorporate additional methods that you find are the most sustainable for your lifestyle.


Things you can do:

  • Establish a Routine and Stick to it!
    • Aim for 7-8 hrs at night and sleep by 9-10 pm. 
    • Gradually move back your sleep time if you’re a night owl. (Start with trying to push it back by 10-minute intervals.)
    • Go to bed at around the same time every night (including weekends!) to allow the body to fall into a routine.
  • Activity
    • Be as active as possible during the day.
      • Just activity itself releases stress and exerts energy which further facilitates sleep in order to increase those energy reserves. So, basically, you’re telling your body that you used up all this energy during the day, so you need to make more at night for the next day.
    • Be sure not to exercise within 1.5 to 3 hrs prior to bedtime.
      • Exercise raises body temperature, which will disrupt sleep.
      • Exercise sets our body into a regenerative mode—releases stem cells from bone marrow, so the body starts repairing itself.
  • Mind/Body Practices
    • Use bed ONLY for Sleep or Sex
      • Don’t use it as a workplace as this trains your brain to think this environment is a workspace.
      • Write things down and make lists if your mind is overly active.
    • Don’t do anything stressful before sleep (e.g., Avoid paying bills, watching horror movies, etc.)
    • Meditation
      • Although, it is most optimal to be seated upright, you can practice meditation while lying in bed.
      • There are many resources available to choose from to fit your personal preference.
      • My favorites are Gaia,, Commune, Insight Timer, and The Mindful Movement on You Tube. There are other free meditation apps as well.
    • Practice Yoga/Stretching, Qigong, etc.
    • Take a warm bath with essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, or Valerian.
      • Heart coherence exercises (HeartMath Institute @
      • Journal
  • Connect to Nature
    • Earthing, (AKA grounding), releases negative ions, increases circulation and recalibrates the body, which can improve sleep quality.
    • Be with the elements – gazing at a camp fire, fire pit, or fireplace can stimulate sleep.
      • You can also simulate the effects of a camp fire by using amber light bulbs or Himalayan salt lamps.
      • Turn off the bright ceiling lights or lamps when the sun goes down, and switch on the amber lights.
  • Food/Nutrition/Hydration
    • Eat a healthy diet high in fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables (including fermented vegetables), whole grains, nuts and seeds to optimize your gut microbiome.
      • Dysbiosis (imbalance of intestinal microbes) can also disrupt your sleep.
    • Stay well hydrated with water during the day.
      • A general rule of thumb is to drink at least half of your body weight in pounds. (e.g., 60 fluid ounces per day for a person weighing 120 lbs.—this amounts to 7.5 cups). Increase fluid intake during the summer months, increased exercise, increased sweating, or during illness.
      • Dehydration can also disrupt your sleep.
    • No evening snacks unless you have blood sugar issues. (Eat protein or fats instead of carbs if you need a snack.)
  • Intermittent fasting
    • Finishing dinner by 5 pm is actually optimal as your body won’t be working hard to digest food. (Energy will be diverted to digestion versus recovering the body’s cells.)
    • Alternatively, aim to have your last meal at least 3 hrs prior to bedtime.
  • Cut off alcohol several hours before bedtime as alcohol prevents you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep.
  • Cut off Caffeine Early in the Day
    • Have your last cup at around 12-2 pm.
    • Some people are rapid coffee metabolizers, but caffeine still impacts the adenosine receptors which influences how deep you sleep.
  • Cut off excessive fluid intake about 3-4 hours before bedtime to avoid frequent urination during the night.
  • Supplements
    • Magnesium glycinate
    • L-theanine
    • Melatonin
      • Helps you FALL asleep, but not as effective for KEEPING you asleep.
      • It can also help for people who travel for jet lag.5-HTP (This is a precursor to dopamine, which helps you stay asleep.)
    • 5-HTP (This is a precursor to dopamine which helps you stay asleep.)
    • Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and valerian root are beneficial as well. (The brands I like are Vibrant Blue Oils, and Young Living.
    • **Always use caution and consult your healthcare provider prior to using supplements or essential oils for sleep.
  • Medications
    • Sleep-aid medications may be appropriate in some cases and for a short time period. (Please consult your healthcare provider to discuss if this would be appropriate for you.)
    • There are some medications that have been used to help with sleep, however, they do come with negative side effects, especially with long-term use. These include:
      • Benadryl has been associated with cognitive impairment, so you should never use this on a regular basis for sleep.
      • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, etc.) which are psychiatric medications and carry the added effect of drowsiness, however, they have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease with long-term use.
  • Environment
    • Sleep in a cool environment (about 68 degrees is optimal for sleep). Other than darkness, the drop in core body temperature triggers the production of melatonin.
    • Sleep in a quiet environment for less stimulation.
    • Wear blue light blocking glasses
      • I routinely put my glasses on as the sun starts to set, so usually shortly after dinner around 6-7 pm.
    • Limit exposure to food & environmental toxins (This is a beast of a topic in itself! More to come on this too!)
      • High levels of toxins can cause hot flashes and can wake you up between 1-3 am as this is when the liver cells are supposed to be regenerating, instead its energy is utilized for detoxifying.
    • Avoid watching TV, using your cell phone or other screens within 1-2 hrs of bedtime. Doing just this one thing will produce a profound change in your sleep quality. For many of us, breaking this habit can be extremely difficult. So, if you really can’t break the cell phone habit, then try to wear blue light glasses at the very least!

Thank you for tuning into Part 2, and I hope you took away some pearls to help you get started on your sleep improvement journey!  Remember to consult your medical provider to discuss medications or supplements for sleep if you feel this would be best for your situation. However, if your current health status allows, it would be best to start out with the "low-hanging fruit" to make some minor tweaks to your sleep environment and lifestyle habits to lead you on the road to better sleep, and better health!



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