Dr. Doug Hanner

Dr. Doug Hanner

Dr. Hanner is particularly interested in how the chronic effects of trauma and prolonged stress impact both our mental and physical well-being. He has seen first-hand how resolving and integrating the effects of trauma in an individual, can have miraculous effects on both physical and mental illness.

Lifestyle: Sleep

The reason sleep is the first topic in the discussion of lifestyle is because of the profound effect it has on every aspect of your physiology. If you aren’t getting this part right, you may as well forget about the rest.

In the past couple of decades, the scientific literature has shown abundant proof that poor sleep habits can affect every area in your life, including but not limited to:

  • Metabolism
  • Immune Function
  • Hormone Production
  • Cell Regulation
  • Cognitive Function
  • Mood
  • Appetite

In other words, just about any symptom or condition from which you suffer could be partly or wholly caused by a lack of quality sleep.

The objective of this guide is not to provide an in-depth explanation of the physiology behind poor sleep. The purpose is to provide you with easy to implement, life-changing tips that have come out of the current medical literature; the essential conclusions resulting from recent scientific studies. For a deep dive into the research of sleep, read Why We Sleep, By Matthew Walker, Ph.D. This book will bring you up to date on the science of sleep medicine in a way that is easy to understand and engaging.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Our paleolithic ancestors generally worked 4-6 hours per day performing activities such as hunting and gathering food, along with cooking and other domestic activities. It is believed that most of the work activities were completed by noon. The rest of their time was spent relaxing, in community talking, telling stories, performing rituals, chanting, dancing, and singing. After sunset, they slept, arising again at dawn.

Our genes have been programmed this way for over 70,000 generations. In his book, Dr. Walker explains all of the medical reasons why humans need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You will need to add 30-60 minutes to your goal for sleep to account for how long it takes to fall asleep and the times that you wake up during the night. This provides a cushion of time to allow yourself adequate quality sleep time.

Sleep Strategies:

  • Go to bed 8.5 hours before you need to get up.
  • Going to bed at the same time should become a habit that continues on the weekends. One night of poor sleep can throw off your hormones for up to a week.
  • Don’t read or watch TV in bed. The bed should only be for sleeping and sex.
  • Keep the room cool. Your body temperature naturally drops as nighttime approaches, which is a signal that it is time to sleep. A cool room reinforces this signal. Cooler temperatures also stimulate melatonin production.
  • Begin to turn off and dim all of your lights at sunset. Bright lights after this time will significantly impair melatonin production.
  • If you are going to be looking at the screen of a television, computer, or phone after sunset, wear special glasses that block the blue wavelength. Light in that wavelength prevents the secretion of melatonin. You will read more about this in the light section.

Dr. Doug Hanner

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