This is the everything-you-need-to-know-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible newsletter, brought to you by Kristy Russ, pharmacist and health consultant. I have over 16 years experience in helping people improve their health. I specialize in nutritional medicine, which is the secret of "true" preventative medicine. Yes, if I'm successful in getting people to follow my advice, I will put myself out of a job.

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The 8 Most Common
Sleep Disruptors

Last e-zine, I talked about the side effects of not getting enough sleep. Many were surprised to find out that there are such serious consequences from just a little sleep deprivation- everything from impaired memory to decreased life expectancy!

Most people would love to have more and better sleep. Am I right or am I right? The problem is how?

What's equally surprising for most are some of the things that interfere with a good night's sleep. Read through the following list and see if any of these sleep thiefs apply to you:

  • Stress
    I'm sure this won't come as a surprise to any of you that having an overstimulated mind is not conducive to a good night's sleep. Even minor things like a thought-provoking conversation or movie or video game are enough to get your mind revving to the point of disrupting quality sleep. Here's what to do:
    • Turn off all stimulating devices (including TV) an hour before going to sleep
    • Have a bedtime ritual. Yep, just like your kids. Doing the same thing every night before bed helps tell your body it's time to start getting ready for sleep.
    • Get your mind re-focussed on a non-stressful situation. Perform a relaxation technique like meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. There are many de-stressing techniques out there- find one that works for you. I find that keeping a fluffy, mindless novel by my bed and reading for 10 or 20 minutes until I can't keep my eyes open works like a charm.

  • Using the bedroom for anything besides sleep.
    Similar to the bedtime ritual, you need to make your body associate your bedroom with sleeping, so that your body starts preparing itself for sleep as soon as you walk in. So get rid of the laptop, cell phone, and especially the TV... Yes, the TV-really. It doesn't matter that it helps you fall asleep- you're not having as restful a sleep as you would without it. I know that's not going to win me any popularity contests, but it is what it is...
  • Having the temperature too hot or cold
    If your body is uncomfortably hot or cold, it signals the brain to wake up. For most people, cooler temperatures than normal are better, because your internal thermostat drops when you sleep. In fact, a slight drop in temperature helps induce sleep, which is why a warm bath often works wonder because of the drop in temperature when you get out.

    Sleeping at a comfortable temperature actually improves the quality of REM sleep, which is the most restorative part of sleep. Aim for cool enough that you need to cover your entire body with at least a sheet.

  • Not enough activity during the day
    What we refer to as "work" isn't really working our body- most people's work just gets your brain tired, but that's it. Physically working your muscles, combined with the increase in oxygen and blood flow that happens with activity actually improves the quality of your sleep. Just think of how rested you felt the morning after a day of physical activity...
  • Eating within 3 hours of going to bed.
    Digestion takes a lot of energy, so your body is doing that instead of repairing itself and storing energy for the next day.
  • Having more than 200mg of caffeine per day.
    And/or having it past 4 pm. 200mg is the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee. Beware of hidden caffeine in teas, sodas or foods like chocolate. If you're consuming more than 200mg, gradually cut back and you won't even notice the difference. Really. (Boy, my popularity is really taking a hit, isn't it?)
  • Drinking alcohol within 1 & 1/2 hours of bed.
    Sure, alcohol helps relax you and makes you kinda sleepy, BUT it interferes with your REM sleep so you won't have as restful a sleep than without it. Ditto for sleeping pills- they help get you to sleep, but they also wreck your REM sleep.

  • and probably the least known sleep thief (but the biggest culprit)...

  • ANY amount of light in the bedroom while you're sleeping.
    The hormone, melatonin, that is responsible for telling your body to sleep is completely regulated by light. When it's dark, it makes it- when it's light, it doesn't make it. Plain and simple. It's meant to put you to sleep 2-3 hours after sunset and wake you up shortly after sunrise. Now that artificial light is our main source of light, and our homes are overrun with "light pollution", our melatonin is all messed up.

    I can see that this e-zine is long enough already, so I'll save the lengthy discussion about how to stimulate melatonin production for next time.

    In the meantime tho, here's a quick tip.... get rid of ANY amount of light in your bedroom while you're sleeping. If you can see more than the slightest shadows when you're supposed to be sleeping, it's too bright.

    Until next time... sweet dreams!!!!

    Because Laughter Really IS Good Medicine...

    In honor of Canada Day! (Back by popular demand...)

    Wive's Duties:

    Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

    Terry had married a woman from America, and bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning that needed to be done at their house. He said that it took a couple days but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were all washed and put away.

    Jimmie had married a woman from Australia. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the house cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. He told them that the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done, and he had a huge dinner on the table.

    The third man had married a Canadian girl. He boasted that he told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye. Enough to fix himself a bite to eat, load the dishwasher, and call a landscaper.

    God Bless Canadian Women! (Proud to be a Canadian Woman!)

    What's New at

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    Antioxidant skin care is one of the newest trends in beauty. That makes sense when you understand that over 90% of the signs of aging are caused by free radical damage.

    BUT make sure you're using products that actually deliver or you're just wasting your money.

    Antioxidant Skin Care

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    Looking for antioxidant skin care products? There are more out there that are completely useless than those that actually do any good. So the odds of you choosing a good one are pretty slim actually...

    The Best Antioxidants Skin Care Products

    Antioxidants skin care products: you need more than creams

    Usually when you talk about skin care, you're talking about things you're putting on your face. But when you're talking about antioxidants skin care products, the most effective way to get the results you're looking for is...

    Antioxidants Skin Care Products

    Antioxidant Discussion Forums

    Create your very own webpage on my site! (Don't worry- you don't need to know anything about how to do it. If you can type, done!) If you have an interesting story to share or have a comment or question about a topic on the site, you can post it right onto the website. Read about how others have been affected by antioxidants, make a comment on someone else's submission or post your own.

    It's fun. It's free. And you don't have to register for anything.

    Click here to post your own story, comment or question.

    Nutrition News

    Here are links to informative and/or interesting news articles on nutrition...

    Changes In Specific Dietary Factors May Have Big Impact On Long-Term Weight Gain

    Potato Alert! Creeping Weight Gain Tied To Type Of Food

    A Must-Read For All Parents To Reduce Child Exposure To Toxic Chemicals At Home

    Surgeon General: Health Care Discussions Need To Put Prevention First

    Chocolate Makes Us Smile The Most

    Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

    See you next month...

    Good Health to You,

    Kristy Russ, BScPharm Pharmacist and Health Consultant

    P.S. Give your body the best nutrition possible. You'll not only feel better now, but you'll also have that quality of life in the future that you've always imagined for yourself. Click here to find out more.