Good Night

Did you sleep well last night? Yeah, me either.

In the last couple of years, my sleep has greatly improved though thanks to my wife doing some research and we both being aware of the causes of poor sleep. That doesn’t mean we always make the right choices and later (like last night) pay for those choices with a poor night’s sleep.

Yesterday I didn’t spend any time outside. I ate a big meal late and then was on my phone and computer writing this blog post up until bedtime. I made at least 3 mistakes that led to the restless “pillow fighting” night of rest that ultimately ended in the recliner from 3 AM to 6 AM.

So What?

Our society often talks about how much they value sleep but at the same time laughs about it as if it’s a badge of honor to fumble through the day exhausted and bedraggled. “Look at me working so hard and not sleeping. Aren’t I an amazing human?”

The “so what” is in the data. Let’s glance at just a few meaningful statistics that may sway your thinking on the value of giving yourself the gift of good sleep. Some of these may seem obscure but think about what effect they could have long-term.

  • Decision-making in “high-stakes, real-world situations” is impaired when someone is experiencing sleep loss.1
  • The yearly workplace cost in the US due to insomnia is an estimated $63.2 billion.2
  • One in four women suffers from insomnia.3 This makes them twice as likely as men to have insomnia.4
  • 51% of patients with DSWPD (Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder) have had a lifetime history of depression.
  • 24% to 36% of insomnia sufferers have an anxiety disorder, while 27% to 42% of those with hypersomnia have anxiety disorders.5

These data points only wrinkle the sheets on the king-size bed of sleep-related causes and effects.

Sleep Your Way to a Longevity

There’s a fairly known quotable quote that says, “To make your dreams come true, wake up!” If you have the dream of better health, then ignore this advice.

“Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson contains a forward by Dr. Sara Gottfried which lists some of the major benefits of better sleep. I think we would all like to choose at least 5 of these sleep benefits for vitality and longevity.

  • Better skin health and a more healthful appearance
  • Emotional regeneration and better relationships
  • Decreased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease
  • Fewer accidents
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Enhanced immune function
  • Hormonal balance
  • A faster rate of weight loss
  • Decreased pain
  • Stronger bones
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline; better memory
  • Longevity

Comment below and let us know which ones you might improve by more highly valuing a good night’s sleep.

Rest in Peace

I would say on average I get 7 hours of sleep. Although I do not wear a sleep-tracking device to prove this (EMF exposure and electrosensitivity), I don’t need to. I regularly wake up refreshed, in a good mood, and with few aches and pains at age 53.

This is not medical advice and is to be read as opinion only nor is it the opinion of The Benefit Company but here are my personal learnings and applications for a good night.

  • Try and see the sunrise, go outside midday, and watch the sunset. This tunes your body’s circadian rhythm. Think biological clock.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 2 PM
  • Hot shower or bath before bed. This raises your body temperature and then sends it into rapid cooling post-shower. Decreased body temperature is the goal.
  • Limit blue light exposure after sunset. The obvious blue light sources are screens. Other sources lesser known are LED light bulbs, modern street lights, and lighting in buildings such as stores and office buildings.
  • Wear blue-blocking glasses. If you wear eyeglasses, get lenses with a blue light-blocking coating. You can also buy glasses specifically made to block blue light if you don’t normally wear glasses.
  • Turn off the Wifi router, phone Wifi, and Bluetooth devices. Read about electrosensitivity in the link above.
  • Eat dinner 3 hours before bedtime. Eating dinner closer to bedtime keeps your body working trying to digest food.
  • Exercise. Simply walking 20-30 minutes a day (outside preferably)
  • Keep your bedroom cool. We lower our thermostat to 64 in the winter at night.
  • Absolute darkness is the goal for the bedroom. Don’t just eliminate window light. Shut down everything emitting light even if it’s just the power button on a device.

If I were asked for the top change in lifestyle that has made a difference in my sleep I would recommend sun exposure to get your biological clock in a predictable pattern. Like everything else that is habit-based, you’re going to have to be strict with yourself until you get your own rhythm and begin to see results. Stick with it!

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of silence

-Paul Simon


  1. Oxford University Press. https://academic.oup.com/journals
  2. Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Coulouvrat C, Hajak G, Roth T, Shahly V, Shillington AC, Stephenson JJ, Walsh JK. Insomnia and the performance of US workers: results from the America insomnia survey. Sleep. 2011 Sep 1;34(9):1161-71. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1230. Erratum in: Sleep. 2011;34(11):1608. Erratum in: Sleep. 2012 Jun;35(6):725.
  3. Kessler, R.C., Berglund, P.A., Coulouvrat, C., Hajak, G., Roth, T., Shahly, V., et al. (2011). “Insomnia and the performance of US workers: results from the America insomnia survey. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21886353 34(9): 1161-1171.
  4. Deirdre Conroy, PH.D. (June 13, 2016). https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/3-reasons-women-are-more-likely-to-have-insomnia
  5. Staner L. Sleep and anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2003;5(3):249-258. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2003.5.3/lstaner.


Johnny Dodson

Johnny Dodson

Director of Communications

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