Welcome to Season 3 of the Body Wisdom Podcast with Dr. Michele.
This season the podcast will be focusing on healthy habits. As your host, I’ll be recording solo episodes which will answer some of the most common questions I’m asked as a physician such as “how do I build a new habit?” “which habits are essential to get healthy again?” “what can I do to lose weight?” “how can I look and feel younger again?” “how can I start exercising again if I haven’t done it in years?” and more. I will also be coaching patients and clients live on-air, and conducting interviews with other health & wellness experts. Of course, I am always open to new topic ideas, so if there is a topic you would like me to address or if there is a question you would like answered, please reach out. Email me directly at email@example.com.
Today Dr. Michele answers the question “Why Should We Go To Bed Early?”
I hope you enjoy the show!
About Dr. Michele:
As a physician & surgeon, certified Ayurvedic and Autoimmune health coach, yoga/anatomy teacher, and overall health & wellness expert, Dr. Michele Summers Colon is an Advocate for Women’s Health. Her passion is helping women help themselves to heal their body. She is the author of Body Wisdom: 10 Weeks to Transformation, the creator and host of the Body Wisdom with Dr. Michele Podcast, and the leader of the Body Wisdom Membership Program.
She has been interviewed and quoted in many prominent publications including USA Today, US News & World Reports, Health Magazine, Yahoo! Makers, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. One of Dr. Michele’s greatest strengths is her ability to help women create balanced, healthy lives by looking at the whole picture. She combines the best of Eastern and Western medicine to create individualized health & wellness plans for her patients and clients. For over 24 years, Dr. Michele has dedicated herself to maintaining a private medical practice and providing exceptional care to her patients while at the same time studying holisitic and integrative medicine. Dr. Michele believes that food is medicine and that yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation are the keys to perfect health.
Dr. Michele has a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology from UCBerkeley, a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and a Doctorate degree in Podiatry from Barry University, and graduated from a Foot & Ankle Surgical Residency in Los Angeles. Dr. Michele is also certified in Ayurvedic as well as Autoimmune Health Coaching, Yoga, Reiki, Reflexology, and Laser Therapy. Dr. Michele specializes in Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Therapeutic Yoga to provide the most healing, relaxation, and rejuvenation to her patients and clients. Dr. Michele has studied Ayurvedic Medicine extensively and has worked with some of the best practitioners throughout the United States to bring Ayurveda to the forefront of medicine.
Combining yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation is one of Dr. Michele’s passions so that she can spread the word to as many people as possible that this is the path to perfect health.
This season we are going to be talking about Healthy Habits so that we can feel younger and healthier.
Why is it important for us to go to bed early? What is ‘early’? And how much sleep do we really need? We’re going to talk about that today.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, there is a ‘natural’ time to have an evening meal, which is just before the sun goes down. If we eat early enough and it’s not stressful, then there is a natural relaxation and feeling of ease in the early evening because dinner isn’t overwhelming. Dinner should be simple, from a physiological perspective and from a practical perspective. It is starting the cycle of winding down for the night.
This is Kapha time. It is the heavier time of day. The early evening cycle has the heavier qualities of earth and water, like fluid, gooey, mud-like, and cloudy, but also stable. It is more stable than the energies that precede it. Kapha is so much about ease and taking it easy. If we are not revved up, we will start to wind down and take it easy after dinner.
When you have a late dessert and have sugar to stay up later, this is what breaks down your immune system. Kapha is in charge of congealing the immune system and creating integrity through connectivity of the immune system when it is allowed to be refined through the application of consciousness. It builds ojas. It gives rise to immune integrity. There are so many immune issues out there like allergies. If we rev it up at night, we are blowing up our immune system. We either pay for it now, or we pay for it years later. We know that there are massive issues.
It’s so crucial to wind down before bed. If you don’t, you are crashing your immune system, you are creating inflammation, you are not able to tap into the causal energy of deep sleep. When you go to bed too late, you reach that causal state of sleep in the morning so you wake up groggy. If people say they’re night owls, that is just a diseased state, or a habitual state. Don’t confuse the habitual with the natural.
We know that sleep deprivation destroys your health. 1/3 of adults in the USA get less than six hours of sleep, usually from 12-6am. This is associated with low grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. It impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to have a healthy immune system, and to moderate our emotions. It is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.
Ayurveda says the same thing. You are just destroying yourself. Our culture has this pattern. Chances are you have this pattern. People are watching TV, on their computers or kindles or smart phones at night. The blue light emitted by our electronics disrupts sleep. It disrupts the natural cycle of Kapha accumulating, which should be building our ojas. If we can go from seven nights a week to four nights of staying up late, that’s great. Or from four nights down to two, that’s great. It probably won’t destroy your adrenals.
Kapha time from 6-10pm. It’s the sensual time of day. The way we get ready for bed should be sensual and delicious. Kapha is all about physical sensuality and body sensuality. Like taking a bath and using essential oils or doing a meditation practice that lets you let go into universal support that is always there to catch you and hold you. That is the power source. It’s the power source for your life, and most people are not tapped into it.
How many people do you know that are suffering from weight gain, immune issues, allergies, or diabetes? Some of us are suffering from these right now. When we really start to recover the yumminess and sensuality of this time, it becomes so easy. Life is so much more full and complete.
Sleep that you get before midnight is worth double, double for your immune system, double for your power center. What is it costing me to not be well rested? Start to get real with it. This is where the identity shift starts to happen. The Kapha time of day is not going to go away. Get real with what it’s costing you. Sync into that. This will give you the push to change. It’s ok if this is where you are. We have all been there.
If we use sleep to process the mind, it’s inefficient. Meditation is meant to process the mind. Sleep is meant to rejuvenate, to repair, to go into the causal or dream realm. Using our sleep to process the mind is taking another hit to our immune system. Pay attention to what your soul wants to do in your evening routine. Make it the most important thing in your life this week.
The reason these first two habits are together is because if you eat late, you are starting your next day from a place of being behind. We are resetting our body pattern and resetting our habit pattern.
Eating an earlier lighter dinner gives us a shot for more space in our evening, sleeping better, waking up more rested, more consciousness in our day, and everything else will be easier. It is not random at all. We need this in place so we can build on the path of least resistance. You’ll have a more conscious evening practice before bed. There’s a lot of room for improvement here.
Suggestion for those of you who are not going to bed early now: go to bed 15 minutes earlier each week. In one month, you’ll be going to bed an hour earlier. In two months, you’ll be going to bed 2 hours earlier.
Let’s start tuning in to our body’s signs of fatigue. For me, I feel it in my legs, they start cramping up when I’m exhausted. Some people get a headache. Some people get cranky. What is it for you? Start noticing and really paying attention to your body’s cues and signals. If I’m not noticing my own signs of fatigue, there are consequences. Say to yourself, “I’m going to start to listen.” I’m going to stop borrowing tomorrow’s energy for my needs today. The first things I need to learn are: what and how does my body communicate signs of fatigue at the end of the day?
Instead of watching TV before bed, read before bed.
In summary, start your evening routine with a early light dinner. Then start winding down for the night by doing relaxing things like family conversations and short walks. Turn off electronics an hour before bed.
For podcast listeners, I have an awesome Early To Bed Tip Sheet to help you create and maintain your new bedtime rituals.
If there is a topic you would like me to address or if there is a question you would like answered, please reach out. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a coaching call with me so we can dive deeper to find out what is going on and come up with a plan of action for you: drmichele.com/schedule
Today’s show was brought to you by the Body Wisdom Membership Program. For more information, head on over to my website drmichele.com and click on the JOIN NOW or WORK WITH ME tab. All of the information is there about my group programs as well as 1:1 coaching.
If you have questions about your health that you would like me to answer on air, you can email them to me or go to my website drmichele.com/get in touch to contact my team.
If you have questions you’d like to discuss with me directly, sign up for a coaching call at drmichele.com/schedule.
Contact Information and Important Links for Dr. Michele:
If you have questions about the Body Wisdom Membership Program or about how you can make lifestyles changes to improve your health, check out the Dr. Michele website or sign up for a coaching call with Dr. Michele here: drmichele.com/schedule