August 30 2014

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Dr. Frank Lipman Talks Better Beauty Sleep


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail

My sleep cycle has been abysmal of late; either I can’t get any shut-eye or the sleep I do get is restless and I wake up feeling unsatisfied. How can I sleep better without resorting to pharmaceuticals?

In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, getting enough restful sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health, and to look and feel your best. But it’s estimated that up to 70 percent of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. You need 7 to 9 hours to let you body repair and heal. And good-quality sleep is just as important. That doesn’t come from sleeping pills; they just mask the problem but don’t address the underlying issues.

Here, Dr. Lipman’s favorite natural, drug-free sleep-better tips to help improve your complexion, energy, and overall health:

1. Limit bedroom activities

There are only two things you should do in bed, and they both begin with the letter “S.” Conduct all other activities, like watching TV, working on your laptop, and reading, elsewhere. Your bedroom should be a peaceful, distraction-free oasis that’s completely conducive to unwinding, resting, and sleeping.

2. Keep it dark

Though we may not realize it, even with the lights out, most of our bedrooms glow with the flicker of seemingly innocuous little lights blinking, flashing, and distracting our sleep, like charging phones, sleeping laptops, and light-up alarm clocks. Banish them from the bedroom or cover the lighting mechanisms with a bit of electrical tape.

3. Adjust the thermostat

To mimic our body’s own natural rhythm of cooling for sleep, lower your bedroom thermostat. A sleeping temperature of 60 to 65 degrees is best for most people, even in the dead of winter, because lower temperatures encourage the production and release of sleep hormones.

4. No late-day caffeine

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant with a typical life of 7 hours, which means that half of it is still coursing through your veins 7 hours after you drink it. So a 3 p.m. latte can disrupt your ability to fall asleep. Caffeine blocks sleep neurotransmitters, overstimulates the adrenal glands, and throws off your circadian rhythms. And don’t forget those hidden sources of caffeine such as soft drinks, tea, even decaf coffee, some herbal teas, chocolate, and OTC medications like Anacin and Excedrin.

5. Beware boozy sleep

In general, those with problems sleeping should avoid alcohol, as it can be as disruptive to the body’s sleep rhythms as caffeine. While alcohol has an initial sleep-inducing effect, as the body breaks it down, it can lighten and disrupt sleep, causing frequent and early awakening.

A native of South Africa, New York-based Dr. Frank Lipman is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. The founder of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, Dr. Lipman has two wellness-minded books under his belt—not to mention countless high-profile acolytes: Donna Karan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Maggie Gyllenhaal all keep him on speed dial. His latest venture—Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a collection of supplements and nutritional cleansing products—is out this month.


Photo: George Marks / Retrofile RF / Getty Images

The Doctor Is In