A Doctor’s Evening Routine for Restorative Sleep

May 8th, 2015


As a functional medicine physician running my own clinic, seeing patients, and writing books and blogs, my days are long and I’m on the go nonstop. My evenings are my time to relax, unwind, and take care of my own health, so I can stay energized and focused enough to help others!

My evening routine is all about preparing my body for quality, restorative sleep. Sleep determines hormones, energy levels, and how well you recover from illness. My body uses the hours I spend asleep to repair itself and help get rid of the unwanted toxins I encounter throughout the day. Sleep—deep, healing sleep—is essential to reducing inflammation and keeping the immune system healthy. I write all about this in both The Autoimmune Solution, and The Thyroid Connection.

In order for your sleep to do you any good, you need to be able to relieve your stress. You also want to make sure that you aren’t using chemical-laden body products at night that will interfere with your body’s ability to detoxify. Just as I did in my morning routine, I’m sharing the products I use each evening and providing links in this article because I believe in the products, and I want you to be able to find them easily. I’m always trying new products and adding them to my online store—if you’re looking for something specific, try searching there if I don’t mention it in this article. Or, ask me in the comments below!

 

My Evening Routine:

1. After work, I clear my head by taking a 2-mile walk with Mocha, or I hit the gym for kettle bells, jump rope, and weights.

2. Then, I sit down to a delicious The Myers Way® approved meal, with a few squares of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Check out my books for 4-week meal plans and recipes!

3. As soon as the sun starts to set, I put on my pair of amber glasses. Too much electric lighting from your lightbulbs, TVs, and computer and smartphone screens, can trick your body into thinking it’s day time and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. That’s because they emit primarily blue light, which inhibits your production of melatonin. Amber glasses block out the blue light that inhibits your production of melatonin, allowing your body to naturally feel tired and sleepy as the evening progresses. The fact that I wear these glasses all evening drives my husband, Xavier, a little crazy—but this step in my routine has made a huge difference in the quality of my sleep.

In addition to wearing my amber glasses, once the sun begins to set I use amber light bulbs, which emit amber light instead of blue light. I also use the f.lux app on my smartphone and laptop, which automatically switches the screen to an an amber hue at night. And most smartphones now have a “night mode” feature that does the same thing.

4. Next, I sit down with hot cup of herbal tea. Organic India and Pukka are my favorites.

5. Some nights, I unwind with a soothing session in my Sunlighten Sauna, followed by a hot shower. Because toxins in water can be absorbed through skin, I use an Aquasana shower head to filter them out.

Other nights, I take a hot bath with homemade bath salts, or a bubble bath with Babo Botanicals Lavendar Bubble bath. We don’t have a whole house water filter system, so I simply pull the Aquasana shower head into the tub and fill it up that way.

In the shower, I wash with Dr. Bronner’s or EO Lavender, and I use an exfoliating mitt. I generally wash my hair at night so I can sleep a few extra minutes in the morning. Right now I’m loving VERB shampoo and conditioner. I also like Nine Naturals.

Now I’ll admit, of all of the natural products, finding a really good clean shampoo and conditioner for me has been difficult. I have thick but very fine hair and I wash it every 2-3 days. So if you love a particular brand, let me know in the comments below!

6. After my bath or shower, I moisturize with Keys Luminos Hydrating Moisturizer or Milk + Honey’s Body Cream.

I used to use coconut oil or CitriSafe glutathione in coconut oil, but Mocha LOVES the taste of coconut oil. She follows me around the house and won’t stop licking my arms and legs, so I had to stop!

7. I then refill my tea with hot water so I can relax a bit longer and spend time connecting with my husband, Xavier.

8. I wash my face with Keys Foaming Island Rx or Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid soap. I apply Keys Eye Butter under my eyes.

9. Finally, I brush my teeth with homemade toxin-free toothpaste using my Sonicare toothbrush. (You can find videos and recipes all of my favorite toxin-free home and body recipes here).  After I brush my teeth, I always use my WaterPik. It helps me get in between my teeth and really get them clean.

A WaterPik is a little device that shoots a stream of water at your teeth, allowing you to clean in between them without dental floss or a toothpick—that makes it especially great for people with braces or permanent retainers. I’ve found it much easier to stick to a WaterPik regimen than one involving dental floss. Flossing can be uncomfortable–especially if you have sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding–but WaterPiks are very gentle. The stream of water flushes bacteria out of the pockets between your gums and teeth, which dental floss can’t reach. Overall, it has become an indispensible part of my morning and evening routine.

 

Then it’s lights out, as I drift into a restorative, detoxifying night of sleep! As I mentioned before, your body does much of its detoxification while you’re asleep. It’s time your body uses to repair damaged tissue and get rid of the toxins and junk you’ve been exposed to throughout the day. For this reason, I keep a HEPA filter in my bedroom and sleep on an organic mattress so that I’m not breathing in or absorbing toxins while I sleep, adding to my body’s toxic burden.

Sometimes, I break from my relaxing routine–and sometimes, even after adhering to my routine, my mind is racing with trying to figure out how I can help more people take back their health. If I know I’m going to have a bit of trouble sleeping, I will take a Melatonin supplement, the one I carry in my store is a sustained release formula that comes in two waves, one to help you fall asleep and a second to help you stay asleep. This supplement gradually and naturally helps me relax and fall right to sleep.

 

Reverse Chronic Illnesses So You Can Take Back Your Health!

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  • Sam Madnick

    My hair has never been softer using Ava Anderson Non Toxic shampoo and conditioner. I only need to wash my hair every 2-3 days as well. I love the fresh, clean smell too. It is aloe Vera based so a small amount goes a long way too.

  • AMKaloha

    Thanks for the great article. I love your evening ritual. I too have fine hair and love Mastey products. I use there Enove Shampoo and Amplifuse mouse. Check them out at http://www.mastey.net/scienceBrowse.php?cp=9. The company is from Paris but Amazon sells their products.

  • selma al-abbas

    What are your thoughts about medical cannabis for sleep in a tincture, butter,or tea form? Ann Boroch has section her book recommending tea for sleep issues.

  • Yvonne M. Kwapis

    All of this sounds great Dr. Amy except for the care of your contact lenses…..soaking contact lenses in saline does not kill bacteria etc. off the lenses. Try Clear Care hydrogen peroxide system by Alcon. It is important to protect yourself from bacterial corneal ulcers. in good kindness as an optometrist….thanks.

    • thanks! I throw them out every week. That is the advice I got from my ophthalmologist

      • Yvonne M. Kwapis

        Glad to know you throw them out every week but am surprised this ophthalmologist did not recommend some type of disinfectant system regarding contact lens care . Storing contact lenses in saline to use daily wear for one week is not the standard of care. My recommendation would be for overnight storing in a multipurpose solution like Opti-Free, or ask to be refit into one day disposables. Contact lens care is crucial in my practice for success with all different types of lenses. http://www.icarevision.net

        • I am allergic to all the preservatives – thanks!

          • Yvonne M. Kwapis

            Sorry to learn of your allergies. You did not mention that in your first reply so then a hydrogen peroxide system is for your. Try either ClearCare by Alcon or Peroxiclear by Bausch &Lomb. Good Luck!

  • Cathy

    Thank Amy Meyers, you wrote a very helpful article!
    I’ve been working on detoxing, I tried the no-poo shampoo & it ruined my hair! I’ve tried many different products with no help, I’m going to try the ones you suggested.
    I also struggle with sleep, mainly from my husband snoring! Although I can’t take baths, due to weakness in my legs (I can’t lift my leg to get into the tub). I’m going to start using lavender soap in my evening shower.
    I tell all my friends to read your book! Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions!

  • Kelsey Kovach

    I love products from The Body Deli! All of the products are handmade in the a Coachella Valley and are made from fresh whole foods. They have a great Living Hair Raw Superfood System as well as amazing bath, body and face products!

    Here is more information:

    The Body Deli

    http://www.thebodydeli.com

    The Body Deli Living Hair System
    http://www.thebodydeli.com/collections/living-hair/products/living-hair-sprouted-greens-shampoo

  • clintonchoate

    The Morrocco Method Shampoos are wonderful, all natural products. I switched from Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo and immediately my hair became more manageable and with deeper color and luster. https://www.morroccomethod.com/raw-store/shampoos

  • fooddr

    Dr. Meyers,

    Check out Neuma haircare.

  • Pat Moon

    Great tips for sleeping well. I also have f.lux installed on my computer which is really wonderful. I have used GNLD’s Nutriance Rich Revitalizing Shampoo and Enriching Conditioner for almost 30 years. I am now totally gray as I do not relieve in putting chemical colors on my head. http://bestrealhealth.gnld.net/store/Product.aspx?NAV_CATEGORY_ID=3230&CATEGORY_ID=1138&PRODUCT_ID=10086&ATTR=allInfo I also take GNLD’s NeoLife Herbal Rest & Relax with my evening meal and another tablet at bedtime. http://bestrealhealth.gnld.net/store/Product.aspx?NAV_CATEGORY_ID=3230&CATEGORY_ID=1137&PRODUCT_ID=10063&ATTR=allInfo

  • Saskia McNally
  • Anna Zell

    My favorite shampoo is a bar shampoo. I get it from Organic Creations online here http://www.organic-creations.com/53-rebatch-soaps It works for hair and body and is very affordable.

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