Holistic Sleep Therapy

Before I delve into different holistic techniques to improve your sleep (Section A), I will look into sleep’s function and importance (Section B).

A recent University of Michigan study  found even six hours of sleep a night is too little and may leave you functionally impaired, similar to being drunk. University of Michigan mathematician and study author Olivia Walch said:1

“It doesn’t take that many days of not getting enough sleep before you’re functionally drunk … Researchers have figured out that being overly tired can have that effect.

And what’s terrifying at the same time is that people think they’re performing tasks way better than they are. Your performance drops off but your perception of your performance doesn’t.”


Smartphone App Reveals Insights Into How the World Sleeps

In 2014, Walch and colleagues released a free app that recommends optimal lighting schedules for adjusting to new time zones (i.e., helping to reduce the effects of jet lag).

The app, called Entrain, asks users to input their sleep times, home time zone and typical lighting schedule, and it can also record hourly light and sleep schedules.

The researchers used data collected from the app to reveal trends in how people sleep around the world.2 Average sleep duration ranged from seven hours and 24 minutes for residents of Singapore to eight hours and 12 minutes for residents of the Netherlands.

This might not seem like a large discrepancy, but even 30 minutes of extra sleep can make a big difference in your health and ability to function. Other interesting facts revealed by the study included:3

Middle-aged men got the least sleep and often slept less than seven to eight hours a night.

Women tended to schedule more time for sleep and slept about 30 minutes more per night than men. Women tended to go to bed earlier and wake up later.

People who spent time in the sunlight each day tended to go to sleep earlier and got more sleep than those who spend most of their day indoors.

Trends were also noted by age, which suggests your biological clock may influence your internal clock. In particular, the researchers noted that people’s schedules dictated their bedtime but their internal clock governed their wake time.

Therefore, the best way to get more sleep is to go to bed earlier. Study co-author Daniel Forger, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan explained:

“Across the board, it appears that society governs bedtime and one’s internal clock governs wake time, and a later bedtime is linked to a loss of sleep …

At the same time, we found a strong wake-time effect from users’ biological clocks — not just their alarm clocks. These findings help to quantify the tug-of-war between solar and social timekeeping.”

1 in 3 U.S. Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep

In February 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one in three U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep.4

In this case, “enough” sleep was defined as seven or more hours per night, but many adults may need closer to eight hours per night (and thus lack of sleep may affect even more than one in three adults).

What are the health risks of this reported sleep deprivation? Research has found that when participants cut their sleep from 7.5 to 6.5 hours a night, there were increases in activity in genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk, and stress.5

Poor or insufficient sleep was even found to be the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.6 Interrupted or impaired sleep can also:

Increase your risk of heart disease and cancer

Harm your brain by halting new neuron production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in your hippocampus

Contribute to a pre-diabetic, insulin-resistant state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can lead to weight gain

Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training)

Increase your risk of dying from any cause

16 Chronological Daily Tips to Improve Your Sleep

If your sleep could use some improvements, try these 16 tips compiled by Reader’s Digest.7 What makes them unique is that you do them starting in the morning and continue throughout the day and night.

By the time it’s bedtime, you’ll be ready to hit the hay. Here’s the chronological list, starting with when you wake up and continuing until bedtime.

1. Open Your Shades

Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning stops production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and signals to your body that it’s time to wake up. Outdoor sunlight is best, so you might even want to take a quick walk outside.

2. Make Your Bed

This is a psychological trick aimed at making your bedroom less cluttered — and therefore easier to relax in — come bedtime. You can also quickly put away any junk cluttering your nightstand and dresser.

3. Exercise

Exercise leads to better sleep at night. Many people schedule their full workouts for morning, which makes it easier to also exercise while fasting (an added benefit). If you don’t have time for a full workout, at least do some quick stretching or bodyweight exercises.

4. Take a Walk Outdoors After Lunch

Not only will this increase in physical activity help you sleep later, but taking your walk outdoors gives you more exposure to bright sunlight. Light intensity is measured in lux units, and on any given day, the outdoor lux units will be around 100,000 at noon.

Indoors, the typical average is somewhere between 100 to 2,000 lux units — about two orders of magnitude less. The brightness of the light matters, because your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night.

If you are in relative darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production. This, in turn, can have some rather significant ramifications for your health and sleep. I take a one-hour walk every day in the bright sunlight on the beach, so along with boosting my vitamin D, I also anchor my circadian rhythm at the same time and I rarely ever have trouble sleeping.

5. Cut Off Your Caffeine

If you’re a coffee drinker, take your last caffeinated sip in the early afternoon (this applies to caffeinated soda, too). The caffeine can linger in your body for hours, blocking a brain chemical called adenosine that would otherwise help you to fall asleep.

6. Consider a Nap

According to Rubin Naiman, Ph. D. a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and a leader in integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams, we’re biologically programmed to nap during the daytime, typically in the middle of the afternoon.

The key is to avoid napping for too long, as this may disrupt your circadian rhythms, which would hurt your sleep instead of help it. The ideal nap time for adults appears to be around 20 minutes (any longer and you’ll enter the deeper stages of sleep and may feel groggy when you wake up).

7. Exercise in the Early Evening (If You Haven’t Already)

The importance of exercise for sleep cannot be overstated, so if you didn’t fit in your workout in the morning, be sure to do so later. There is some debate over how close is too close to bedtime to exercise. For some people, exercising too close to bedtime may keep you awake, but for others even late-night exercise seems to help (not hinder) sleep.

One poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 83 percent of people said they slept better when they exercised (even late at night) than when they did not, so even if it’s late, you may still want to exercise.8 Let your body be your guide.

8. Take 15 Minutes to Unwind

If you’re stressed, it’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Taking 15 minutes (at least) each day to relax may help your sleep significantly. You may try listening to music, journaling, meditation, chatting with a neighbor or the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Do whatever works best for you.

9. Eat a Light Dinner and Stop Eating Three Hours Before Bed

If you eat a heavy meal too close to bedtime, your body will have to devote energy to digesting your food when it should be recharging during sleep. As part of Peak Fasting, I also recommend that you stop eating three hours before bed and don’t have your first meal until 13 to 18 hours later.

10. At Sundown, Dim Your Lights (or Use Amber-Colored Glasses)

In the evening (around 8 p.m.), you’ll want to dim your lights and turn off electronic devices. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. After sundown, shift to a low-wattage bulb with yellow, orange or red light if you need illumination.

A salt lamp illuminated by a 5-watt bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production. If using a computer or smartphone, install blue light-blocking software like f.lux, which automatically alters the color temperature of your screen as the day goes on, pulling out the blue wavelengths as it gets late.

The easiest solution, which I recently started using myself, however, is to simply use amber-colored glasses that block blue light. I found an Uvex model (S1933X) on Amazon that costs less than $10 and works like a charm to eliminate virtually all blue light. This way you don’t have to worry about installing programs on all your devices or buying special light bulbs for evening use. Once you have your glasses on, it doesn’t matter what light sources you have on in your house.

11. Turn Down the Volume

In the evening hours, you’ll also want to keep noise to a minimum. Noise louder than a normal conversation may stimulate your nervous system and keep you awake. You may want to use a fan or other form of white noise to drown out noise disturbances while you sleep. The exception is listening to soft, soothing music, such as classical, which may actually help you to sleep.9

12. Take a Warm Bath About 1.5 Hours Before Bed

Thermoregulation — your body’s heat distribution system — is strongly linked to sleep cycles. When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.

This is also why taking a warm bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime may help you sleep; it increases your core body temperature, and when it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your body that you are ready for sleep.

13. Adjust Your Bedroom Temperature

While there’s no set consensus as to what temperature will help you sleep the best, in most cases any temperature above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees F will interfere with your sleep.10 Some experts suggest 65 degrees F is ideal for sleep.

14. Sip a Cup of Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has sedative effects that may help with sleep, which is why chamomile tea is often sipped before bed. One study found that people with insomnia who took a chamomile supplement had improvements in daytime functioning and potential benefits on sleep measures as well.11 You may want to try sipping a cup prior to bedtime to see if it helps you sleep.

15. Get Ready for Bed, meditate and Relax with Partner

A nightly ritual of washing your face, brushing your teeth and getting into your pajamas signals to your mind and body that it’s time for bed. Try to stick with the same hygiene ritual, at the same time, each night.

16. Sleep in Complete Darkness

Once you’re ready to climb into bed, make sure your bedroom is pitch black. The slightest bit of light in your bedroom can disrupt your body’s clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades to achieve this and, if this isn’t possible, wear an eye mask.

17. Eat Banana and other sleep inducing foods.


Taking these steps daily should help most people to improve their sleep. If you need more help, I suggest reading my ebook (still pending) on over 50 tips to improve sleep.

– Sources and References

Science Advances May 6, 2016

Daily Mail May 6, 2016

Reader’s Digest

1, 3 University of Michigan News May 6, 2016

Science Advances May 6, 2016

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention February 18, 2016

BBC News October 9, 2013

Reuters February 19, 2014

Reader’s Digest

National Sleep Foundation, 2013 Sleep in America Poll

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Aug 13;8:CD010459.

10 National Sleep Foundation, Touch

11 BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Sep 22;11:78.







Fix Your Sleep to Fix Your Health

Sleep directly affects our health and is often overlooked. Fixing our sleep may be the key to fixing our health. Shawn Stevenson talks about sleeping smarter.

Shawn Stevenson



© 2017 DR. BEN LYNCH. All Rights Reserved.

The information, comments, and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the speaker(s) and are based on their own clinical experience and interpretation of the literature. Published content is intended for educational purposes only. Seeking Health LLC, Dr Ben Lynch LLC, Dr Ben Lynch, and other featured speakers will not be held liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, exemplary, or other damages and/or injuries arising from the use or misuse of any materials or information published.

Always seek medical advice from your qualified health professional. This information is not intended as a substitute for seeking care from a qualified health professional.

*These statements within have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


© 2017 DR. BEN LYNCH. All Rights Reserved.

What is Sleep & Why We Need it

• •

Sleep is not just being unconscious. It is a series of unconscious and semi-conscious states correlated with different brainwave frequencies. These result in different physiological changes

Brain wave states:

  • Gamma – waking state – higher processing tasks, learning, memory
  • Beta – waking state – higher processing tasks, learning, memory
  • Alpha – heightened state of creativity
  • Theta – transitional state in and out of consciousness – kids spend a lot of time here
  • Delta – deepest stage of sleep – slowest brain wave frequency

    Sleep deprivation might be the #1 thing that shortens our telomeres faster.

    Teach kids the value of sleep by:

    • Practicing good sleep habits yourself
    • Emphasize how sleep affects performance
    • Go to theshawnstevensonmodel.com and search “sleep tips for parents”
    • Kids naturally want to sleep, we just need to create the environment for them to do that.

• •



© 2017 DR. BEN LYNCH. All Rights Reserved.

Breathing & Sleeping

  • Breathing and sleeping are the two most important fundamentals for health-in that order.
  • Food is very important, but breathing and sleeping are the top two fundamentals that affect health.
  • Get sun between the hours of 8am – 12pm everyday to positively affect your sleep at night.
    • Sunlight increases serotonin and serotonin is a precursor for melatonin.
    • Sun exposure during the day helps decrease cortisol levels at night.
    • Cortisol has an inverse relationship with melatonin.
    • Look at Dr. Bruce Ames and Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s study on causal link between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis and autism.
  • Deficiency in Vitamin C has shown to cause more waking at night

• Go to theshawnstevensonmodel.com for a recommended sleep supplement list



© 2017 DR. BEN LYNCH. All Rights Reserved.

Quality Sleep

The quality of sleep in minutes matter

  • Oura ring is a tool that helps you track patterns and levels of sleep. Use coupon code

    ‘drbenlynch’ to save on your Oura ring at www.ouraring.com

  • It is during deep, anabolic sleep that we produce the vast majority of our growth hormones.

    Remove technology from your bedtime routine for a better sleep.

  • Keep electronics far from bed.
  • Take time to close “mental tabs” before bed.

    The best method to track how your body is impacted by sleep is to tune into your body and ask “How do I feel?”

    Meditation is an effective treatment for insomnia

    • Shallow breathing creates stress and meditation helps to control this.
    • Meditate in the morning for a better sleep at night.


• •


© 2017 DR. BEN LYNCH. All Rights Reserved.

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