14 Tips For A Better Sleep From The “Sleep Doctor”




At the Bulletproof conference in Pasadena we were fortunate to be able to listen to a talk by Michael J. Breus, PhD, also known as The Sleep Doctor. He has been a guest on all the major shows including Oprah, Dr. Oz, Kelly and Michael, and The View. We learned new things about sleep as well as things we had heard before that he confirmed them to be true or false. It was a very informative talk and our sleep will definitely benefit from it.

Below are 14 tops tips we learned from The Sleep Doctor:

1. Having the television on to go to sleep is ok!

We were shocked to hear that The Sleep Doctor goes to bed with the TV on, we thought this was definitely taboo. He explained that having that background noise on with a sitcom (not the news or something stimulating) helps your mind to focus slightly on that story rather than thinking about a million different things in your mind. So if you are someone who has trouble falling asleep because you can’t stop thinking, having the TV on while you are drifting off to sleep actually can be helpful. Note: He did say to make sure you set a timer so that the TV will turn off while you are sleeping.




 2. Keep it cool

The sleep inducing hormone, melatonin, is activated by a lower body temperature. Increase melatonin production through the night by keeping your room cool anywhere between 65-75 degrees.



 3. Paralysis happens during sleep

If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and can’t move, it’s probably ok. Our body goes into a natural paralysis during REM sleep so that we won’t physically act out our dreams. There is actually a disorder where some people do not go into paralysis and start acting out their dreams in real life, not good!



 4. You don’t need 8 hours of sleep

How much sleep someone needs is highly individualized, some need 6 hours some need 9 hours, but 8 hours of sleep is not necessarily ideal for most individuals. You can determine the amount of sleep you need by starting with the time you must wake up by, or the “socially determined wake time”, counting back 7.5 hours and go to bed at that time. Then see if you are able to wake up naturally without an alarm at your socially determined wake time.

If you end up waking up too early then you need to go to bed a little later, if you sleep past your socially determined wake time then you need to go to bed earlier.



 5. Avoid blue light at bed time

Blue light turns off the natural production of the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin. Avoid blue light as much as you can an hour before sleep. Unfortunately blue light is everywhere, most notably on your phone, iPad, and even light bulbs. You can try finding bulbs that emit red light or getting glasses with red lenses to enhance production of melatonin. If anything, just dim the lights because melatonin is shut off with bright lights.



 6. Aromatherapy does help with sleep

Certain scents can  help to relax muscles which preps your body for rest. Scents that can help with muscle relaxation include lavender and vanilla.



 7. Sunlight to prevent sleepiness

Melatonin production can start in the afternoon and the best way to turn this off is by getting sunlight. Aim to get outside for a few minutes at lunch time or mid-afternoon to shut off this sleep inducing hormone.



 8. First cup of coffee 90 minutes from waking

Your cortisol (stress hormone) is highest first thing in the morning, it’s what wakes your body up. You want to avoid pairing a high caffeine beverage such as coffee with a high cortisol level. This combination will more likely cause you to feel jittery and not much more energized. Instead wait for the cortisol to dip which happens about 90 minutes after waking.



 

9. Prevent a hangover at bed time

Best proven ways to prevent a hangover include: one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage, drink coconut water before bed, take a magnesium and vitamin b complex supplement before bed (these tend to be depleted from alcohol consumption).



10. Fasted workout for fat-burning

A fasted state means no calories ingested from liquids or food. Doing a fasted workout 30 minutes from waking increases fat burning in the body.



11. Ocean sounds to induce sleep

The best type of white noise for sleep has been found to be ocean sounds. There are many apps on your phone that should have this feature.

 

12. Avoid Caffeine after 2 pm

Caffeine can stay in your system 6-8 hours after ingesting and can affect the quality of your sleep. This rule goes for those individuals who are able to fall asleep even just after drinking a cup of coffee. Even if you are able to go to sleep, the quality will suffer due to how caffeine interacts in the brain.



13. Eating turkey is not going to make you sleepy

Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, and tryptophan works in the brain to promote sleep. For this reason, the theory was that eating turkey makes you sleepy. However, you would have to consume an enormous amount of turkey to actually see a benefit from the tryptophan. If you are getting sleepy after eating turkey, such as with Thanksgiving, its probably from the carbs you are eating with it, not the turkey itself.



 

14. 1-3 pm is the ideal time for a nap

Your core body temperature dips at this time, and a lower body temperature is something that triggers melatonin release. This is also a good time for a nap because it is not too close to bed time because napping too close to bed time can throw off your ability to fall asleep at your normal time.



How To Become A Morning Person




I love the morning because you can get so much more done in a shorter amount of time – mostly due to the fact that everyone else is still sleeping! Getting up early on a daily basis is easier said than done, and it definitely takes some skill and planning to become a morning person.

Below are my top tips to make you a morning person:

1. Exercise within 30 minutes of waking

Don’t think about it, just get your workout clothes on and go. The longer you stall to workout, the greater the chance you will talk yourself out of it or you will lose that time to work out. Exercise is one of the best ways to boost energy in the morning.



2. Listen to music

 

Listening to music in the morning is energizing and helps to wake up your mind and body. Studies have shown that playing upbeat music during exercise enhances the quality of the workout as well – anyone who exercises with music understands this first hand!



3. Cold shower

Turn on cool water at the end of the shower. The cool water splashing off of your face is like a jolt to the system and an instant way to wake you up.



4. Go to bed earlier

If you want to get up earlier, sorry but this means you probably need to go to bed earlier. How much sleep you need is highly individualized, and it may take trial and error to determine your specific bed time. Figure out how much sleep you need by first counting back 7-8 hours from the time you need to wake up.

If you wake up too early this means you need to go to bed later, if you wake up from your alarm clock this means you need to go to bed earlier. Goal is to wake up right around the time your alarm clock would typically go off.



5. Avoid carbohydrates in the morning

Avoid carbs in the morning because carbs trigger hormones in your body that promote sleep, relaxation and calm – not what you want when you want to feel energized. Carbs will also spike insulin which sets up the rest of your day on a blood sugar roller coaster. Go for protein and fat which do not spike insulin, are slowly digested, keep you full, and do not induce the same calm-inducing hormones carbs do.



6. Drink water within 30 minutes of waking

During sleep, you breath out up to a liter of water meaning when you wake up you are likely dehydrated. Try to make it a habit to drink 1-2 glasses of water first thing in the morning. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue and lethargy.



7. Get direct sunlight

Sunlight shuts off melatonin (sleep inducing hormone) production, and increases energy. Open the windows or go outside for a 10 minute walk to get the energizing effect and decrease sleepiness.



8. Consistent and bed time wake time

Yes, this includes the weekend. A consistent bed time and wake time makes it easier to wake up, fall asleep, and keep your energy level consistent. If you normally need to wake up at 6:30 am every morning you should aim for this same time on the weekend.



Produce You Don’t Have To Eat Organic




In a past post we gave you a list of organic produce that you definitely wanted to always eat organic. Well good news, there is produce that has low likelihood of holding onto many pesticides that should be ok to eat non-organic. This list comes from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which put together a list of produce with the least amount of pesticides based off of testing over 30,000 samples of produce by the U.S Department of agriculture.

Below is a list of VEGETABLES lowest in pesticides:

1. Cauliflower





2. Eggplant





3.Sweet Corn





4. Onion





5. Asparagus





6. Sweet Peas (frozen)





7. Cabbage

Below is a list of FRUIT lowest in pesticides:

1.Kiwi





2. Papaya





3. Pineapple





4. Avocado





5. Mangos





6. Honeydew melon





7. Cantaloupe





8. Grapefruit





15 Tips You Need to Know For Better Sleep




Getting quality sleep is one of the most important factors for both your physical and mental health, which is why practicing good sleep hygiene is so important to your health. Sleep hygiene refers to things you can do to set yourself up for a restful sleep.

Below are 15 of the best tips to get a good sleep tonight:

1.Turn electronics off 30-60 minutes before bed, this includes your phone, tablet, TV, basically anything with a screen





 

2. Dim the lights 30-60 minutes before bed





 

3. Do not engage in upsetting conversations or read or watch the news at least 60 minutes before bed





4. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep after 15 minutes, get out of bed and go to another room





 

5. Exercising daily





6. Avoid exercise 2-3 hours before you want to sleep





 

7. Allow 2-3 hours from eating to when you want to fall asleep





8. Listen to lyric-free music before going to sleep





9. Meditate before sleep 





10. Set the thermostat to 64-68 degrees to keep your room cool





 

11. Consider using white noise to drown out other noise, such by using a fan or an app





 

12. Make your room as black as possible and consider getting a black-out curtain






13. Take a warm shower before bed

14. Avoiding caffeine at least 6 hours before you want to sleep





15. limiting naps to under 30 minutes





 

Top Ten 3-Ingredient Recipes Using Avocado To Make For Dinner Tonight




I LOVE avocados because they are so versatile and make any good meal great! Avocados are high in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins making them a real superfood. I put together a list of 10 of our favorite 3-ingredient recipes from Eat Clean Bot (found in Facebook Messenger) that use avocado as a main ingredient. We always try to keep things simple and straight to the point at The Mindful Tech Lab, and the same goes to the recipes and the food we eat. When you eat fresh, real food ingredients you don’t need a million different ingredients to make the meal taste good.

All of the 10 recipes below are gluten free, low carb, paleo and Whole30 friendly! Check them out below:

1. Turkey and Greens Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups raw leafy greens

½ avocado

½ cup ground turkey

Directions: Mix the avocado with the greens, cook the ground turkey on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. Add the cooked ground turkey on top of the salad-avocado mix.



2. Chicken W/ Cauliflower rice

Ingredients:

1 cup cauliflower rice

½ cup chicken

½ avocado

Directions: Cook the chicken on the stove on low heat while simultaneously cooking the cauliflower rice in a separate pan on the stove on low heat. When both are done cooking, add both to a bowl and mix with the avocado.



3. Broccoli and Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups broccoli

½ cup chicken

½ avocado

Directions: Cut or use pre-cut fresh or frozen broccoli florets, place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until softened. Simultaneously cook the chicken on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. Add the cooked chicken to the broccoli in a bowl and mix with the avocado.



4. Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup Brussels sprouts

½ cup chicken

½ avocado.

Directions: Cut the Brussels sprouts in half length-wise and place on a baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Simultaneously cook the chicken on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. When both are finished cooking, place both in a bowl with the avocado and mix.



5. Zoodles + Butternut Squash Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup cubed butternut squash

1 avocado

1 zucchini

Directions: Place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Simultaneously spiralize the zucchini into thin noodles. When the squash is done cooking, add to a bowl along with the zoodles and avocado and mix.



6. Zoodles + Brussel Sprouts Salad (vegan option)

Ingredients:

1 zucchini

1 avocado

1 cup Brussels sprouts

Directions: Peel and cut the Brussels sprouts into thin pieces and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Simultaneously spiralize the zucchini into thin noodles. When the brussels are finished baking, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Enjoy!



7. Portobello Salmon Burger

Ingredients:

1 portobello mushroom

½ cup salmon

½ avocado

Directions: Cut the stem from the portobello mushroom and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until softened. While this is baking, cook the salmon on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. Place the cooked salmon on the baked mushroom and top with slices of avocado.



8. Aspara-Great Salad

Ingredients:

5 asparagus

½ cup chicken

½ avocado

Directions: Place asparagus on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until softened. While this is baking, cook the chicken on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. When these are finished cooking, place on a plate with the avocado.



9. Chicken Zoodles Salad

Ingredients:

1 zucchini

½ avocado

½ cup chicken

Directions: Spiralize the zucchini, mix with the avocado. Cook the chicken on the stove on low heat until completely cooked through. Mix all in a bowl.



10. Cauliflower Un-Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup cauliflower rice

3 eggs

1/2 avocado

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and place on stove on low heat. Stir continuously until all are completely cooked through.

 




Top 9 Supplements to Decrease Anxiety




Anxiety is one of the most common mood disorders (if not the most common) and definitely one of the top conditions I’ve seen in practice. I always ALWAYS advise lifestyle changes as first line treatment, which include exercise and eating healthy foods, but when that is not enough I will recommend certain supplements before jumping straight to medication.

I don’t love anxiety medication in general because some of them can lead to serious problems, such as addiction (ie. Xanax), and most can cause too much of a calming effect. Anti-anxiety medications also come along with a whole list of side effects (some more pronounced in certain individuals than others) and can end up causing more problems than what the individual started with. So for someone with mild to moderate anxiety, lifestyle changes and supplements are a great way to get your mood back in check.



Below is a list of the most effective and safest supplements I have come across and recommend.


1. Vitamin B12

What: Vitamin B12 helps with the production of major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which work to modulate mood and decrease anxiety. Read more about this here.
Dose: 1,000 mcg daily as methylcobalamin sublingual, lozenge, or spray
How to take: Morning




 

2. Vitamin B6

What: This vitamin assists with the production of the major neurotransmitters that regulate mood, which include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Vitamin B6 specifically assists with the production of serotonin’s direct precursor, 5-HTP – the more there is of 5-HTP, the more serotonin that can be made. Read more about Vitamin B6 here.
Dose: 2.5 mg daily as pyridoxal-5-phosphate
How to take: Once or twice daily

3. L-theanine

What: This amino acid activates GABA in the brain to induce calm without sedation. Read more about this here.
Dose: 100+ mg daily as L-theanine
How to take: With food

 

4. Lemon balm

What:​ This is an herb that may help to decrease stress and induce more feelings of calm. When combined with valerian root it’s anxiolytic and anti-insomnia effects may be pronounced – read more here.
Dose: 600 mg or 60 drops tincture daily as Melissa officinalis
How to take: Once daily




5. L-tyrosine

What: This is an amino acid that helps to boost dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that help to calm the mind and decrease anxiety. Read more about L-tyrosine here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-4x daily as L-Tyrosine
How to take: With food




6. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

What: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the brain which may help to lessen anxiousness and perceived stress by the brain. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 2,000+ mg daily as combined DHA/EPA
How to take: With a meal




7. Passionflower

What: This supplement helps to boost GABA in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting calm and relaxation. Read more about passionflower here and  here.
Dose: 200 mg nightly as Passiflora incarnata
How to take: 60 minutes before sleep (can make sleepy)



8. Chamomile

What: Chamomile as a supplement has been shown to be an effective treatment of decreasing anxiety. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-3x per day as Matricaria recutita or chamomilla
How to take: Bed time (also good for promoting relaxation before sleep)




9. 5-HTP

What: This compound is the direct precursor to serotonin (main neurotransmitter involved with stable mood) and helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Read more about 5-HTP here.
Dose: 100 mg 1-3x daily as 5-Hydroxytryptophan
How to take: With a meal

 

Always speak to your health care provider before trying any supplement and be cautious whenever trying a new supplement because you don’t know how you will react.



Decrease Stress and Anxiety Now With 10 Simple Tips




Anxiety is another way of saying excessive worry about future events. Worrying is literally one of the worst things you can do to yourself because it doesn’t help anything and only makes you feel worse. Those anxious thoughts are not only causing stress on your mind, but also causes a stress response throughout your entire body – not good!



Below are 10 quick and easy ways to stop anxious thoughts right now:

1. Take deep breaths 

Yes, this is super simple, and that’s the point! Stop thinking, just take a few very deep breaths and focus on your breathing for a minute or two. This focus on your breath allows your mind to focus on something other than your anxious thoughts, even if for just a couple minutes, can be greatly beneficial and make you feel less stressed going forward. Try it anywhere!



2. Take a walk

This is a great one for work, when you have been sitting all day and need to stretch your legs anyway. Walking just ten minutes gets the blood flowing and releases feel good hormones and decreases stress hormones. Get up and go for a walk now or take a walk at lunch time rather than just sitting at your desk.



3. Take a workout class

Go to a workout class at your gym or watch a video on YouTube or DVD. This way your mind is actively engaged in the workout rather than whatever you are stressed about. I don’t advise running or some other type of steady-state cardio because sometimes this causes you to think too much – I know that’s true for myself! Being told what to do in a class makes you focus on the workout and not on your thoughts. Working out also increases the feel good hormones and suppresses stress hormones, increasing focus and mental clarity.



4. Meditate 

This goes along with deep breathing, but if you find yourself unable to focus on your breath, try a guided meditation which tells you what to do! Anytime of day works great for this, but most individuals will find the morning or right before bed to be the best time. Again, this does not have to be long, taking just 5 minutes to meditate really helps to reduce stress. Try MeditateBot found in Facebook Messenger which sends you a daily reminder to meditate.



5. Watch mindless television 

When you don’t want to think, mindless TV (aka all reality shows) can be great. Instead of thinking about your own stressors, watch someone else’s! Not only will it get your mind off your own anxious thoughts, but might also make you think of your stress as not such a big deal compared to some of the stressful situations we see in the silly TV shows.




6. Avoid the news

Of course it’s great to be informed about the world, however, the news can be extremely depressing more often than not. You are not helping anyone, including yourself, following every news story out there, all it does is cause more stress and worry that may not even directly affect you.



7. Avoid caffeine

Coffee has many awesome health benefits, however, stress relief is definitely not one of them. Avoid caffeine if you are super stressed, because when your brain is already bouncing off the walls with thoughts, caffeine is just adding fuel to that fire. Caffeine is highly stimulatory which is great for certain situations, but not for when you are stressed out.




8. Avoid sugar

When you are stressed, the last thing you need is a roller coaster blood sugar level. When you eat sugar, it raises your blood sugar which gives you a short bout of energy, but then your blood sugar quickly shoots back down even lower than with what you started with. When you get super low blood sugar, that’s when the dreaded hypoglycemia kicks in which physically causes a stress response in your body. That stress response presents itself as restlessness, jitteriness, MORE anxiousness, sweating, feelings of anger and hunger. So what do you do to calm this stress response fast? You eat sugar, and yes you will feel immediately better, however, the cycle above continues. Instead of sugary foods, reach for protein and healthy fats that keep your blood sugar nice and stable to prevent the dip in blood sugar.



9. Make a list

Physically use a pen and paper and write down things you need to do rather than making a mental list. The act of putting your thoughts onto paper helps to get those thoughts out of your brain and helps you to stop thinking over and over of all the things you need to do. If you are keeping your list of things to do in your head, this means you are going to have to constantly remind yourself of each and every one of them.




10. Take Action

Ok great, you made your list, now take action! Procrastination is one of the greatest causes for stress and anxiety, the longer you wait to do something means the longer you have to think about the thing you don’t want to do. If you are dreading making a call, or dreading a  presentation and keep putting it off, the best and only way to relieve that stress is to get it done. Tackle your to-do list now and feeling amazing after.

Try one or more of the above today! Your mind will thank you, we promise.