As a holistic psychiatrist practicing in NYC, one of the most common complaints I hear from patients is that they can’t sleep. Some people can’t fall asleep, some can’t stay asleep, others sleep eight-plus hours and still feel tired all day.
I tend to believe in the body’s ability to figure it out and heal...as long as we get out of the way. Our sleep wake cycle is cued by things like light changes, temperature changes, and routine. As you know, modern living comes with artificial light after sunset, consistent indoor temperatures whether the sun is at high noon or long gone behind the horizon, unpredictable schedules, and chronic low-grade stress. You can begin to see how modern living has messed with everybody’s clycles, leaving us all tired but wired at night and dragging ourselves through the day.
The good news is we can get strategic and recreate something that approximates the appropriate cues for sleep. After years of helping patients improve their sleep, I’ve distilled this down to a few basics. Here’s the crash course: