017: How To Improve Your Sleep

Episode 017: When looking at creating health, the importance of sleep is one aspect that people often neglect. You can have a fantastic diet, exercise regularly and manage your stress well, but if you are not sleeping properly it will start to take its toll on your body.

This week’s episode of Real Health Radio is all about how to improve your sleep. I go through lots of suggestions on how you can getting better quality sleep, as well as talking about why different issues can come up and how to remedy them. I also talk about sunlight and how daytime activities affect your sleep.

How To Improve Your Sleep



Here’s what I talk about in this podcast episode:

2:00 Why sunlight is important for health (and sleep)

4:30 How different light spectrums affect health

7:50 How light and dark affects us across a day

11:15 What happens while you sleep

13:40 Some of the benefits of sleep

17:50 Why TV’s and laptops can cause such a problem

21:35 When to go to sleep, wake up and the number of hours you need

27:30 What happens if you need to look at a screen before bed?

31:45 How food intake affects sleep and how to improve it

40:05 How to use light therapy to assist sleep

45:05 The problem with waking in the night to urinate

49:20 How exercise can impact on sleep

51:55 How Epsom salt baths can help sleep


Links I refer to in this show:


Light filters for TV, computers and phones

Blue-light blocking glasses

250W red light bulb

 “Chicken” or brooder light

Water article

Solving The Paleo Equation


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Thanks for joining me on this episode. Here is a link to see the other shows. Until next time!

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Chris Sandel is the founder of www.seven-health.com. He is a nutritionist, working with clients on a one-on-one basis, as well as creating online trainings and products about health and nutrition. He is the author of The Health Trap: Why "Healthy" Eating Isn't Always Healthy which is available on Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

Chris has three free emails series. One is on how to quit dieting. One is on simple tests you can do at home. And the other is his take on the world's healthiest foods.


  1. Hi Chris
    My 11 year old niece has always been a night owl, since very young she’s been extremely difficult in putting her to bed. She could stay up to all hours if you left her . Lately she’s been taking her headset and ipod to bed to bed, she cannot go to sleep without it. I feel for her because I can see how frustrated she is not being able to go to sleep ‘like everybody else’ (her words) when it’s bedtime, she just isn’t sleepy at all. I assume she has the start of insomnia? What’s the effect of listening to music this way to put yourself to sleep? Mostly what I’ve read or what you talk about refers to visual stimulation.

  2. Hi Geraldine,

    With your niece, how is she through the daytime? How is her energy? How is her energy in the morning when she needs to get up? I would think it is less of an issue if she is truly someone who needs less sleep and is perfectly fine getting by on less. But if instead she struggles during the day and on waking, then I would say it’s more of an issue. To help, I would try implementing the ideas I made in the podcast. What is her eating like?

    In terms of listening to music in bed, this doesn’t seem to be an issue like looking at a screen. But this definitely depends on the person. For some listening to music or talking (radio) helps them fall asleep, for others (like me) it prevents sleep. So if she finds it helpful, then keep it up. Maybe getting some meditation apps could be helpful for her to listen to in the evening to help with going to sleep.



  3. Hi Chris
    She does struggle waking up, and has zero appetite for breakfast. She’s never enjoyed eating breakfast. Sometimes she might down half a glass of a smoothie if you try and make her have at least something but no way can you get her to eat any solids she just has no hunger for it. But throughout the day her appetite and energy levels are great, she is lean and eats very well in my opinion. They eat a good cross section of whole foods, always home cooked meals, she has a savory tooth over sweets but still enjoys treats by all means. She’s the kind of kid who’ll have a bag lollies and she might forget she has them. She can eat a dozen oysters on her own since she was quite young, has a pretty good palette I think.
    We’re not sure if there’s a problem there because she goes without food until lunch time on school days if at home it might be earlier that she might have a snack before lunch.
    Thanks for your reply I appreciate it.

  4. Hi Geraldine,

    I find lack of appetite in the morning is often connected with poor liver function/detoxification. If someone has had trouble sleeping then the morning can feel like the middle of the night which could also be why she is not hungry, but liver/detoxification would be something to keep in mind. I would possibly suggest getting her to eat something proper in the morning and do it for a couple of weeks. She may hate it, but explain that it should help her sleep. After two weeks her appetite should increased and become somewhat better in the morning. If not, then I’d take a different approach (possibly looking more at the liver side of things).

    I hope that helps.


  5. Geraldine says:

    Thanks Chris. You can get away with a lot more when you’re a kid but I see now you can’t take being young for granted. It will be good to help her now I guess before she’s older and it’s harder to deal with I suppose.

  6. I need some clarification on the light therapies you mention. You mention SAD lights and also infrared or near infrared. What I’m unsure of is how to tell which I should be using. Also, I understand the benefits of the SAD lights but what are the benefits of the red? And I just want to clarify, it’s ok to use the red any time of day including before bed, but not the SAD lights should be used only in the first part of the day, correct?


  1. […] Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you want to recover from sleep deprivation, you will need to get on a sleep schedule. For the time being, skip late nights out with friends and sleeping in on Saturday. In the future, you may be able to get away with the occasional deviation from your sleep schedule but until you’re fully recovered it is best to go to bed around 10 pm and wake after 6 am. According to Nutritionist Chris Sandel, the phase of sleep where your body repairs itself occurs between 10 pm and 2 am so you do not want to miss out on that restorative process by being awake late into the night. Click here to listen to Chris’s fascinating podcast about sleep.  […]

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