Sleep your way to better health

by | Jan 21, 2014 | Anxiety, Depression and Stress, Brain Health | 0 comments

A full complement of restorative sleep is an essential health ingredient.

Without adequate sleep your mood gets nasty, you’re less productive at work, and you might even snap at your best friend.  To make matters worse, you gain weight, stress your immune system, and increase your pain levels.

Poor sleep is just terrible in every way.  Unfortunately, for many people, a good night’s sleep is but a dream.  If you’re having sleep troubles, try a few of these tips:

Light Control

Your brain is designed to function best when there are well-defined cycles of daylight and darkness.

  • Get outside into the sunlight during the day whenever possible.  Some experts believe that, if you wear eyeglasses, you should remove them when you’re outside part of each day to expose your retinas to the full range of the sun’s radiation.
  • Darken your room at night if needed with blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask.
  • Avoid staring into computer screens, tablets, or backlit e-readers at night.  Your brain will think it’s daytime.


If your bedroom is noisy, use earplugs or even noise-cancelling headphones.

Random thoughts

It can be a challenge to quiet the mind when it’s time for sleeping.  Everyone should have a strategy to deal with randomly emerging stressful thoughts.  Don’t try too hard to sleep, instead, focus on relaxation.  Sleep will occur as a natural result.  Calm breathing, mindfulness meditation, or creative visualization of a relaxing scene are all common approaches, but there are other methods too.

Mattress discomfort

They don’t last forever.  Is it time for a new mattress?

Medication review

Prescription medication is the cause of a lot of sleep disturbance.  Review your prescriptions with your doctor or pharmacist.


The total time you sleep throughout the day counts more than when you sleep.  So make the most of your napping opportunities.

Too much alcohol or coffee?

If either of these is an issue for you, cut back.

Try these simple strategies and you’ll be sure to experience happier dreaming!

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.


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