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3 Reasons You Don't Get Quality Sleep

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3 Reasons You Don't Get Quality SleepWhen's the last time you hung out by a campfire? Many of us in the ancestral health and Paleo community talk about all the ways that we are "primal" and reenacting our ancestors by eating certain foods and performing certain movements.

The real white elephant in the room is the rituals and daily practices that we've committed to for thousands of years.

We didn't necessarily do it for pleasure and fun, but for survival.

What rituals are we lacking that are essential to quality sleep?

We never see true darkness

The night time used to be a time for rest and repair, now people wait until 11pm to START their adventures. This is both backwards to our circadian and quantum clock, but detrimental to our hormone regulation and immune function.

If lights and sounds are present when the late-night growth hormone release process is supposed to begin, it won't happen. This is how late nights with or without alcohol can negatively influence health and more importantly for the athletic types, muscle growth and repair.

Also, when exposed to light, cortisol rises as it is evolutionarily programmed to do. When cortisol rises, your hormone cycle is sped up.

When you experience a full day and then stay up at night, you are essentially going through 2 days by using up 2 days worth of hormones and chemicals to mobilize you through the night.

Artificially creating 2 days worth of time in 1 cheats time. Nature doesn't like this. The day will come off the end of your life. Indirectly, staying up at night exposed to lights is shortening your life.

As mentioned in the book Lights Out by T.S. Wiley, "is going to bed at 9pm going to impact your social life? Yes, but so is cancer and death."

Go to bed early after dark, get up early, be productive and extend your life.

We don't sleep in a natural environment

Remember the times you went camping and couldn't stay awake past 8pm? This is how it's supposed to be!

Our neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are regulated and influenced by light exposure. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for personal drive, motivation, ambition and a positive mood.

Think of a dark winter morning in your warm cozy bed, who wan't to get up and get moving? Conversely, think of a bright sunny morning shining through your windows that motivates you to jump out of bed and start your day.

Our neurotransmitters, hormones and even blood sugar patterns are controlled by the natural processes shaped by millions of years of sunrises and sunsets. When we create or avoid our Earth's sunrises and sunsets, we are denying the experience and knowledge stored in our DNA that controls everything, including our master clock.

How many times have you said, "where has the time gone? why is time going so fast?".

These feelings are directly attributed to artificially altered circadian rhythms and light cycles.

Spending more time in nature is one of the best regulatory actions you can do for your health and sanity.

We think we don't need much sleep

We're the only mammals on the planet crazy (or smart) enough to create artificial sun-balls around the planet. As Dr. Hansler mentioned on the podcast, the entire planet's inhabitants are being negatively affected by our excess of light.

Turtles are having trouble figuring out when to lay their eggs and are very confused. Florida State has passed regulations about the amount of light allowed at the beaches to attempt to preserve the natural light-dark cycle and allow the turtles to reproduce.

Even though the TV shows, pop culture and movies convince people that midnight is the time when the "real parties" happen, they are dead wrong.

At some point, we would have spent time around the fire in ceremony, stayed up late to keep the fire burning and to protect others from animal invaders.

However, the spectrum of light from a fire is orange in color. The blue and white spectrums of light are what impair melatonin production.

This sets off a cascade of biochemical and hormonal responses, melatonin is just the first step in the process.

If you must stay awake at night, spend time near fire, orange colored bulbs, wear blue-blocking glasses and don't perform any strenuous activities (except for sex!), as this will create another spike in cortisol, our action hormone.

You need REM Rehab

Learn more about the program here.

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep

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When diet isn't enough - 5 Simple Steps to Supercharging Your Health The Paleo diet is a great start to producing the key brain chemicals necessary for proper sleep hormone production.

However, there are many other factors that can influence your sleep quantity and quality.

Here are 5 steps you may consider.

Develop a regular sleep schedule

I did a talk with P.h.D Paul Jaminet where we discussed the effects of altering your natural circadian rhythms.

Going to bed relatively soon after sunset results in proper hormone regulation.

But, if you're someone who stays up till 10 or so, make sure you keep this sleep time consistent.

When the weekends come around, we tend to stay up later and sleep in more. Our bodies do not like this cycle disruption.

This is why you may wakeup groggy on the weekends and exhausted on Monday morning.

My latest and greatest sleep guide called REM Rehab will be released soon. Sign up through that link to receive your free bonus.

Get rid of the loud, buzzing alarm clock.

I've wrote about trashing your alarm clock where I suggest switching to a more calm tone to wake to.

The adrenaline and stress that occurs from waking up to a loud, obnoxious sound sets your body up for panic for the rest of your day.

Check your smartphone's tones, you may be surprised what selection you have.

If all else fails, you can find "natural songs" by a company called SonicAid on iTunes. Purchase 1 song and add it to your phone. See if your day becomes a little bit smoother.

Install f.lux on your computer

Speaking of lights and sleep, in this tech-era we are consumed with, telling you to get rid of it is unrealistic.

The blue lights that eminate from computers, tablets and phones at night are what prevent our maximum melatonin production.

Ever notice a lack of deep sleep when you stayed on the laptop until the second you rolled over to go to sleep?

That's from light in general, but specifically the blue spectrum.

f.lux is a free program for mac and pc and can be downloaded here.

Android has a program I use called EasyEyez. These programs remove the blue tint from your screen and make it a nice, amber color at sunset.

Limit or eliminate caffeine within 6 hours of sleep

There are a vast number of factors that can influence the time that it takes for caffeine to be excreted from the body. 

To ensure a good night's sleep, avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.

Having an even greater time span between caffeine consumption and sleep may be necessary.

Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only

If our time is spent in the bedroom watching TV, playing on the computer and other excitatory activities, our brain is programmed to be awake and alert in the bedroom.

Instead, keep these electronics out of the bedroom as much as possible

Not to mention, the blue light coming off of these devices is signaling daytime to the brain. Throw on your glasses or turn off the toys!

Be realistic with yourself and your habits and pick the choice that better suits you.

What has helped you improve your sleep quality or quantity? If you need help, I've developed the best sleep program in the Paleo community which features an action guide, audiobook and 4 hours worth of interviews with some of the best experts in natural medicine, chiropractic care and nutritional therapy to discuss the many aspects of health, rest and recovery. The REM Rehab program is available to view and purchase here.