Sleep hygiene and therapy (sleep workshop)


Sleep disorders affects over 45 percent of Americans, (1) while sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours a night) affects up to 34 percent of Americans. (2) This problem impacts public health, the economy  and collective suffering. When someone is affected by some form of sleep disorder,  all of his or her four classical vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature) are affected. Worse, these disorders can be significant promoters of many chronic diseases, including, but not limited to cognitive impairment, diabetes, cardio-vascular events and cancer.

Concomitantly, with sleep deprivation,  the body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. When we’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones. Sleep apnea and sleep-caused work accidents are also huge public health challenges.

Prescribed sleeping pills  temporarily mask symptoms. They also tend to promote toxic side effects. Yet, there are natural and holistic durable solutions to deal with sleep disorders, from general insomnia to sleep apnea. (3)

In this workshop, we will first look at the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Then we will examine sleep disorders and causation. Lastly, we will conclude with a detailed analysis on the limitations of the mainstream sleep model and follow up with natural and holistic solutions. A pair of bleu-filtered glasses will be offered.  As well as phyto-melatonin-rich cherries. (Workshop: 5 hours with a break and documents)








SECTION FIVE. NATURAL AND HOLISTIC SOLUTIONS (dozens of science-based holistic solutions to all sorts of sleep disorders are reviewed).



The Institute’s Holistic Sleep Hygiene workshop confirms the emerging science of  restorative sleep and dreaming. In this workshop, we examine mammilian biological clocks: how they are set and reset, and how they affect our hormones, neurotransmitters and sleep cycles. The latest dream research is also explored, revealing the mysterious realm of REM dreaming and lucid dreaming. Those who can  enjoy restorative sleep and be blessed with inspiring dreams will shape the next phases of both medicine and society.



1. Avoid sleeping next to cell phones or any electrical source including cell towers.

2. Avoid a noisy or polluted environment.

3. Avoid watching TV, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed. The bed should be used for sleep and romance only.

4. Minimize heat, the bedroom should be cool. Try to keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot (above 75 degrees) or too cold (below 54 degrees). Sleeping naked cools the body while helping the skin to breath. Light sleeping clothing can be also be an option.

5. Eliminate all sources of light, even wall dimmer lights.

6. Try not to eat or drink fluids after 6 p.m. This may reduce awakenings due to urination.

7. If you have serious problems  falling asleep, avoid naps and exercise more.

8. Use a bleu and green light-wave filters in the evening, especially if you work on the computer or watch tv or any electronic screen. (See Store).

9. Caffeine is also a stimulant and is present in coffee (100-200 mg), soda (50-75 mg), tea (50-75 mg), and various over-the-counter medications. Caffeine should be discontinued at least ten hours before bedtime.

10. Although alcohol is a depressant and may help to fall asleep, the subsequent metabolism that clears it from your body when you are sleeping causes a withdrawal syndrome. This withdrawal causes awakenings. A small amount of wine is ok during meals, especially with animal foods.

11. Have a diet made form mostly plant-based foods. Meats contain lots of hormones including cortisol which can over-stimulate and increase blood sugar. (4) A plant-based diet is what the gut functions best on and the gut-brain axis is key. As the Workshop shows, the microbiome can produce key molecules like GABA that are vital for proper sleeping. (5)

12. Phyto-melatonin rich foods like dark tart cherries, pineapples, spinach, bananas should be eating a few hours before sleep. If insomnia hits, eating bananas or other forms of healthy carbs can  help to induce sleep. Cachews contain a good amount of amino acid L-tryptophan which also is a sleep inducer.

13. For supplementation, try chamomile tea, melatonin (but very small amounts), valerian,catnip, passionflower, and hops,  kava, 5-HTP or tryptophane. It usually is better to find these substances in organic fresch produce. Natural based melatonin can be helpful short term and under specific conditions. Exogenous melatonin can upset the pineal’s endogenous melatonin production.

14. Remove as much chronic stress in  your life, stress causes cortisal to rise and cortisal increases blood sugar in the blood-stream. Some stress is ok, part of life, but chronic stress drains the adrenal glands and hinders sleep. If you suffer from the chronic stress of pain, (6) that should be addressed. Medical marijuana has been shown to be safe and effective with both pain management and sleep.

15. Do not exercise vigorously just before bed, if you are the type of person who is aroused by exercise. If this is the case, it may be best to exercise in the morning or early afternoon.

16. Meditation and mindfulness twice a day can upregulate neuropeptides that are soothing.

17. Early in the morning upon waking, look at the sun, this will adjust the body’s circadian rythms thereby reducing melatonin and activating seratonin and cortisol, the awakening hormone. Sun exposure can also help, including with testesterone.  A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 showed that many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels.


In the morning, bright, blue-light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it’s time to wake up, so be sure to get bright light exposure upon waking At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it’s time to sleep, so avoid exposure to blue light after sunset (blue-light-blocking glasses make this simple).  For short-term sleep disruptions such as jet lag, melatonin supplement can help to reset your internal clock

When one benefits from deep REM sleep, he or she feels refreshed and alert in the morning, tissues are better repaired and metabolic detoxification is much more efficient, inter alia. Many sleep disorders go unrecognized for years, leading to unnecessary suffering, poor quality of life, chronic diseases and accidents.


(1).  Forty-five percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index. (Source)

(2). (Source)

(3). Sleep Apnea is a disorder that keeps a person from getting enough oxygen when he or she sleeps. The brain notices you’re not getting rid of your CO2, and it wakes up briefly in an alarmed state. Because of which you won’t get into REM, the sleep that makes you feel best.

(4). With meat’s cortisol, there is a tendency to be sleep deprived and when a person doesn’t get enough sleep, the body releases even more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts,  cortisol not only spikes blood sugar (from which frequent urination can occur), but can also break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone.  It’s during deep REM sleep, what we call slow-wave rapid eye movement sleep  that lots of growth hormone is released, which is part of normal tissue repair mechanism.

(5).  Fermented foods can have a marked impact on one’s GABA levels.

“There is increasing, but largely indirect, evidence pointing to an effect of commensal gut microbiota on the central nervous system (CNS). However, it is unknown whether lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus could have a direct effect on neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS in normal, healthy animals. GABA is the main CNS inhibitory neurotransmitter and is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes. Alterations in central GABA receptor expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, which are highly comorbid with functional bowel disorders. In this work, we show that chronic treatment with L. rhamnosus (JB-1) induced region-dependent alterations in GABA(B1b) mRNA in the brain with increases in cortical regions (cingulate and prelimbic) and concomitant reductions in expression in the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, in comparison with control-fed mice. In addition, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced GABA(Aα2) mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but increased GABA(Aα2) in the hippocampus. Importantly, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced stress-induced corticosterone and anxiety- and depression-related behavior. Moreover, the neurochemical and behavioral effects were not found in vagotomized mice, identifying the vagus as a major modulatory constitutive communication pathway between the bacteria exposed to the gut and the brain. Together, these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.” (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. ByBravo JA1, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF.)

(6). Many studies of patients experiencing acute pain during postoperative recovery show shortened and fragmented sleep with reduced amounts of slow wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. (Source)  Sleep deprivation also distrubs the digestive provess. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. However, with sleep deprivation, there is decreased leptin and elevated ghrelin.


“Circadian rhythms are deeply rooted in the biology of virtually all organisms. The pervasive use of artificial lighting in modern society disrupts circadian rhythms and can be detrimental to our health. To investigate the relationship between disrupting circadian rhythmicity and disease, we exposed mice to continuous light (LL) for 24 weeks and measured several major health parameters. Long-term neuronal recordings revealed that 24 weeks of LL reduced rhythmicity in the central circadian pacemaker of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) by 70%. Strikingly, LL exposure also reduced skeletal muscle function (forelimb grip strength, wire hanging duration, and grid hanging duration), caused trabecular bone deterioration, and induced a transient pro-inflammatory state. After the mice were returned to a standard light-dark cycle, the SCN neurons rapidly recovered their normal high-amplitude rhythm, and the aforementioned health parameters returned to normal. These findings strongly suggest that a disrupted circadian rhythm reversibly induces detrimental effects on multiple biological processes.”

 (Curr Biol. 2016 Jul 25;26(14):1843-53. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.05.038. Epub 2016 Jul 14. Environmental 24-hr Cycles Are Essential for Health. Lucassen EA1, Coomans CP1, van Putten M2, de Kreij SR1, van Genugten JH1, Sutorius RP1, de Rooij KE3, van der Velde M4, Verhoeve SL1, Smit JW5, Löwik CW4, Smits HH6, Guigas B7, Aartsma-Rus AM2, Meijer JH8. (Source)

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Disclaimer: Nothing in theis educational blog should be construed as medical advice.

Copyright (c) 2016. Happiness Medicine Institute and agents. All rights reserved

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