Chronic Stress and Habitual Negative Thought Patterns, Part II
Welcome to Part II of the Detoxify Your Life series.
If you missed Part I you can catch it here.
To recap, this multi-part series explores sources of toxins in everyday life and what we can do to reduce or even eliminate them. Today's post is a continuation of Toxin:
Chronic Stress and Habitual Negative Thought Patterns; our focus is SLEEP.
Sound sleep is essential for overall health and an important adjunct in the prevention and treatment of stress. Some helpful tips for a good night's sleep:
- Decaffeinate: Save that regular coffee, tea,
and cola (but please don't tell me you're still drinking cola!) for earlier in
the day. Studies show that "400 mg
caffeine administered 30 minutes before bedtime demonstrated both severe sleep
disruption as well as important cardiovascular effects during sleep likely
related to increased sympathetic activity."[
- Unplug: Say nighty-night to your cell phone, tablet, and other screens an hour before bedtime.[ii] If that's not something you're willing to do, invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses.[iii] LED lights trick your brain into believing the sun is shining 24/7; amber glasses block the blue spectrum lights, reminding your brain that the sun is down and it's time to go to sleep. Alternatively, many screens now have an amber option for nighttime use.
- Embrace the dark side: During your sleep cycle, eliminate as many sources of light as possible. Use blackout curtains, unplug electric devices, cover your alarm clock with a light-blocking cover, and unplug that nightlight. Light prevents the development of melatonin, a beneficial hormone not only for fighting stress, but preventing cancer;[iv] light ceases melatonin development as soon as it enters your eyes.[v] If keeping your room black during your sleep cycle is not an option, invest in a comfortable sleep mask.
- Chill out: According to sleep experts, the ideal bedroom temperature is 60°-67°F[vi] because our body temperatures decrease as we begin to fall asleep. Keeping your bedroom temperature in this range will help you drift off faster and provide a more enjoyable visit from Mr. Sandman.
- Go to the mattresses: Unless you've chosen an organic mattress, chances are you're sleeping on a pile of carcinogenic toxins. Formaldehyde, Polyurethane foam, antimony, boric acid, vinylidene chloride, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants), melamine resin, and decabromodiphenyl oxide are among the common toxic chemicals found in that big, comfy upholstered rectangle on which you spend 1/3 of your life.[vii] And unfortunately, even if your mattress is old, it still releases gasses from these toxic chemicals. Look for natural mattresses containing organic or pesticide-free wool, cotton, 100% latex, and zero chemical flame retardants. Wool and silk are naturally flame retardant. If a new mattress isn't in your budget, invest in a polyethylene mattress encasement; polyethylene is safe and non-toxic, and is the only thing that can contain the gasses escaping from a conventional mattress.[viii] Once the mattress is encased in a polyethylene cover, you can place a toxin-free cotton, wool, or down-filled mattress cover over the polyethylene.
[iii] https://www.amazon.com/Uvex-Blocking-Computer-Glasses-SCT-Orange/dp/B000USRG90 andhttps://www.amazon.com/Blue-Light- Blocking-Glasses-Registered/dp/B010B5GUH0