beauty sleepMany people assume that “beauty sleep” is a myth used to convince children to go to sleep. But a new study suggests there may be something to it.

The study looked at the effect that sleep deprivation has on the way other people perceive your attractiveness.  Study participants were asked to sit for photographs. The photos were identical, except for one thing — some of the participants had had a full night’s sleep the night before, while others had been awake for 31 hours straight.

According to Time Magazine:

“The photos were then shown to a group of 65 different people, who, knowing nothing about how tired the people in the photos were, rated their attractiveness. The observers rated the sleep-deprived as less healthy looking, less fetching and, obviously, more tired-looking.”


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Taking the time each and every night to get your “beauty sleep” may in fact make you more attractive. And this isn’t surprising when you consider that optimal health and beauty are side effects of an overall healthy lifestyle, which must include adequate, high-quality sleep.

How Much Does Lack of Sleep Impact Your Appearance?

A good night’s sleep may be one of the best-kept beauty secrets out there.

This reality was recently proven by John Axelsson of the Karolinska Institute, who took identically staged photos of 23 people. All of the participants had natural hairstyles, relaxed facial expressions and no makeup. The lighting for the sessions were the same, as was the subject’s distance from the camera.

The only difference was the amount of sleep the people had received the night before; one group got a full night’s sleep, the other slept just five hours after being awake for 31 hours straight.

When the photos were shown to a separate group of people, wouldn’t you know it . they rated the sleep-deprived group as less healthy, less attractive and more tired.

Chances are you have noticed this phenomenon yourself on more than a few occasions just by looking in the mirror. After a night of not enough or poor sleep you’re likely to wake up with dark circles under your eyes, sallow skin and a general look of being worn out and unrested.

Sleep is Essential for Your Body to Function

It’s no wonder that your appearance suffers when you lose sleep, as it’s an indicator of what is going on within your body as well.

Everybody loses sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping too little, then you’re increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cancer

Sleep deprivation also ages you. Lack of sleep interferes with metabolism and hormone production in a way that is similar to the effects of aging and the early stages of diabetes. Chronic sleep loss may speed the onset or increase the severity of age-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and memory loss.

Too little sleep can even wreak havoc on your weight. Losing sleep raises levels of two hormones linked with appetite and eating behavior. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin, a hormone that tells your brain you’re satiated, and increases ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

No doubt about it, a sleep deficit can have serious, far-reaching effects on your health – and bags under your eyes are the least of it. Other effects include:

  • A single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
  • Good sleepers and poor sleepers experience about the same number of daily minor stressful events, but good sleepers are less disturbed by them. Poor sleepers experience life events as being more negative than do those who sleep well.
  • Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders.
  • Sleep deprivation puts your body into a pre-diabetic state, and makes you feel hungry, even if you’ve already eaten.
  • Interrupted sleep can dramatically weaken your immune system
  • Tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.

If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or otherwise getting a restful night’s sleep, be sure to read through my top 33 tips for optimal sleep.

Beauty is More Than Skin Deep

Your outward appearance typically reflects your health on the inside on both a physical and emotional level.

For instance, research shows that people who have been through the stress of a divorce look nearly two years older than their married, single or even widowed twin. Those who use antidepressants also appear significantly older. The researchers attributed this to the drugs causing continued relaxation of the facial muscles, which led to sagging, but it could also be that those taking antidepressants were under some type of psychological stress.

This is why releasing negative emotions with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which balances your energy and improves your body and mind’s stress response, can actually improve your outward beauty along with your emotional health.

Likewise, eating a largely unhealthy diet of processed foods causes an accumulation of free radicals, or cell-damaging substances, in your body. Naturally, this type of cellular damage is most visible on your face, in the form of wrinkles, bags, droopy eyelids and loss of skin elasticity and glow.

So along with getting your beauty sleep, one way to decrease the speed at which signs of your real age show up is by consuming large amounts of whole, unprocessed, healthy raw foods that are loaded with antioxidants. If you’re still young, you will be less likely to develop wrinkles and other signs of age in the first place if you take a proactive, healthy approach now.

Another key to maintaining a youthful appearance and brighter, clearer skin is regular exercise. And, if you shift away from regular aerobics and use Peak 8 exercises instead, you will have a powerful way to naturally increase your growth hormone and radically reduce your aging rate. This will also be enormously beneficial in helping you sleep better. Just make sure you don’t exercise right before you go to bed.

Interestingly, sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, which is normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep and also during certain types of exercise, such as the Peak Fitness Technique. Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.

So good food, regular exercise, stress relief and, of course, beauty sleep all go hand-in-hand when it comes to giving you that youthful healthy glow you’re after.

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By Dr. Mercola

distilled waterIt’s a well-established fact that clean, pure water is a foundational cornerstone of good health. What’s open for discussion, however, is what constitutes “clean, pure water.”

There are many opinions and much confusion about which kind of water imparts the greatest health benefits, particularly when it comes to its pH.

I recently addressed the danger of alkaline water. In this segment I’ll address distilled water, and review the pro’s and con’s of reverse osmosis water filtration. Since most water sources are now severely polluted, the issue of water filtration and purification couldn’t be more important.

It’s unfortunate, but the value of plain water is vastly underrated by most experts when it comes to achieving optimal health.

I’m convinced that we could prevent many of our chronic health problems if we would simply start replacing all soda and nearly all commercial fruit juices with pure water.

As you may know by now, the number one source of calories in the U.S. comes from high fructose corn syrup primarily in the form of soda. Americans drink an average of one gallon of soda each week, and this excessive fructose consumption is a driving force behind obesity and chronic degenerative disease in this country.

Drinking alkaline or ionized water, however, is not a healthful choice in the long run, and as you will see, neither is drinking distilled water.

Why I Do Not Recommend Drinking Distilled Water

Long before natural health enthusiasts began touting the benefits of alkaline water, there were similarly glowing claims for distilled water.

During distillation, water is boiled and evaporated away from its dissolved minerals, and then the vapor is condensed and the resulting water droplets collected. Distilled water is an active absorber, and when it makes contact with air, it quickly absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes acidic.

Since it is free of dissolved minerals and other particles, it has the ability to absorb toxic substances from your body and eliminate them.

However, although drinking distilled water may be helpful when detoxifying for a week or two, the longer you drink it, the more likely you’ll develop mineral deficiencies and an acidic state.

You can rapidly lose electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals, which can cause cardiac irregularities, high blood pressure, and cognitive/emotional disturbances.

In a paper by F. Kozisek of the World Health Organization (WHO), [i] water low in calcium and magnesium, such as distilled water, is associated with the following health problems:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Higher risk of bone fracture in children
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Motor neuronal diseases
  • Pre-term births, low birth weights, and preeclampsia
  • Various types of cancer
  • Increased risk of “sudden death”
  • Acute magnesium and calcium deficiency, weakness, fatigue and muscle cramping

Clearly, changing the water you drink can have profound and potentially disastrous effects on your health, as this research shows.

For these reasons, I’ve been discouraging people from drinking distilled water for well over a decade now, but there are other far more problematic issues with distilled water that make potential mineral deficiencies pale in comparison.

Distilled Water is Only as Pure as the Water You Begin With…

One of the primary benefits commonly attributed to distilled water is its lack of contaminants.

However, this usually turns out to be far from true…


There are two primary reasons why your distilled water may not be as pure as you’d like to think:

  1. Any contaminant in the water that vaporizes at a lower temperature than the water, such as volatile organic compounds, such as disinfection byproducts that are thousands of times as toxic as chlorine, will be condensed and actually concentrated in the finished distilled water. So what you end up with is water that contains even more dangerous contaminants than what you started with.
  2. Because the water is acidic and demineralized, it will pull contaminants out of whatever container you put it in.

    Many distillers on the market are made of metal, which will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back into the water. And if you use a distiller with a plastic bottle, you have a number of plastic chemicals to contend with – many of which we now know are extremely toxic.

The Most Shocking Fact About Distilled Water

In recent years we’ve learned a lot about the dangers of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) found in most treated water supplies, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs).

These DBPs form when water treatment disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine dioxide react with natural organic matter in the source water.

Researchers have now discovered that DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and out of all the other toxins and contaminations present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst.

Trihalomethanes (THMs), for example, are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They’ve also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.

The process of distilling actually worsens the presence of these extremely toxic contaminants in your water because anything that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s and trihalomethanes (THM’s), will also be boiled and condensed.

Sure, the heavy metals are left behind. Lead, for example, will not vaporize. But chlorine will change into chloroform during the distillation process, and will be present in your distilled water.

Distilled Water is Actually MORE Toxic than Municipal Tap Water

So, not only will distillation not remove one of the most significant toxins in water, which are the DBPs, it may actually deliver a more concentrated dose of them.

AND, you’re also drinking whatever chemical or metal contaminants the water has dissolved out of the container it’s stored in!

Talk about a double-whammy of toxic contamination!

This fact alone should be reason enough to ditch the idea that distilled water might be good for you, unless you start with entirely pure water to begin with, which defeats the whole purpose of distilling it.

Remember that every municipal water supply is treated with chlorine or chlorine like substance that will induce the formation of disinfection byproducts in your water supply. So unless you are using the distiller on well water, you need to be very concerned about this.

A volatile organic compound is a chemical that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water and has carbon in it. And there are hundreds of thousands of volatile organic compounds out there, including benzenes, trihalomethanes, and trichloroethylene. Exactly what and how much of these toxic compounds are in your source water will naturally vary from one location to another.

Many of these are industrial organic solvents that are very destructive to the human body. Many if not most of them are carcinogenic at extremely low levels.

DBPs, for example, are measured in parts per BILLION, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the goal for some of these byproducts at zero because they are so dangerous. Unfortunately the EPA goal is impossible to enforce.

Still, the maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb (parts-per-billion), and the maximum annual average of HAAs permitted by EPA regulations is 60 ppb.

It goes without saying that if distilling were to concentrate these contaminants just a little bit, the consequences to your health could be quite severe.

The Drawbacks Clearly Outweigh Any Potential Benefits

So, in the end, distilled water:

  • Is expensive
  • Is energy intensive
  • Doesn’t remove VOC’s and DBPs
  • Is ineffective at removing toxic fluoride
  • Draws out chemicals and metal contaminants from whatever container it’s stored in
  • Leaches minerals from your body which can lead to health problems

On the positive side, it may help draw out toxins during a short-term detoxification program, but all in all, I believe the drawbacks are stacked quite high and clearly outweigh any perceived benefit.

A Special Note on Removing Fluoride from Your Drinking Water

Distillation also will not effectively remove fluoride, another dangerous element added to most water supplies.

Distillation can remove an estimated 55-60 percent of fluoride, but the rest will get transferred. A reverse osmosis system is slightly more effective, capable of removing about 80 percent of fluoride.

Currently, the only commercially viable way to get non-detectable levels of fluoride (in water that is been treated with fluoride) that I know of is using an activated aluminum filtration system. However, I’m not convinced it will remove all volatile compounds.

The real solution is to convince the US to stop water fluoridation altogether, a campaign I’m currently waging together with the Fluoride Action Network.

I urge you to join us and get involved at any level you can.

If this is a topic that interests you, I would strongly encourage you to sign up for their site as we are shortly going to launch a social networking strategy that will allow you to network with those in your local community so you can initiate the process to have fluoride removed from your water supply.

This is clearly the best solution and it will also produce an improvement in the public health of your community, so you would be doing a major service for your uninformed and deceived neighbors.

Why I’m Changing My Stance on Reverse Osmosis…

I’ve recommended reverse osmosis (R/O) as the water treatment system of choice for some time now, because I was convinced it was the best solution on the market. It’s the system I’ve used in my own home, primarily to reduce the salt content of my water as I had initially installed a water softener.

However, lately I’ve begun to rethink my stance on reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis, like distillation, creates fairly acidic water, and it also strips the water of minerals. Additionally, some contend that R/O destabilized the structure of the water, and the system has other drawbacks as well.

It’s expensive, and it wastes water. According to Houston, depending on the system it can use anywhere between two to 10 gallons of water to produce one gallon of drinking water.

Another concern is that most of the systems have a holding tank that must be cleaned out regularly to prevent growth of bacteria.

Still, R/O has certain benefits, and there are ways to circumvent some of its drawbacks.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Reverse Osmosis

On the plus side, R/O is excellent for removing all sorts of contaminants, including herbicides, pesticides, lead, fluoride, disinfection byproducts (DBP’s) and even all but the smallest viruses or protozoan cysts.

Some hormones will slip through, but overall, it does a remarkable job of filtering out some of the absolute worst water contaminants.

It does, however, also create water that is both slightly acidic and demineralized.

One way to ameliorate this is to re-introduce minerals to the water. I add about

KSBW reports:

“Some messages coming out of your mouth bypass the vocal chords. Turns out that your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues also have plenty to say — about your overall health.”

Here are some of the signs to look for:

  1. teethFlat, worn teeth and headache — Sign of: Stress

    Many people are surprised to find out they’re tooth-grinders. You might be doing it in your sleep.

  2. Cracking, crumbling teeth — Sign of: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

    Tooth erosion isn’t a consequence of aging. Disintegrating teeth are usually caused by acid that’s coming up from the stomach and dissolving them

  3. Sores that won’t go away — Sign of: Oral cancer

    When an open sore in the mouth doesn’t go away within a week or two, it always warrants showing to a dentist or doctor.

  4. Gums growing over teeth — Sign of: Medication problems

    This can be caused by medication for heart disease or seizures, or drugs that suppress your immune system.

  5. Dry mouth — Sign of: Sjogren’s Syndrome and/or Diabetes

    Many things can cause dry mouth, but a lack of sufficient saliva can also be an early warning sign of two autoimmune diseases —  Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

  6. White webbing inside cheeks — Sign of: Lichen planus

    This mild skin disorder tends to strike both men and women between the ages 30 and 70.

  7. Crusting dentures — Sign of: Potential aspiration pneumonia

    Aspiration pneumonia, often caused by inhaling debris around the teeth and dentures, is a leading cause of death in older people.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Oral health is a fundamental part of optimal health, and there’s convincing evidence linking the state of your teeth and gums to a variety of health issues.

One important health problem not included in the list above is heart disease.

How Poor Oral Health is Linked to Heart Disease

The link between gum disease and heart disease may not be obvious, but chronic inflammation is a hallmark of both conditions and inflammation in your body plays a major role in the build-up of plaque in your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.

A study published earlier this year concluded that the frequency of teeth brushing can actually have a significant impact on your risk of developing heart disease. They found that those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.

This finding is yet another potent testimony to the fact that heart disease is a condition that can be prevented, most of the time, by leading a healthy lifestyle — which includes the simple act of brushing your teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease.

But just how can periodontal disease trigger heart disease?

It’s important to realize that periodontal disease involves both bone and the tissue that is in contact with that bone. From this contact, bacteria and toxic, inflammatory compounds can easily enter your blood stream.

Once in your blood stream, these toxic compounds can harm the lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to both strokes and heart attacks.

So, reducing inflammation is of primary importance for your overall health, and brushing your teeth regularly is one way to ensure you don’t carry chronic inflammation in your body. I’ll discuss this a bit more in a moment.

How Root Canals Can Seriously Compromise Your Health

Another oft-ignored connection between the state of your mouth and the rest of your body is the issue of how root canals can wreck your health.

The brilliant, but largely ignored work of Dr. Weston Price DDS on this subject — published in 1923 after 25 years of research — shows undisputable links between root canals and chronic degenerative diseases, such as:

  • Heart and circulatory disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Diseases of your brain and nervous system

You might think that once your tooth has been treated with a root canal, it’s basically “fixed,” or made whole again. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Teeth are similar to other organ systems in your body. They too require blood supply and lymphatic drainage. Once a tooth has been treated with a root canal however, the tooth is dead and can become a source of chronic inflammation caused by bacterial toxicity.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, root canal-treated teeth are almost always infected, even when not presenting visible clues. This is because anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that do not need oxygen to survive) continue to thrive by digesting necrotic tissue inside the now dead roots.

The toxins secreted from these bacteria are often incredibly potent. It’s equivalent to leaving a grossly infected or dead organ in your body, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The longer root canal-treated teeth stay in your mouth, the more compromised your immune system becomes, and antibiotics will be of no help in these cases because the bacteria is kept safe and secure inside the tooth.

Surrounding your now dead tooth is blood supply and lymphatics, which drain these toxins from the area and spread it throughout your body where it can invade any other organ system and lead to diseases such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancers
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Irritable bowel diseases
  • Depression

Beyond Oral Health – Your Diet is Key to Reducing Chronic Inflammation

As you can see, the running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems is chronic inflammation in your body – regardless of whether it originates in your mouth or not.

Clearly, addressing your oral health is an important step, but as you’ll see in the next section, it all starts with your diet.

Your diet can make or break your teeth, as it were, and has a profound effect on your overall level of inflammation. Therefore, to optimize your health and prevent many of the diseases listed above, you’ll want to evaluate your lifestyle to ensure you’re doing everything you can to prevent chronic inflammation from occurring.

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that the food you and your family chose to eat is your primary ally for the prevention of inflammation.

Much focus is placed on cholesterol levels and the ratio of “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol, but unfortunately, many conventional recommendations for how to improve your cholesterol levels are seriously flawed.

For example, it’s vitally important to realize that there are different sizes of LDL cholesterol particles, and it’s the LDL particle size that is relevant (as opposed to just the overall level of LDL’s), as small particles get stuck easily and cause more inflammation.

The only way to modulate LDL particle size is, again, through your diet – statin drugs do NOT address particle size!

To reduce or prevent inflammation in your body, you’ll want to avoid the following dietary culprits:

  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Sugar/fructose and grains
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats

Preventing Tooth Decay Naturally

When it comes to oral hygiene and preventing cavities, there’s a virtual war going on. If you listen to conventional health agencies’ and your dentist’s advice, you may still believe that fluoride is the answer.

Think again!

The only way you can believe this misguided advice is if you completely ignore the science.

Good oral health and strong, healthy teeth is NOT the result of drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Rather it’s all about your diet.

By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place.

Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. So the simple act of limiting, or eliminating sugar, and avoiding processed foods — along with regular cleanings with your natural dentist — will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy naturally.

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly for Optimal Results

Most will be pleased to know that next month we will be launching a completely fluoride free tooth paste and dental cleaning system that should be out in mid January.

Also keep in mind that brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary can cause more harm than good. Persistent scrubbing can damage enamel and gums, while still not making your teeth any cleaner…

According to previous research, the ideal brushing time is two minutes and the ideal pressure 150 grams, which is about the weight of an orange.

The researchers found that brushing longer than two minutes, and/or using pressure greater than 150 grams does not remove any additional plaque, so there’s a “Goldilocks’ zone” when brushing, and there’s no reason to keep going past that point.

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By Dr. Mercola

There’s little doubt that one of the best ways to improve your health is to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed high quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw.

One simple way to boost your vegetable intake is to juice them.

Juicing organic vegetables is highly recommended to patients in our clinic who are working to restore or improve their health.

I am firmly convinced that juicing is one of the key factors to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health.

I simply do not know of any other single nutritional intervention that has a more profound influence on health than eating and/or juicing fresh, organic vegetables.

You can review my comprehensive approach to how to juice on my vegetable juicing page.

Are All Vegetables the Same?

If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option.


USDA Organic farmers (and many small, local organic farms working without certification), must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:

  • Neurotoxicity
  • Disruption of your endocrine system
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
  • Miscarriages
  • Parkinson’s disease

This information alone should give you pause when considering whether to buy local, organic vegetables or not. But I encourage you to do further research about organic versus conventional farming conditions. I believe that after researching the facts and statistics, you’ll come to the conclusion that organic vegetables are far more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables.

Conventional Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Loads

Certainly helpful to your decision about which vegetables should be purchased organic and which conventional veggies may be safe, is the measured pesticide loads found on conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

In contrast, these foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onion

So if you need to work within a certain budget, use this information to help guide you to the best choices when it comes to lowering your overall pesticide exposure.

The Importance of Fresh Vegetables

Buying your vegetables from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that your vegetables are both fresh and high-quality. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt they loose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthy than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables!

Another reason to buy your organic vegetables from a local source is that fresher vegetables also contain the highest amounts of biophotons.

What are Biophotons?

Biophotons are the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms – including your body.

Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp was the first to suggest that this light inside all biological organisms must originate, at least in part, from the foods you eat. When you eat plant foods, the light waves (photons) are thought assimilate into the cells in your body.

The purpose of these biophotons is much more important than many have realized, because they are the transmitters of important nutritional bio-information used in many complex vital processes in your body.

Every living organism emits biophotons, or low-level luminescence (light with a wavelength between 200 and 800 nanometers). It is thought that the higher the level of light energy a cell emits, the greater the vitality and potential for the transfer of light energy to your body.

In other words, the more light that a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is when you consume it. Fresh, organic vegetables are naturally rich in this biophoton light energy.

Illness Can Occur When Biophoton Emissions are Out of Sync

Research by Dr. Popp also showed that the light emissions of healthy people follow a set of biological rhythms by day and night and also by week and month.

However, in his studies, the light emissions from cancer patients had no such rhythms and appeared scrambled, which suggests that their cells were no longer communicating properly.

Likewise, according to Dr. Popp’s research, multiple sclerosis patients were taking in too much light, leading to what he considered confusion on a cellular level.

Even stress can influence your biophoton emissions, causing them to increase when stress increases.

It’s also known that cancer-causing chemicals alter your body’s biophoton emissions, interrupting proper cellular communication, while certain natural substances can help to restore proper cellular communication. For instance, Dr. Popp found that mistletoe appeared to restore biophoton emissions of tumor cells to a normal level!

Interestingly, even conventional medicine confirmed that mistletoe extract does appear to have a beneficial effect on cancer, with one study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine showing that mean survival rates nearly doubled among breast cancer patients who received mistletoe extract.

An Important Tip for Gathering Valuable Light Energy

As regular readers know, I’ve long recommended eating a diet of mostly RAW food to stay optimally healthy. This is because living raw foods contain the most biophoton light energy that your body needs.

The greater your store of light energy from healthy raw foods (this should not be confused with your vitamin D status, which is produced by the sun on your skin), the greater the power of your overall electromagnetic field, and consequently the more energy is available for healing and maintenance of optimal health.

I firmly believe it’s only a matter of time before the importance of light energy in your health and well-being becomes more widely recognized and applied in the field of medicine. Until then, remember that your body is not only made up of tissue, blood vessels and organs. It’s also composed of light.

Reasons to Juice

As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the best ways to get ample amounts of raw vegetables into your diet is through juicing. Many people see juicing as inconvenient, but with the proper juicer it really is not very time consuming at all.

The fact is, many people initially think that juicing will be a real chore, but most are pleasantly surprised to find it’s much easier than they thought.

There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating organic vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:

  • Juicing helps you absorb more nutrients from the vegetables.
  • Juicing allows you to efficiently consume more vegetables.
  • Juicing can add a wider variety of vegetables into your diet.

However, you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant — not make you feel nauseous.

It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Personally, I’ve noticed that I can’t juice large amounts of cabbage, but if I spread it out, I do fine.

Please review my comprehensive vegetable juicing instructions for more information.

What are the Best Vegetables for Good Health?

Whether you’re munching them raw or juicing, some vegetables contain more health building nutrients than others. This list details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.

Highly Recommended Vegetables
Asparagus Escarole
Avocado (actually a fruit) Fennel
Beet greens Green and red cabbage
Bok Choy Kale
Broccoli Kohlrabi
Brussel sprouts Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf
Cauliflower Mustard greens
Celery Onions
Chicory Parsley
Chinese cabbage Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot
Chives Tomatoes
Collard greens Turnips
Cucumbers Spinach
Dandelion greens Zucchini
Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels
Beets Jicima
Carrots Winter Squashes
Vegetables to Avoid

Tips to Make Your Juice Taste Better

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:

  • Coconut: This is one of my favorites! You can purchase the whole coconut or use unsweetened shredded coconut. It adds a delightful flavor and is an excellent source of fat to balance your meal. Coconut has medium chain triglycerides, which have many health benefits.
  • Cranberries: Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may help protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  • Lemons and Limes: You can also add half a lemon or lime (leaving much of the white rind on)..
  • Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little “kick”! And, as an added boon, researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Nutritional Typing and Juicing Vegetables

According to Nutritional Typing principles, if you are a carb type, vegetable juicing is STRONGLY recommended. With patients in our clinic, we strongly encourage it if they expect to regain their health.

If you are a mixed type, it is certainly useful to juice. However, protein types need to follow some specific guidelines to make it work for them, which I’ll review below.

I used to charge a fee for my nutritional typing program; however I’m now able to offer this exceptional tool for FREE, so I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. You can find the free online typing test here. This program can help guide your food choices even further. We use to charge $29 for this test but I wanted to make it available for everyone, so please take advantage of this free test to help you learn what foods will improve your health.

Protein Types and Juicing Vegetables

If you are a protein type, juicing needs to be done cautiously. The only vegetables that should be juiced are your prime protein type vegetables, which are celery, spinach, asparagus, string beans and cauliflower (including the base).

Also, to make drinking vegetable juice compatible with protein type metabolism (which needs high amounts of fat), it is important to blend a source of raw fat into the juice. Raw cream, raw butter, raw eggs, avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground flax seed are the sources of raw fat I most recommend.

In addition to adding a source of raw fat to your juice, you may also find that adding some, or even all, of the vegetable pulp into your juice helps to make drinking the juiced vegetables more satisfying.

Final Thoughts about Vegetables

The truth is, scientists really don’t know all that much about nutrients, and taking isolated nutrients through supplements is not always a good idea, since it’s been shown that using supplements can actually lead to negative health consequences.

A much better way to get the vital nutrients your body needs is through eating whole, fresh organic vegetables. I recommend at least one third of your total diet be eaten raw, and a great way to do this is through incorporating juicing into your eating plan. Personally, I aim for consuming about 80 percent of my food raw, including raw eggs, dairy and meat.

Be sure to also take into account your Nutritional Type, because some people definitely function better with more vegetables in their diets than others. Again, to take my free online nutritional typing test, see this link.

But I want to emphasize that eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetables at all, so don’t get down on yourself if you’re able to juice organic fresh vegetables only a few times a week. Even if you have to start slowly, I think you’ll soon begin to notice positive changes to your health when you increase your intake of fresh vegetables.

Even better, review my nutrition plan, which can help you take a comprehensive look at your overall health as it relates to food, and may even help you to change the way you think about eating.

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In my experience, you can have the best diet in the world, have the best exercise program and be free from emotional stress, but if you aren’t sleeping well, for whatever reason, it is virtually impossible to be healthy.

In this interview, Dr. Rubin Naiman — a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and the leader in integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams — , explains the importance of this crucial aspect of health.

Dr. Naiman earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant University in San Diego.

During the 1990’s, he served as the sleep and dream specialist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson for 10 years, where he created the first formal sleep laboratory outside of a hospital setting. Dr. Andrew Weil was also on the staff at that time.

Later, he served as director of sleep programs for Miraval Resort. For more information on Dr. Naiman, please see his web site, .


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Sleep is an essential part of optimal health. In fact, if you’re not sleeping well, it’s virtually impossible to be healthy.

In this interview, clinical psychologist and sleep specialist Dr. Rubin Naiman shares his extensive knowledge of this often overlooked aspect. His work has focused exclusively on sleep and dreams for the past 20 years.

What is “Sleep”?

This is an important question, because as Dr. Naiman says, “too often, we try to resolve sleep issues without knowing what it is.”

He draws a parallel to the general topic of health. Many people think that “getting healthy” equates to “fighting disease,” but health is much more than just the absence of illness.

“Likewise, sleep is not simply the absence of waking,” Dr. Naiman says. “This is a very common misunderstanding around the world today. We define sleep negatively. We define it in terms of what it’s not.

. So we believe that sleep is “not waking,” but to define it in those simple terms, which suggests that any kind of unconsciousness is a kind of sleep, is simply not true. There are certain qualities associated with sleep that most of us have become desensitized to.

So what is sleep?

When you look at changes in EEG, in electrical brain activity, as we go from waking into deeper stages of sleep, those changes parallel the same changes we see when people go into truly deep restful states. More specifically, I’m talking about meditators. Accomplished meditators have been shown to be able to access brainwave activity that looks very much like deep sleep.

In a sense, we need to think of sleep as not the absence of waking but another kind of experience in its own right. There is actually some data that suggests that you can learn to cultivate awareness during deep stages of sleep.”

The Spiritual Dimensions of Sleep

While research has shown that sleep is important for a number of different reasons, from improved performance and alertness to improved immune system function, and increased creativity, these benefits still do not tell the whole story.

“We need to remember that sleep, in addition to providing support to waking life, is of value in it of itself,” Naiman says.

“Sleep delivers something important. It takes us to another place in consciousness.

I deeply believe that sleep has spiritual benefit. It’s a valuable experience in it of itself.

When we recognize that, we really shift our attitudes towards sleep as something we can actually enjoy — not something we simply need to do to be healthier.”

A lot of people are interested in spirituality, but how many of you have ever considered tapping into, or taking advantage of this spiritual dimension of sleep? I agree that looking at sleep from this renewed perspective could have a very positive impact on your relationship to sleep.

Viewing it as a sort of spiritual process, as opposed to a temporary shut-down from waking life, could help relax your anxiety about “having” to sleep.

Understanding Why and How Insomnia Occurs

The most commonly reported sleep disorder is insomnia; having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or the inability to get quality sleep throughout the night.

According to Dr. Naiman, one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is a condition called “cognitive popcorn:”

“Cognitive popcorn is something that occurs when you put your head down, trying to go to sleep or trying to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and suddenly your mind starts to produce all of these thoughts.

They’re unwanted thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts. It’s as if the mind has a mind of its own. That’s a very common complaint that keeps people awake.”

In order to understand why you can’t sleep, you need to understand that sleep is the outcome of an interaction between two classes of variables: sleepiness and “noise.

  1. Sleepiness – Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should gradually increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleepiness to be high at the beginning of the night.
  2. “Noise” – refers to any kind of stimulation that inhibits or disrupts sleep. If noise is conceptually greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not fall asleep.

    “Noise” occurs in three zones: the mind level, body level, and the environmental level.

    Dr. Naiman gives this example: “If you’re energized during the day, you’re feeling passionate, you want to move, be productive and so on, that’s great. But if that experience occurs in the middle of the night, that becomes a kind of noise.”

    The most common type of mind noise, however, is the “cognitive popcorn;” unstoppable thoughts running through your mind at night.

    Examples of body noise include pain, discomfort, indigestion, side effects from prescription drugs, or residual caffeine from drinking coffee too late in the day.

    Environmental noise is usually obvious, such as noises in your room or house, a snoring partner, music, lights, or a bedroom that’s too warm.

In order to get a good night’s sleep, you want your sleepiness level to be high, and the noise level to be low.

According to Dr. Naiman, more often than not, the reason why people can’t fall asleep is NOT because of lack of sleepiness, but rather because of excessive noise.

Therefore, the FIRST thing you need to ask yourself when you can’t sleep is:

  • “Where/What is the noise (mind/body/environmental)?”

Typically, people will find a number of different factors that contribute to the noise burden keeping them awake!

So it’s important to carefully evaluate your environment and inner/outer state to determine ALL the contributing factors. If you address one problem, but not the others, you still may not be able to fall asleep, or stay asleep throughout the night.

For more in-depth details about the various forms of insomnia, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript.

Two Common Problems that Can Keep You Tossing and Turning

Two very important contributing factors that can make sleep elusive are:

  • Light
  • Temperature

Why You Need to Sleep in Complete Darkness

Having too much light in your bedroom at night can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is both a hormone and an important antioxidant against cancer.

Disrupted melatonin production, caused by lack of bright light during the day, and too much light in the evening and at night, can also have a significantly detrimental impact on your health, aside from “just” disrupting your sleep. There’s actually strong evidence showing there is a dose-dependent relationship between exposure to light at night and a significantly increased risk for breast cancer.

Dr. Naiman takes a small amount of melatonin each night even though he does not have any sleep problems. He takes it because — like most people living in developed countries — he believes he’s overexposed to light at night, which contributes to melatonin deficiency.

“Years ago, the average length of a day was 12 hours; 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness,” Naiman says. “Today the average length of a day is 16 hours. We are exposed — this is true for children as well — to so much more light than we used to. . But it’s poor quality light. It’s like the empty calories that we get in a lot of food today.

And, during the day, most of us are underexposed to light.”

Using full spectrum lights in your home and office can help ameliorate the lack of high quality sunlight during the day, and paying attention to the amount of light you flood your home with in the evening is important as well.

You can now also find light bulbs that do not give off blue light, called “low blue lights,” which emit an amber light. The blue wavelength in the light spectrum is the light that specifically suppresses melatonin, so these types of light bulbs are ideal for your bedroom and bathroom.

TVs and computers also emit a lot of blue light, which will zap your melatonin if you work past dark.

Keep in mind that even a small amount of light, like turning on the bathroom light to go to the restroom, can be enough to temporarily suppress the melatonin production. This is why it’s so important to avoid using night lights, or turning lights on if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

This is also why I strongly recommend installing blackout shades to ensure total darkness in your bedroom.

Keep it Cool!

In addition to making sure your bedroom is kept pitch black, maintaining the ideal room temperature can have a dramatic impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 68 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm.

Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, as low as 60 degrees.

Keeping your room cooler than 60 degrees F. or hotter than 70 degrees F. can lead to restless sleep.

This is because when you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four to six hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.

Why Sleeping Pills aren’t the Answer

About two years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced an excellent meta-analysis on the effectiveness of sleeping pills.

What did they find?

Sleeping pills DON’T WORK!

“If you look at polysomnography (objective measures of sleep). more often than not, sleep is worse on a sleeping pill,” Naiman says.

In this meta-analytic study, they found that on average, sleeping pills would help people fall asleep approximately 10 minutes sooner. If it’s taking you an hour or two to get to sleep, 10 minutes is statistically significant, but frankly, personally, biomedically, it’s not significant at all.

On average, sleeping pills increase total sleep time maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Again, if you’re looking at an eight-hour night – it’s really insignificant.

But here is the catch. This was a really phenomenal find. They found that what most sleeping pills do is they create amnesia for awakenings and poor, fragmented sleep. Sleeping pills disrupt your memory formation.

So you wake up thinking you had a good night sleep, but when you look at objective measures of your sleep, it’s really very poor. So we’re tricking ourselves.  Sleeping pills result in poor quality sleep–what I call counterfeit sleep.”

Sleeping pills also come with a slew of detrimental and potentially dangerous side effects.

Additionally, most people do not realize that over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills — those containing Benadryl — can have a half life of about 18 hours. So, if you take them every night, you’re basically sedated much of the time. Not surprisingly, they’re associated with cognitive deficits in the morning.

Many sleeping pills are also a potent anti-cholinergics, which suppress REM sleep and dreaming. These drugs are also known to increase dementia risk in seniors.

In 2008, Americans filled more than 56 million prescriptions for sleeping pills and spent more than $600 million on over-the-counter sleep aids. But anticholinergic sleep medications in particular may be causing far more harm than good, especially long term, without providing any benefit at all.

Trust me, there are far better, safer and more effective ways to get a good night’s sleep.

For a long list of safe and sane tips to improve your sleep, please see this article.

Final Thoughts

This interview contains a treasure trove of important information, so please, if you or someone you love suffers from poor sleep, take the time to listen to the entire interview, or read through the transcript. It contains much, much more than what I’ve summarized above. (Please note that we did have some technical problems with the audio so the transcript might be better)

Also keep an eye out for the second installment of this interview, in which Dr. Naiman will discuss the ideal amount of sleep time.

There’s convincing evidence showing that if you do not sleep enough, you’re really jeopardizing your health.

Everybody loses sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping less than five or six hours a night, then you’re increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cancer

For even more helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep, please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep. If you’re even slightly sleep deprived I encourage you to implement some of these tips tonight, as high-quality sleep is one of the most important factors in your health and quality of life.

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