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How to sleep better part 4 | 6 new sleeping tips

How to sleep better part 4 | 6 new sleeping tips

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Sleeping tips 1-6

You can read the first six tips for better sleep (Avoid blue light in the evening and at night, Magnesium, Zinc, B Vitamins, Taurine, and Serotonin precursors) in the article How to sleep better part 1

Sleeping tips 7-12

The second article with six tips for better sleep (GABA precursors, Sleep Induction Mat, Collagen Protein, Bone broth, and gelatin, Lowering the amount of EMF’s in the environment and Whey protein) can be read in The best tips for better sleep part 2

Sleeping tips 13-18

The third article with six tips for better sleep (PQQ, Cold Therapy, Vitamin D3, Phosphatidylserine, Meditation, and Huperzine-a) can be read in the blog post Best tips how to sleep better part 3.

Sleep tip 19: Honey before bedtime

Honey is one of the most utilized biohacks to increase sleep quality. The benefit of honey is that it supplies the body with slow carbohydrates that replenish liver glycogen. Liver glycogen are the carbohydrates that are stored in the liver. During our sleep, the brain uses liver glycogen to supply itself with energy. Honey is slowly absorbed by the body. For that reason, 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey is enough to get through the night.

A main, well-proven benefit of honey is that it stops coughing during the night. Honey even improves sleep quality when one has infected airways [1]. Compared to most medicine bought at the apothecary, honey has a better effect on sleep than other medicines [2]. For that reason, honey is a specific tool that can increase sleep quality, when sleep is disrupted by too much coughing. When buying honey, quality is a very important consideration. We would advise you to do a google search to find the best kinds of raw honey in your country and local environment.

The best choices would be to only use local honey or EU honey. Mixed EU and non-EU honey, or pure non-EU honey are usually supplanted with sugar water. Even a lot of fraud exists with EU honey, but fraud with honey is punishable by law within the EU. Authorities investigate honey within the EU, to ensure a standard of quality as much as possible.

Anecdotal evidence exists that states that honey increases recovery during workouts, which would be great news for athletes.

Recommended use: 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey before bedtime.

Sleep tip 20: Licht therapy with blue or white light

As we mentioned in tip 1, it is recommended to avoid blue light during the evening and nightly hours. Within the eye, there is a mechanism whereby light directly influences the brain. One specific brain area is directly tied to light, and the effects of light are called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This group of brain cells keeps our circadian clock. When you are exposed to blue and white light, this will cause the formation of the “sleep hormone” melatonin to be suppressed. Therefore, blue and white light create feelings of wakefulness.

An important factor to improve sleep quality is to have the right amounts of blue and white light within the environment. White light is the full spectrum of light that is emitted by the sun while blue light makes up one part of the spectrum. The right amounts of light cause the circadian rhythm to be set up in the right way within the suprachiasmatic nucleus. You can set your circadian rhythm by going outside and let the sun rays enter your eyes for a few minutes. Most people are inside buildings during the day and won’t contact the sun a lot during the day. A solution would be to use lights that emit blue or white light during the day, to increase energy during the day, as well to improve sleep during the night.

Besides improving the sleep cycle, blue light therapy also improves mood during the day [3]. Furthermore, blue light can also be used to treat depression, especially winter depression [4]. It causes the sleep cycle to improve and improves sleep efficiency, by increasing the amount of melatonin that is secreted in the evening. Blue light can also help to decrease binge eating, especially preventing the consumption of large amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates. Even cognitive performance can be increased by blue light during the day [5]

Recommended use: Go outside first thing in the morning when the sun comes up. When possible, use large amounts of white and blue light during the day for a maximum of 30 minutes. If you are around of fluorescent light, or blue light that is emitted by devices, this step is not necessary. Increasing blue light is mainly recommended for people that are inside buildings for most of the time, and are not exposed to much blue light or sunlight. Light therapy can even increase sleep quality and cognitive performance in people that have no trouble sleeping. You can find specific blue and white light products under the term “SAD light” when searching the internet.

Sleep tip 21: Valerian

Another supplement that has proven benefits for improving sleep quality is called Valerian [6]. Valerian decreases feelings of fear and anxiety, just as we saw with Taurine (tip 5) in the article "How to sleep better part 1". Valerian reduced the time it takes to fall asleep and also increases sleep depth [7]. It decreases the time spent in the “shallow” sleep phases while increasing the deeper sleep stages like REM sleep. Valerian is a powerful supplement that is also very affordable. By limiting anxiety, it is the perfect supplement for people that cannot sleep due to racing thoughts or thoughts about the future.

Recommended use: Use 1000mg – 1500mg of Valerian extract, 30 minutes before bedtime

Sleep tip 22: Passion flower

Passion flower grows in the South of the United States, and might be considered “the smaller brother” of Valerian. The effects are milder, but Passion Flower influences sleep with the same mechanism as Valerian. Evidence exists that Passion Flower can be used to decrease anxiety before going to the dentist [8]. For the same reason, Passion Flower can help to decrease anxiety before bedtime and thereby improve sleep quality. Just like taurine and Valerian, Passion Flower also influences the GABA receptors in the brain [9].

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence from biohackers that passionflower is a valuable supplement when combined with a healthy food pattern. Passion Flower is proven to increase subjective well-being and improving sleep quality [10]. Valerian and Passion flower have even been combined in a scientific study in order to increase sleep quality with to statistically significant level [11]. However, Passion Flower needs more research behind it in the area of sleep quality for a final verdict to be possible. Helfi included Passion Flower within the tips because of the anecdotal evidence, and because we want to help people achieve the best sleep as possible.

Recommended usage: 600-1000mg of Passion Flower extract, 30 minutes before going to sleep.

Sleep tip 23: DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid, also called DHA, is the most important nutrient within fish. DHA only shows up in animal foods and algae. It’s far more present in fatty fish than In land-based animals.

Even before birth, DHA is associated with either bad of good development of sleeping patterns [12,13]. For that reason, DHA is a very important nutrient during pregnancy, as it is necessary to optimally develop the fetus. After birth, fish oil consumption is also associated with better sleep. Children that supplement with DHA, are rated higher for their sleep quality by their parents, compared to children that receive a placebo.[14]

For adults, DHA is also necessary for a healthily functioning sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm [15]. People that have higher amounts of DHA in their diets function better during the day. DHA positively influences heart rate variability, which is a benchmark for stress levels. Without fish oil, the heart rate variability tests have a worse pattern, and this signifies more stress. Furthermore, a better heart rate variability benchmark signifies a lower onset of sleep. DHA even improves vitamin D status, but the exact mechanism for this is unknown. As mentioned before in tip 15, vitamin D is also necessary to achieve the best sleep quality. (You can read about sleep tip 15 in Best tips how to sleep better part 3) that explicates our information about vitamin D.

Recommended usage: The best form of DHA is still contained within fat fish and shellfish. Amongst these are oysters, mussels, sardines, mackerel, herring or wild salmon. You would have to eat 200-300g each day. These food sources don’t only contain EPA and DHA (the most important fish oils), but also contain co-factors like phospholipids that increase absorption, important minerals like zinc, selenium, iodine, and manganese. Fish consumption is the best guarantee to prevent eating oxidized or damaged fish oils.
As an alternative, you can take 2 – 3 capsules of Krill oil in the evening to get your daily amount of EPA and DHA. The best way to take krill oil is to combine it with a meal that contains saturated fatty acids. You’ll find Krill oil in the section Healthy Fats.

Sleep Tip 24: Limit Caffeine

Caffeine negatively influences sleep quality by decreasing the formation of melatonin [16] and increasing the amount of stress hormones like cortisol [17]. Taking caffeine before sleep, increases the duration of superficial sleep while decreasing the amount of deep sleep [18]. Older adults are more sensitive to the negative effects of caffeine compared to young adults [19]. Beverages that contain caffeine would be tea and coffee, for example. It is recommended not to consume caffeine after 2 PM, to avoid the negative effects that caffeine has on sleep quality.

When you have a caffeine addiction, quitting caffeine will improve sleep quality dramatically. You can quit caffeine by not consuming any caffeine during the weekends, for example. The advantage of not drinking caffeine during the weekends is that it maximizes the wakefulness benefits during your working days when you would consume caffeine again. [20]

Recommended use: At most, use 600 mg of caffeine a day. Only consume caffeine before 2 PM. 600 mg of caffeine equals about 7 cups of coffee. Tea generally contains lower amounts of caffeine compared to coffee.

More about better sleep

In the fifth article How to apply the sleeping tips, all tips will be ordered, and a strategy that is based upon individual costs and circumstances will be given.

References

1. Cohen HA, Rozen J, Kristal H, Laks Y, Berkovitch M, Uziel Y, Kozer E, Pomeranz A, Efrat H. Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics. 2012.
2. Shadkam MN, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Mozayan MR.A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents. J Altern Complement Med. 2010.
3. Pail G, Huf W, Pjrek E, Winkler D, Willeit M, Praschak-Rieder N, Kasper S. Bright-light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders. Neuropsychobiology. 2011.
4. Lieverse R, Van Someren EJ, Nielen MM, Uitdehaag BM, Smit JH, Hoogendijk WJ. Bright light treatment in elderly patients with nonseasonal major depressive disorder: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011.
5. Gabel V, Maire M, Reichert CF, Chellappa SL, Schmidt C, Hommes V, Viola AU, Cajochen C. Effects of artificial dawn and morning blue light on daytime cognitive performance, well-being, cortisol and melatonin levels. Chronobiol Int. 2013.
6. Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2006.
7. Donath F, Quispe S, Diefenbach K, Maurer A, Fietze I, Roots I. Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2000.
8. Kaviani N, Tavakoli M, Tabanmehr M, Havaei R. The efficacy of passiflora incarnata linnaeus in reducing dental anxiety in patients undergoing periodontal treatment. J Dent Shiraz. 2013.
9. Appel K, Rose T, Fiebich B, Kammler T, Hoffmann C, Weiss G. Modulation of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system by Passiflora incarnata L. Phytother Res. 2011.
10. Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011.
11. Dimpfel W, Suter A. Sleep improving effects of a single dose administration of a valerian/hops fluid extract - a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled sleep-EEG study in a parallel design using electrohypnograms. Eur J Med Res. 2008 May 26;13(5):200-4.
12. Zornoza-Moreno M, Fuentes-Hernández S, Carrión V, Alcántara-López MV, Madrid JA, López-Soler C2, Sánchez-Solís M, Larqué E. Is low docosahexaenoic acid associated with disturbed rhythms and neurodevelopment in offsprings of diabetic mothers? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014.
13. Judge MP, Cong X, Harel O, Courville AB, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Maternal consumption of a DHA-containing functional food benefits infant sleep patterning: an early neurodevelopmental measure. Early Hum Dev. 2012.
14. Montgomery P, Burton JR, Sewell RP, Spreckelsen TF, Richardson AJ. Fatty acids and sleep in UK children: subjective and pilot objective sleep results from the DOLAB study--a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res. 2014 Aug.
15. Hansen AL, Dahl L, Olson G, Thornton D, Graff IE, Frøyland L, Thayer JF, Pallesen S. Fish consumption, sleep, daily functioning, and heart rate variability. J Clin Sleep Med. 2014.
16. Shilo L, Sabbah H, Hadari R, Kovatz S, Weinberg U, Dolev S, Dagan Y, Shenkman L. The effects of coffee consumption on sleep and melatonin secretion. Sleep Med. 2002.
17. Lovallo WR, Farag NH, Vincent AS, Thomas TL, Wilson MF. Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006.
18. Keenan EK, Tiplady B, Priestley CM, Rogers PJ. Naturalistic Effects of Five Days of Bedtime Caffeine Use on Sleep, Next-Day Cognitive Performance, and Mood. J Caffeine Res. 2014.
19. Robillard R, Bouchard M, Cartier A, Nicolau L, Carrier J.Sleep is more sensitive to high doses of caffeine in the middle years of life. J Psychopharmacol. 2015.
20. Sin CW, Ho JS, Chung JW. Systematic review on the effectiveness of caffeine abstinence on the quality of sleep. J Clin Nurs. 2009.

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