Here’s a sneak peak:
- Misting humidifier
- Leave the pets out
- Timing is important
- Snore stopper mouth guards
- Conditions which can cause sleep conditions and fatigue
- Environmental factors
- Pumpkin seeds!
- Sleep cycle app
- Get vertical
Misting humidifier for dry eyes
American Misting Humidifier
Canadian Misting Humidifier
Pets can cause an unrefreshing sleep!
Mouthguards for snoring can help with refreshing sleep
These take a couple of days to get used to since it's shifting your jaw but they're more comfortable after a couple of days.
Sleep apnea and unrefreshing sleep
Conditions that cause unrefreshing sleep
- Iron deficiency: Most patients with iron deficiency are sleepy during the day and restless at night.Check out my article on Iron deficiency to read more about it.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism can cause severe fatigue and depression regardless of sleep. The thyroid controls your metabolism and energy levels. Check out my fatigue article to read more about hypothyroidism and other causes of fatigue
- Sinus issues: Sinus issues are often undiagnosed and can cause major fatigue. If you feel like your fatigue is in the frontal area of your skull it’s always worth being evaluated for sinus issues. There are so many different factors that can affect your sinuses (bacteria, mold, viruses, allergies, food sensitivities, etc…) and if your sinuses are congested you’re not going to breath properly, especially when you’re horizontal for 8 hours.
- Vitamin D deficiency: This and the misting humidifier are important to look into if your sleep is less refreshing in the winter. Check out my vitamin D article for more information.
- Sleep apnea: See paragraph above
- Depression: Depression can be a major cause of feeling unrefreshed. It’s something to keep in mind if you suspect you might be depressed, especially if your unrefreshing sleep started after a situation that may have caused depression. It’s common to not know that you are depressed. This being said it's important to rule other causes out before you or your doctor blaming depression completely.
- Menopause: If you suffer from night sweats every night, you’re not going to have a refreshing, deep sleep. There are several things you can do for night sweats during menopause. Definitely work with me or your local naturopathic doctor if night sweats are an issue for you.
- The list goes on: pain, chronic fatigue, are a couple of others. There are plenty of conditions that can prevent a refreshing sleep. The condition that was preventing me from getting refreshing sleep originally was hemochromatosis. Once I was diagnosed and got my hemochromatosis under control my sleep started to become a lot more refreshing.
Environmental factors that contribute to unrefreshing sleep
- Pets: Mentioned above, are one environmental factors which we can control.
- Noise: If your spouse snores, your cat meows, your neighbours are noisy or you live in a busy neighbourhood, you might want to consider ear plugs when sleeping. Another great option is listening to white noise or soothing sounds, to drown out all the other noises. There are several great white noise apps out there.
- Screens and light: Tablets, phones and TV’s are constantly emitting blue light. Blue light prevents melatonin production. You need to produce melatonin to get a proper sleep. If your brain thinks it’s light outside because it’s seeing blue, it’s going to think it’s day time, not time to sleep. Fortunately for computers there is F.lux and now apple has incorporated similar technology with their newest update. If you turn “Night-shift” on it will turn most of the blues into oranges, so your brain isn’t blasted with blue before bed. Any light when you’re trying to sleep can be a bad thing. Even with your eyes closed, the receptors in your forehead can still perceive light. If there is too much light you won’t produce adequate melatonin. The night shift option can be activated by clicking on the button shown in the picture.
Pumpkin seeds for refreshing sleep
- One of the worst pieces of advice that’s been given out over the past couple of decades is, “Don’t eat anything after 6pm” If you don’t eat anything between dinner and bedtime there is a good chance your blood sugar will be low when you’re trying to go to bed. If your blood sugar is low you’ll secrete cortisol which is your main stress hormone. Producing too much cortisol will have similar effects to having a coffee right before bed. It has stimulant effect.Read more about this in my insomnia article. Having a carbohydrates or sugar before bed will cause reactive hypoglycemia which will most likely lead to you waking up a couple of hours after going to bed or having nightmares. I personally get nightmares every time I have an apple before bed. Protein, or pumpkin seeds is a much better strategy.
Sleep Cycle App for refreshing sleep
- This has been one of the best things I’ve done personally to wake up feeling refreshed. This app monitors your breathing rate or movement (whichever option you choose), and it knows when you’re in deep sleep stages or light sleep stages. You pick the approximate time you’d like to wake up (30 minute time frame) and it will wake you up once you’re coming out of a deep sleep stage. If you set your regular alarm for 7am and you’re in a deep sleep stage at 7am, waking up is going to very difficult. You’ve probably noticed this when you woke up in the morning feeling a little sleepy and went back to bed thinking another hour is what you need, only to find that extra hour made you even more tired waking up the second time. You most likely entered a deep sleep stage and tried to wake up in the middle of it. To download the app click here.
Water will help you wake up refreshed
- Going back to what I said about the misting humidifier, we’re dehydrated when we wake up. It’s a good idea to have a glass of water as soon as you can to start hydrating yourself. This will also help you cut down on coffee or juice. We tend to chug drinks when we’re thirsty or dehydrated and if juice or coffee is your first drink of the day you’ll drink more out of thirst. Drinking water will curb the thirst so you can limit your coffee or juice consumption. If you’re going to put a lemon in your water just make sure the lemon is organic so you’re not drinking pesticide water and use a straw so the citric acid doesn’t destroy the enamel on your teeth.
Stand up as soon as you can in the morning to get your system going
- Your heart rate and blood pressure both drop significantly when you’re laying down for an extended amount of time. When you wake up they’re still going to be low until you stand up. Once you stand up, you force your body to bring the blood pressure and heart rate back up. A low heart rate and blood pressure will make anyone feel sluggish. Once they start to come back up you start bringing more circulation to the brain and the muscles, causing your energy levels to increase a little bit. Just don't get up too quickly or you might get light-headedness and fall over, especially if you have low blood pressure as it is.
Eat some protein first thing in the morning to feel refreshed!
- I always tell my patients, as protein increases, caffeine requirements decrease. If you have carbs or fruit for breakfast they might give you some quick initial energy but then your blood sugar will drop soon after, causing you to crash within an hour. Protein will convert into energy for a lot longer than carbs will. If you have carb-heavy breakfast you’ll feel tired and hungry about 45 minutes later, but if you have adequate protein you should be good until lunch time (or at least 4 hours). If you skip breakfast, you're not providing your body with the fuel it needs and you'll be dependent on your adrenal glands and caffeine to produce a bunch coritsol to get you going.
- Coffee requires a whole article on its own, which I’ll get to eventually. Nowadays, we are doing the jobs of 3 different people, raising kids, commuting, preparing meals, just trying to keep our heads above water. We’re being spread too thin, and some of us need coffee to get through the day. That’s totally okay as long as coffee isn’t your only source of fuel. I have way too many patients that come in having 5 coffees a day and 1 meal a day. It should be the opposite! We need to fuel our bodies with food, not stimulate are adrenals with caffeine. Fueling with food is sustainable, while stimulating the adrenals to produce more cortisol will eventually lead to exhaustion. If you have stress or anxiety symptoms like palpitations, sweaty palms, headaches, high blood pressure, etc… It’s not the greatest idea to drink coffee. If you’re unsure whether the amount of coffee you’re consuming is healthy, consult with your local naturopathic doctor. For many people coffee is the one thing that perks them up in the morning. Hopefully incorporating everything else I’ve mentioned helps reduce coffee requirements.
If you have any questions, comments or contributions feel free to comment below.
If you live near Hamilton, ON and would like to book in please call/text 289-808-9076, or email me.
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Dr. Justin Gallant ND