Clocking Your Health…What Your Internal Clock Says About You Part – Your Health Detective

Disorders from Lack of Sleep…

It’s important to keep in mind that without quality sleep, wellness cannot beachieved. Not only does good sleep affect our immune responses but also can

cascade a series of disorders.  The following are the most profound disorders/imbalances caused directly from lack of restorative sleep:

  • Heart Disease
  • Pre-diabetic syndromes – accelerates appetite even when you’ve just eaten, leading tooverweight and the consumption of “comfort” food with more sugar and simple

    carbs; conditions that lead to type 2 diabetes;

  • Pre-mature aging – growthhormones, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep, arestunted; 
  • Susceptibility to stomach ulcers – stress is accelerated by lack of restorative sleep; 
  • Intestinal disorders – constipation is accelerated when the body is fatigued and stressedfrom lack of sleep – causing an already compromised immunity to further be

    depleted by the toxic burden of accumulated matter not expelled daily;

  • Brain health – halts new cell production and can increase levels of corticosterone (CORT), a stress hormone resulting in fewer new brain cell creation in your hippocampus
  • Heart Disease
  • Pre-diabetic syndromes – accelerates appetite even when you’ve just eaten, leading to
    overweight and the consumption of “comfort” food with more sugar and simple carbs; conditions that lead to type 2 diabetes;
  • Pre-mature aging – growth hormones, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep, are stunted;
  • Susceptibility to stomach ulcers – stress is accelerated by lack of restorative sleep;
  • Intestinal disorders – constipation is accelerated when the body is fatigued and stressedfrom lack of sleep – causing an already compromised immunity to further be

    depleted by the toxic burden of accumulated matter not expelled daily;

  • Brain health – halts new cell production and can increase levels of corticosterone (CORT), a stress hormone resulting in fewer new brain cell creation in your hippocampus

Lack of Sleep Worsens Stress-Related Immune Depression

One of the first studies to provide direct evidence linking sleep with the humanstress-immune relationship dates back to 1998. Stress, interfering with immune

system functions, has also showed slow wound healing.  

In the same 1998 study, the researchers discovered that people who were morelikely to awaken during the first sleep cycle also tended to have lower levelsof natural killer cells (NKC). Overall, the age of the patient was the greatestdeterminant of NKC level, but sleep disturbances were responsible for about 12

percent of the variance in NKC level.

Living in Sync with Your Natural Body Clock 

Sleeping well is one of the cornerstones of optimal health, and if you ignore your poorsleeping habits, you will, in time, pay a very high price. In general, you willfeel best and maintain optimal health when your lifestyle is in line with yourcircadian rhythm. It’s wise to establish healthful routines of eating,

exercising and sleeping, and to stick to them every day, including weekends.

Unfortunately,sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might noteven realize you suffer from it. Your circadian rhythm has evolved over manyyears to align your physiology with your environment. However, it operatesunder the assumption that you are behaving as your ancestors did. Historically,humans slept at night and stayed awake during the day. If you stay up late atnight, depriving yourself of sleep, you send conflicting signals to your body.As a result, your body gets confused and doesn’t know whether it should beproducing chemicals to help you sleep, or gear up for the beginning of a new


Melatonin is another chemical closely tied to your circadian rhythm; a pineal hormone and
a very potent antioxidant, created in your brain during sleep.

Among its many functions, melatonin slows the production of estrogen and is wellknown to suppress tumor development, which is why insomnia may increase your

risk of cancer. Melatonin also helps suppress harmful free radicals.

Melatonin production can be severely disrupted simply by exposing yourself to brightlight late at night. Just switching a bedside lamp on and off in an otherwisepitch-black room produces an almost immediate drop in melatonin levels. This iswhy it’s so important to turn off the lights as the evening wears on, and avoid

watching TV and working on the computer late at night.

Why Melatonin Works

Light and dark are processed and they relayed to the cells throughout the body by thepineal gland, an organ. The eyes deliver information to the pineal glandthrough different routes that include the retinohypothalamic tract and thesuprachiasmatic nuclei. Norepinephrine released from postganglionic nerveendings to the pineal gland helps control the release of melatonin. Thisrelease of norepinephrine to the pinealocytes occurs at night, which is when

melatonin secretion and levels throughout the body begin to rise.

How Sleep Influences Your Physical Health

Without good restorative sleep, optimal health may remain elusive, even if you eat well andexercise (although those factors will tend to improve your ability to sleepbetter). Aside from directly impacting your immune function, anotherexplanation for why poor sleep can have such varied detrimental effects on yourhealth is that your circadian system “drives” the rhythms ofbiological activity at the cellular level; hence, disruptions tend to cascade

outward throughout your entire body.

Re-setting Your Circadian Rhythm  

The following are the basic guidelines I provide my clients when faced with abaffling set of sleep disorders. Keep in mind that because of individuality,it’s always best to consult a nutritionally-aware health professional if your

attempts do not produce results.

  • Avoid using electronics at least twohours before bedtime (computer, iPad, iPhone, etc.). These electronic devices, particularly the T.V. and computer, have screens that emit blue light – almost the same as sunlight exposure. When exposed too close to bedtime, your brainshuts down the melatonin production believing it’s still daytime. With a healthy circadian rhythm, the brain begins secreting melatonin between 9 and 10 pm. When excessive light is introduced after sunset, you disrupt this natural

    cycle which then manifests as insomnia or un-restorative sleep patterns.

  • Darkness is your friend because a room with light disrupts your internal clock. Thepineal gland produces the melatonin and serotonin that is so vital forbiological balance; even a tiny glow from a clock or electronic gadget caninterfere with sleep. The best remedy is to simply turn face of clock around or

    cover it.

To ensure the best possible sleep and healthy hormone production, the following is recommended:

ü  Close bedroom door if external light or noise can easily be heard.

ü  Avoid loud alarm clocks; instead get one that has a mellow sound or soft music. Waking
suddenly by jolting the body with loud noise is very stressful to the body.

ü  Eliminate night lights in the bedroom and any light visible from the bedroom, if it
cannot be closed off.

ü  When possible use blackout shades, drapes or an eye mask when bedroom is not
completely dark.

  • Keep bedroom temperature cool. Studies show the optimal sleeping room temperature is between 59-64 degrees. When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to itslowest level, usually about four hours after falling asleep. Scientists reporta cooler room (ambient air temperature) contributes to a better sleep becauseit mimics your body’s natural temperature drop. If you’re cold, use warmer

    nightwear, a lightweight organic down comforter or bedding but don’t raise the overall room temperature.

  • Eliminate all electronic devices because the electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s) disrupt the pinealgland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, the same as light does. Ifyou want to prove to yourself how much exposure is emitted from these devices,buy a Gauss Meter. They are available online and range from $49 to $250. Forthose that are already victims of an immune system disorder or reactive toEMF’s it is recommended to shut down all power to the bedroom by pulling thatcircuit breaker before going to bed. Remember that EMF’s are emitted especiallyby chargers (cell & cordless phones, iPads, etc.) and, therefore, should be

    kept as far from the bedrooms as possible, preferably at over 15-20 feet.

  • You bed is for sleeping; not for watching T.V., reading, using an iPad, iPhone or listeningto music. This room should always be your sanctuary for rest and rejuvenation

    and free from anything that stimulates the brain; even bright colors.

  • Avoid sharing your bed with pets, restless sleepers and those who snore. Recentstudies show that many sleep disorders are actually from sharing a bed withsomeone that constantly interferes with your sleep. In these cases, you mightbe forced to sleep in a separate bed or even bedroom in order to get goodquality and restorative sleep. I do know of individuals who sleep with theirpets because it’s calming, if that’s the case and you don’t have allergies tothem, enjoy but it is not healthy to sleep with your pets as much as you love


What encourages healthy sleep?

  • Avoid consuming liquids 2 hours before going to bed; this willeliminate or minimize trips to the bathroom that disrupts sleep. Be sure to

    void your bladder just before going to bed.

  • Maintain continuity in times you go to bed and awaken – even onweekends and holidays. Sleeping in, even occasionally, will disrupt yournatural circadian rhythm. Your body recharges between 11 p.m. and 2: a.m. andis also the time your gallbladder “dumps” toxins. If you’re awake, those toxinsmay back-up into your liver – your chemical processing plant. We should takelessons from history when our ancestors went to bed shortly after sundown, as

    most animals do, and Mother Nature intended for us as well.

  • Create a bedtime routine that includes medications/supplements,deep breathing, personal care, etc. Do whatever you need to maintain a patternthat becomes automatic so it’s stress free, even laying out your wardrobe or

    packing your brief case for the next day so you don’t have to think about it.

  • Consume a high protein snack a couple of hours before bedtime;this helps provide L-tryptophan needed for production of melatonin andserotonin – a neurotransmitter that controls our “feelings” such as depression,hunger, thirst, sleep and other “moods.” Turkey is my preferred snack because

    it’s high in natural L-tryptophan;  the following foods also contain good levels

Baked potatoes with their skin





Cottage Cheese



Gruyere (a type of Swiss cheese)


Heated milk




Meat (including red meats)





Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds


Soy Milk

Soybean Nuts

Sunflower Seeds

Swiss cheese





  • Eat a small piece of fruit because it helps transport tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier.
  • Avoid grains and sugars before bed; they raise blood sugar and delay sleep. The sugar causes
    an unhealthy rise in blood sugar and when it “dumps” it can cause you to wake up and then unable to fall back asleep.
  • Create a Zen space for relaxation before bed; a hot bath with organic sea salts and/or anessential oil that is calming like lavender, hot shower, or even a steam bath.Your body temperature is naturally raised in the late evening and it will fall

    at bedtime helping to induce sleep – signaling the body it’s time for bed.

  • If you’re one of those who’s feet are always cold, consider placing a hot water bottle ormicrowaveable pack at the foot of your bed. If your feet are cold you will have

    trouble getting and staying asleep. I like an electric bed-warmer pad; I heat the bed about one-hour before bedtime and then unplug it before getting in to avoid EMFs.

  • Do not do any work at least two hours before bedtime so your brain can “unwind.”
  • If you’re assensitive to caffeine as most of my clients, avoid anything that contains itafter 2 p.m. Studies show caffeine is not efficiently metabolized in somepeople and they may feel its stimulating effects long after consumption. Also,keep in mind that some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter,

    contain caffeine, know what you’re consuming!

  • Don’t exercise atleast two hours before bedtime as it will stimulate your body and mind rather
    than relaxing it; studies show exercise in the morning is best.
  • Studies show that sleep apnea can be caused by excess weight. If you need to lose those extra
    pounds, maybe knowing if can affect your sleep will provide that added incentive.
  • Avoid alcohol;the short-lived calming effect will have the reverse effect hours later becauseit prevents you from entering those deeper stages of sleep so necessary for

    repairing and rejuvenation.

Natural Sleep Remedies

Remedy # 1
Take your calcium and magnesium supplements in the evening; they are both sleep boosters when taken together. Take as much magnesium as tolerated to bowel tolerance (until it creates loose stools), then back down to the tolerated

Remedy # 2
One of the best natural remedies for restlessness (including restless leg syndrome), calming anxiety, joint and muscle pain, and headaches is Wild Lettuce. The recommended dose is between 50 to 120 mg at bedtime.

Remedy # 3
The extract of hops is a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia when taken approximately 30 minutes before bedtime. The recommended dose is between 30 to 120 mg.

Remedy # 4
Pure essential therapeutic oil, as in the blend I use and recommend most often – containing 21 essentials oils: A proprietary blend of Lavender, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Angelica, Helichrysum, Patchouli, Ravensara, Niaouli, Iris, Pink Lotus, Sweet Marjoram, Black Spruce, Palmarosa, Cinnamon Bark, Spikenard, Black Pepper, Dill, Vetiver, Litsea Cubeba, Rosemary Verbenon and Lime – a synergistic complex known to alleviate anxiety, depression, insomnia, grief and many forms of emotional distress. A simple ONE drop on your wrist gently rubbed in at bedtime will calm the mind and body without the side effects of medications.

Remedy # 5
The hormone that controls sleep is melatonin; more is NOT best. Studies show lower doses are actually more effective. I recommend 0.1 to 0.3 mg before bed and most benefits are derived from a sublingual liquid blend called Liposomal Melatonin Drops. Click here to purchased directly from the manufacturer’s Patient Direct Store. You MUST use the cutomer code to purchase: WSBR

Remedy # 6 –L-theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea, not only helps maintain calm alertness during the day, it also induces a deep sleep at night. Green tea alone does not contain enough of this amino acid to give you the boost and the roost. The one I find is most effective is a brand called Suntheanine because it’s pure L-theanine and not ineffective inactive forms as in other brands.

Recommended dose is 50 to 200 mg at bedtime. This is readily available in health stores.

Remedy # 7
The herb Valerian is highly researched for its benefits in improving sleep, speed of falling asleep and overall quality of sleep. It is most effective used over a long period of time. Recommended dose is 200 to 800 mg before bedtime. Readily available in health stores.

Remedy # 8
A nutraceutical blend that contains many of the ingredients listed above, all in one capsule, is called Sleep Factors. It is available at the Patient-Direct Store from the manufacturer, click here to purchase. You MUST use the password:  WSBR

Sleep Factors contains over 15 ingredients including valerian, GABA, 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan, melatonin, and L-theanine.

NOTE: There are many medications that actually deplete melatonin in your body. If you are
pregnant, nursing or taking medications, be sure to consult with a nutritionally-aware health professional.

Medications known to deplete Melatonin include:

ü  Antidepressants

ü  Benzodiazepines

ü  Beta-Blockers

If you travel extensively through various time-zones like I do, I recommend taking a low dosetime-released Melatonin when boarding your flight; it helps avoid jet-lag and allows you to sleep in transit – arriving at your destination rested and alert.

I use the sublingual because I find it works best because of its ability to be immediately absorbed.

The Way I See It…

Sleep is as important as water, food, clean air and shelter. Sleep deprivation accelerates the aging processes including brain functions (forgetfulness, easily distracted, brain-fog, lack of focus, depression, anxiety, etc.). New cells cannot be created if you do not have adequate sleep.

I don’t know about you, but my life’s goal is to age without looking or feeling old – sleep plays a huge part in fulfilling this goal. Skin discoloration, bags under the eyes and wrinkles can all be attributed to lack of quality sleep.

Begin your wellness plan by first working on getting your Zzzzzzzz’s, Naturally.

Your Partner in Health,

Dr. Gloria

Resources upon request.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

Our gallery
Scroll to Top