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To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. 
~ Buddha
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The first two newsletters in this series addressed the benefits of sleep and the consequences of sleep deprivation.  If you or someone you know has an insomnia issue, you can incorporate the more specific suggestions in this  newsletter to improve and increase your sleep.
Consistency, regularity and balance are important for sleep. It is helpful to:
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night.   Be sure it’s a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Stick to this routine even on weekends when you may want to stay up late.  If you find you need to change your bedtime, do it in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.
  • Wake up at the same time every day.  It is preferable to awaken naturally without an alarm, but if you need an alarm clock to wake up on time try an earlier bedtime. Maintain your regular wake up time even on weekends.  If you tend to have very irregular waking times, use an alarm clock to help you get regulated.  It is critical that you avoid an erratic sleep/wake cycle.  The body likes consistency & regularity.
  • Make up for lost sleep by taking a nap instead of sleeping late in the morning.  To make up for lost sleep, take an early afternoon nap. Be sure to limit your nap to between 30 minutes & 1 hour. You do not want to sleep so much in the day that you are not tired at bedtime..
Make sure you also get:
  • Adequate exercise in the daytime.  In  research subjects over 60 yrs old with severe sleep problems, supervised weight training 3 times weekly created a significant improvement in sleep quality & mood. There are many similar study outcomes.
  • Avoid after–dinner drowsiness by getting up and doing something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. Snoozing after dinner may take the edge off your sleep urge  or make you wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
  • Create a quiet environment.  Although people react differently to noise, most of us sleep better when the bedroom is quiet.  If you cannot avoid sleep-disturbing noise, try masking it with a fan, recordings of soothing sounds, or white noise.   If masking noise is annoying, buy the earplugs they have at pharmacies.  To be most effective they need to be twisted to be as small as possible, then put in the ear where they will expand to block sound.  The newer earplugs are very effective.
  • Keep your room as dark as possible. Even dim lights like those from a TV, computer screen or digital clock can confuse the body clock and disturb sleep.  Use heavy curtains or shades to help block light from windows. If necessary use an eye mask to cover your eyes. Prolonged light exposure can reduce melatonin levels.  Avoid late night TV because of the light & flickering which is stimulating. Also avoid late night Ipad reading because of the bright light.
  • Keep your room cool. Bedroom temperature also affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room around 65° F or less.  Many people prefer it be even colder.  Be sure to have good ventilation. If the room is too hot or too cold it can interfere with quality sleep.

Manage stress and anxiety before going to bed:

  • Learn to stop worrying about sleep. Instead occupy your mind with pleasurable relaxing thoughts, memories & activities.
  • Read a light, entertaining book or magazine or read positive uplifting or spiritually related prose or poetry. Or keep a journal & write down your thoughts to empty your head before bed.
  • Take a warm but not too hot bath. It can be more soothing & relaxing if you add a cup of Epsom salts. Spend 15-30 minutes luxuriating in the bath.
  • Listen to soft relaxing music
  • Enjoy a light snack only if balanced with protein, fat & carbohydrates. Not sweets
  • Do some easy stretches
  • Wind down with a favorite hobby
  • Use relaxation &/or hypnosis tapes or any kind of positive reprogramming tapes. Stress hormones are stimulating and can make it harder for you sleep, so relaxation is important. Follow this link to learn meditation techniques to counter the effects of stress.
For reprogramming, I like the parliminal CD’s from Learning Strategies. You will need a small portable Cd player with stereo headphones.  The advantage of using something like paraliminals for sleep is that while working on sleep you are also creating deep positive changes within yourself.  You can go to sleep while listening to the CD and remove the headphones later.  These CD’s incorporate powerful reprogramming techniques so you can use this time in bed more creatively and constructively. You can also listen to the tape over & over.
The CD’s are delivered with 3-D stereophonic digital effects with a different message for each ear.  Holosync audio tones which you may hear as a hum, create the electrical brain wave patterns of desirable states such as deep meditation, increased creativity, accelerated learning, focus, and concentration.
Holosync creates new neural pathways between the left & right brain. This balances the brain, enhances mental & emotional health, and helps with unresolved emotional problems. I have tried some of the versions of the CD’s and have found them quite useful, as have my patients.  There are numerous topics to choose from depending upon your needs & interests. Some of these are Perfect Health, Ideal Weight, Abundance, Anxiety Free, Deep Relaxation, New Behavior Generator, Memory Super Charger, and so on.
  • Keep your mind as peaceful as possible and avoid problems.  Let all thoughts, which may come to you, which you do not wish to entertain, be as leaves falling from a tree into a stream to be washed away.  Release & let go. Release. Release.
  • If you awaken in the night & feel activated and as if you may not immediately go back to sleep you can develop techniques, which work to put you back sleep.
Some techniques include:
  • Slow deep breathing , counting as you inhale, then counting as you exhale and trying each time to count further than the time before- thus extending & deepening your breathing.
  • Counting backwards from 500.
  • Mentally repeating over & over a calming mantra or phrase, which soothes you.
  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). You might watch the videos to learn tapping points & statements.  Practice them in the daytime, or at leqast before the middle of the night.   Repetition works best. Here are two starting links, EFT Yourself to Sleep & EFT for Better Sleep. You can  also google search EFT for sleep for more information on this very powerful technique for many life changes.
 Light signals in the daytime are important for night time sleep.
  • If you are a severe insomniac, make sure you have sunlight exposure in the daytime, if possible, twice daily between 9-10 AM & 2-3 PM.  If there is no sun try 5, 000 LUX light therapy between 7-8 AM every day for 15 minutes to 1 hour.  Sit facing the light within 3 feet of it. You might want to use full spectrum lights in most of your home.  Then use low blue lights in the bedroom & bathroom.  These lights cause less melatonin suppression than regular lights. 
While you can’t pay off a sleep debt in a night or even a weekend, with a little effort and planning, you can get back on track.
  • Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you don’t fall farther in debt by blocking off a minimum of 8 hours for sleep each night. 
  • Settle short-term sleep debt with an extra hour or two per night. If you lost 10 hours of sleep, pay the debt back in nightly one or two-hour installments.
  • Keep a sleep diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs. 
Here is the weekly sleep diary provided by
Daytime Activities & Pre-Sleep Ritual (Fill in each night before going to bed)
What did you do?
When? Total time? 
When? Where? How long? 
Alcohol &
Types, amount and when 
Happiness, sadness, stress, anxiety; major cause
Food & Drink
What and when?
Medications or
Sleep Aids Types,
Amount and when
Bedtime Routine
Meditation /
Relaxation? How
Bed time
  • Take a sleep vacation to pay off a long-term sleep debt. Pick a two-week period when you have a flexible schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! If you continue to keep the same bedtime and wake up naturally, you’ll eventually dig your way out of debt and arrive at the sleep schedule that’s ideal for you.
  • Make sleep a priority. Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list.
Believe it or not even the foods you eat at night can affect your sleep.
Look for foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, which converts to serotonin, a brain chemical, needed for sleep.  
Foods high in tryptophan include: Cheese- Swiss, Cheddar, Cottage and Gruyere, Milk or yogurt, Eggs, Chicken, Turkey, Seafood, Tuna, Soy products, Nuts, Seeds & Nut butters, Beans, Lentils, Whole grain breads & Cereals, Crackers, Spinach, Bananas, Grapefruit.
Foods high in melatonin the sleep hormone include: Bananas, Fresh or Dried cherries, Apples, Pineapple, Kiwi Fruit, Strawberries, Tomato, Cabbage, Carrots, Onion, Cucumber, Asparagus, Sweet corn, Rice, Barley, Oatmeal or Oats, Ginger.
However, I do not recommend eating fruits at night. Do not eat heavy meals within 3 hours of going to bed.  Avoid alcohol. A small amount helps to bring on sleep, but it disrupts your sleep cycle later in the night.
Chronic insomnia may be associated with depression.  If your sleep problem is chronic, take the screening test for depression.  If you test depressed, read my Depression newsletter.
In the first sleep newsletter, I mentioned numerous vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies which can cause insomnia.  So if you have difficulty sleeping, begin by supplementing those as suggested in that newsletter.
If that is not sufficient after 1 week, you can add specific sleep aids such as Melatonin, Trytophan, Kavinace, Seditol Plus, Relax-O-Zyme, NightRestGABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), Taurine, Calms Forte  and so on.
Some people may need what I call a “sleep cocktail”.  My personal sleep cocktail is a swig of Liquid calcium/magnesium, 2 Kavinace, 2 Trytophan, 1 Taurine and 1 NightRest. A sleep cocktail is developed by experimenting with different combinations of natural sleep aids to get the blend which works best for you.
Using medications for sleep is a last resort only after all in these 3 sleep newsletters has failed. A new and different prescription sleeping pill is in Phase 2 clinical trials.  The name is Orexon-RA-1 made by a the Swiss company Actelion. It should be marketed by 2012.  The exciting thing about this drug is it has shown no signs of addiction or loss of effect, and IT INCREASES REM SLEEP TIME AND IMPROVES MEMORY CAPACITY, which is in contrast to most other sleep meds. 
Another newer prescription sleep med sounds useful to me.  It has demonstrated effectiveness in sleep maintenance for those who fall asleep but cannot remain there. I like it because there is no abuse potential, or evidence of physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms. This drug is called Silenor. The active ingredient is either 3 or 6 mg of doxepin.  Doxepin acts as an antidepressant at a 10-100 times higher dose than that in Silenor.  The sleep mechanism is thought to be related to it's histamine antagonizing action.  Interesting, because when I have resorted to prescription sleep aids for my patients, low dose doxepin has been one of my preferences.
 If you resort to taking  sleep meds  be sure to avoid addictive medications such as benzodiazeines, barbiturates & the older classes of sleeping pills. They interfere with REM sleep and become less effective and more addictive with use.  They are only for random, not regular use.  See this article in for an overview of sleep medications (though not necessarily something I agree with).  If depression is part of the sleep problem some anti depressants help with sleep.
After tackling the very important subject of sleep in three newsletters, I hope you have found some of the answers needed to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.


PRISCILLA SLAGLE, M.D. or Cathy Jones, Assisitant
Phone: 1 (760) 322-7797
Fax: 760-322-7608

In this Issue:

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cut lengthwise & remove seeds
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season butternut squash with olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. Place cut side down on baking sheet.
  • Roast in oven 40 minutes, or until soft.
  • Set aside and let cool, then skin.
  • Cut into chunks.
  • Grind raw cashews in a food processor or blender until as fine as possible. Add the half cup of water and blend the two into a smooth cashew cream. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil In a large soup pot over medium heat. Add and saute the onions, carrot, celery, and black pepper until vegetables are soft.
  • To the pot add the cubed squash, veggie broth, lentils, and the bay leaf. Stirring occasionally, simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf, stir in the cashew cream, and return to a boil. Turn heat off, and puree soup with a hand held (immersion) blender or in batches in a regular blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Enjoy!
Makes: 8 servings, Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

If you would like to lose a significant amount of weight, or have knee issues, running may not be the best choice for you. By walking, you can burn an equal number of calories, have a knee and joint friendly workout and be able to enjoy the scenery.
Start by walking three to five days a week for at least twenty minutes. Keep walking until you can walk three miles in 45-60 minutes preferably 5 days weekly.  If you can never get to three miles, whatever you can do in 60 minutes will do.

For those of you who suffer with digestive problems, Digest RC helps to promote healthy digestion & normal elimination.
It is a unique blend of herbs, well described and documented to be fast acting, safe and effective.
Benefits include it’s ability to speed up the digestion of fats, promote normal  gall bladder functioning, prevent the stagnation of food in the digestive tract, aid in the reduction of esophageal acid reflux, alleviate the feeling of fullness and bloating after eating, decrease digestive tract tension, decrease the alkalinization of the gastric contents, provide constipation relief and normalize elimination, reduce the digestion-related side effects of some prescription medications, create an inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria, and stimulate the immune system.
Ultimate Lectin Defense
For those with multiple food sensitivities or a gluten intolerance. This product may help reduce reactivities.
Lectins are found in most of the foods people eat and are not eliminated by any type of cooking process.
Being exposed to Lectins for a long period of time has been linked to aging, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, blood disorders, heart conditions, blood sugar imbalance, digestive problems, liver complications, learning disorders, skin disorders and reproductive problems in women.
Ultimate Lectin Defense™ surrounds the lectins and helps to flush them out of the body before they can damage the intestinal lining or digestive system.

In paleolithic times, cavemen (and women) survived on lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit and nuts. These lean, healthy people spent most of their day active, foraging for food and hunting.
Eating to mimic the diet of your hunter-gatherer ancestors allows you to eat the way you are genetically adapted to eat. The benefits can include being naturally lean, having acne-free skin, seeing improved athletic performance, and experiencing relief from numerous metabolic-related and autoimmune diseases.
To get started, try eating one meal a day without processed grains, sugar and dairy. As you get comfortable with these meals, try going to two meals a day and so on. until it becomes a natural part of your life and you see the improvement.

Priscilla Slagle, M.D. is in the private practice of Nutritional and Functional Medicine & Psychiatry in Palm Springs, California.
Dr. Slagle has incorporated vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, natural hormones & other natural substances into her practice since 1975. She is one of the pioneers in the Alternative Medicine Field.
Her book The Way Up From Down presents her natural "precursor" methods for lifting low moods & relieving the negative effects of stress.