Spring Newsletter, Sleep Article, Part 2


Don’t just live your life—optimize it with sleep! Sleep is so important to your health that we published a “Science Behind the OHI Program” article on it in our Spring Newsletter. We’re also posting it online so you can share it with friends and family. Part 1 last week covered scientific ways that sleep revives your body, mind and spirit—and this week’s installment reveals 4 recommendations for getting more Zs…

Sleep – What is it? Why is it so important? How do we get more of it? (Part 2 of 2)

Here are the 4 recommendations you should strive for:

  1. 1. You fall asleep in 30 minutes or less. If it takes you longer than half an hour to fall asleep, either you’re going to bed too early for your internal clock so you’re not physically and mentally ready for sleep, or you’re engaging in activities that are too stimulating before bed. First, try reserving the hour before bed for relaxing activities that do not include screen time. If that doesn’t help you fall asleep faster, try changing up your sleep schedule so you go to bed later when you actually feel tired.
  2. 2. You wake up for 5+ minutes no more than once a night. (For adults 65+, waking up twice a night is age-appropriate.) If you wake up a few times a night, roll over, and go right back to sleep, that’s fine. If you lie awake for more than five minutes several times in a night, there could be a medical issue behind it — acid reflux, sleep apnea, etc.
  3. 3. You fall back asleep within 20 minutes. (Adults 65+ may take up to 30 minutes to fall back asleep.) Once you hit the 20-minute mark without falling back asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading a book, listening to a podcast, or coloring. DO NOT engage with a phone or TV screen. It may seem counterintuitive, but the relaxing activity could be what your brain needs to finally fall back asleep.
  4. 4. You’re asleep 85% of the time you spend in bed. Try to use your bed only for sleep or sex. If you don’t use your bed for watching TV, scrolling through your phone, or checking email on your laptop, your brain and body will naturally relax into sleep when you climb into bed.

Now that you know what the tenets of good sleep are, and how vital it is to your body, mind and spirit, let’s find out how to get good sleep. First, understand that you have to put the time in. Adults ages 18-64 require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. That means you have to back up your bedtime to accommodate time to fall asleep, and the possibility that you may wake up in the night. If you’re not setting aside 10 hours, then you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to let sleep work it’s healing magic on you.

There are additional ways to help establish a healthy sleep schedule:

  • Limit daytime naps (or avoid them altogether)
  • Refrain from caffeine past noon
  • Go to bed at the same time each night
  • Wake up at the same time every morning
  • Stick to your sleep schedule during weekends and holidays
  • Spend an hour before bed doing relaxing activities such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath
  • Avoid heavy meals two hours before bedtime
  • Refrain from using electronic devices right before bed
  • Exercise regularly, but not in the evening hours close to bedtime

At OHI, our program focus is to cleanse the body and quiet the mind so that we can build a connection to our spirituality and to God. We do this by practicing 24 ancient spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, prayer and meditation. Our program follows a daily rhythm from the monastic tradition where we practice disciplines throughout the day (prayer, study, contemplation, etc.). The idea is that we become disciplined around our daily practice so when we go home we can continue to practice good habits for body, mind and spirit. Establishing a healthy sleep schedule is another daily practice that is essential to having a balanced, productive day. Overall, when we aren’t consuming caffeine, sugar, processed foods, TV/news, digital devices, alcohol, shopping, or toxic thinking, our bodies and minds are calmer and more clear, and sleep comes naturally. A calm body, mind and spirit leaves us in an alkaline state (vs. acidic). It’s the underlying foundation for good health and wellness.

So seek out sleep just as you would seek out a clean diet and a meditative state. They are all interlocking parts of the puzzle to achieving optimum health so we can transform into whole beings. Wishing you a good night’s sleep tonight and always!

OHI’s Recommended Books:

  • Sleep Away the Pounds: Optimize Your Sleep and Reset Your Metabolism for Maximum Weight Loss, by Cherie Calbom
  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, by Matthew Walker, PhD
  • The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It, by W. Chris Winter, MD



“People Who Get the Best Sleep Have These 4 Things in Common” by Amanda MacMillan, health. com, January 23, 2017

“10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important” by Joe Leech, MS, healthline.com, June 29, 2018

“The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body” by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney, healthline. com, April 18, 2019

National Institutes of Health, “Study finds  irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults”, 3/2/2020, <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-irregular-sleep-patterns-double-risk-cardiovascular-disease-older-adults>

To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

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