Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dead Zone -Gulf of Mexico is Largest in the World, and Factory Farming Is to Balme

Gulf of Mexico Now Largest Dead Zone in the World, and Factory Farming Is to Blame

Oct. 17, 2017

Story at-a-glanceNitrogen fertilizers and sewage sludge runoff from factory farms are responsible for creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico spanning more than 8,700 square miles — the largest recorded dead zone in the world

  • Seven million Americans have levels of nitrates in their drinking water that are high enough to be associated with cancer, according to some studies
  • Nitrogen builds up far below the soil surface where it can continue to leach into groundwater for 35 years. This means environmental concerns remain for decades even if nitrogen fertilizer use stops
  • The environmental group, Mighty, has launched a national #CleanItUpTyson campaign, calling for the meat company to clean up pollution from its supply chain
  • No-till alone cannot reduce water pollution. Other regenerative methods must also be used. Adding native prairie strips to 10% of crop areas reduces phosphorous and nitrogen runoff by 77 and 70% respectively, and lowers nitrate concentrations in groundwater by 72%.
By Dr. Mercola
As reported by CBS Miami (above), nitrogen fertilizers and sewage sludge runoff from factory farms are responsible for creating an enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. As fertilizer runs off farms in agricultural states like Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and others, it enters the Mississippi River, leading to an overabundance of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, in the water. 
This, in turn, leads to the development of algal blooms, which alter the food chain and deplete oxygen, resulting in dead zones. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest recorded dead zone in the world,1 beginning at the Mississippi River delta and spanning more than 8,700 square miles — about the size of New Jersey.
Needless to say, the fishing industry is taking a big hit, each year getting worse than the last. The featured news report includes underwater footage that shows you just how bad the water quality has gotten.

Gulf of Mexico — Largest Dead Zone in the World

Nancy Rabalais, professor of oceanography at Louisiana State University, is an expert on dead zones. She has measured oxygen levels in the Gulf since 1985, and blames agricultural runoff entering the Mississippi River for this growing environmental disaster. Recent measurements reveal the area has only half the oxygen levels required to sustain basic life forms.
“The solution lies upstream in the watershed,” she says, “with agricultural management practices; a switch to crops that have deeper roots and don’t need so much fertilizer and are still just as profitable as corn.”
According to CBS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created a task force to assess dead zones, and hope to reduce nutrient-rich agricultural runoff by 20 percent by 2025. Common sense will tell you that’s nowhere near enough. A study2 published last year revealed nitrogen builds up far below the soil surface, where it can continue to leach into groundwater for 35 years.
This means environmental concerns would persist for decades even if farmers were to stop using nitrogen fertilizers altogether. The researchers analyzed more than 2,000 soil samples from the Mississippi River Basin, finding nitrogen buildup at depths of 10 inches to 3.2 feet. According to the authors:
“[W]e show that the observed accumulation of soil organic [nitrogen] … in the [Mississippi River Basin] over a 30-year period … would lead to a biogeochemical lag time of 35 years for 99 percent of legacy [soil organic nitrogen], even with complete cessation of fertilizer application. By demonstrating that agricultural soils can act as a net [nitrogen] sink, the present work makes a critical contribution towards the closing of watershed [nitrogen] budgets.”

Lake Erie Suffers From Chemical Pollution

The problem is hardly restricted to the Gulf of Mexico. Many other waterways are being choked by agricultural chemicals as well. Lake Erie, for example, is currently reporting a 700-square-mile algal bloom, the toxins from which may also contaminate drinking water. Algal blooms also fill the largest tributary to the Great Lakes, the Maumee River. At present, officials claim microcystin levels (toxins produced by the algae) in intake pipes from Lake Erie are low, but that can change at any time.
In 2014, Toledo, Ohio, was forced to shut off the supply of drinking water to half a million residents for three days due to elevated microcystin levels in the water. The algae also hurt the regional economy each year, as recreational fishing and beach visits must be restricted. Lake Erie began experiencing significant problems in the early 2000s.
Over the years, it’s only gotten more extensive, the bloom covering an increasingly larger area. The University of Michigan is now using a new robotic lake-bottom laboratory to track microcystin levels in the lake (see video above), thereby allowing them to detect and report water safety issues to water management officials more quickly.

Toledo Mayor Appeals to President Trump — ‘Declare Lake Erie Impaired’

According to a study by the Carnegie Institute for Science and Stanford University, the expansion of algal bloom in Lake Erie is primarily attributable to a rise in the amount of dissolved phosphorus from farm land entering the lake. Part of the problem is that agricultural runoff is typically exempt from clean water laws.
On September 26, 2017, Toledo mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson urged the federal government to declare Lake Erie impaired due to excessive algae.3 Doing so would allow the lake’s nutrient load to be regulated under the Clean Water Act. Many activists believe Hicks-Hudson has been too slow to act, and still isn’t taking it far enough. The Blade reports:4
“Activist Mike Ferner dumped a pitcher of algae-infested water and two dead fish into One Government Center's public fountain … to highlight the condition of the river and lake. Mr. Ferner, joined by more than a dozen other members of the Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie group he founded in response to the 2014 Toledo water crisis, said the protest was in response to foot-dragging by local, state and federal officials.
He said the administrations of Mayor Hicks-Hudson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are complicit in allowing manure and other farm fertilizers to pollute the water because they won't call for the open water of Lake Erie to be designated as impaired.”

Drinking Water Threatened by Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff threatens drinking water across the U.S. as well. As reported by Fern’s AG Insider:5
“Seven million Americans who live in small cities and towns have worrisome levels of nitrates in their drinking water — below the federal limit of 10 milligrams per liter, but high enough to be associated with cancer in some studies, said an Environmental Working Group official.
Craig Cox, head of EWG’s Midwest office, said 1,683 communities had nitrate levels above 5 milligrams per liter and, when plotted on a map, they ‘crazily lined up with intensive agriculture.’ Farm use of nitrogen fertilizer is regarded as a frequent source of nitrates in groundwater. Soils also shed nitrates naturally. Urban runoff and septic systems also are sources.”

Meat Industry Implicated in Creation of Gulf Dead Zone

According to Mighty Earth,6 an environmental group chaired by former Congressman Henry Waxman, a “highly industrialized and centralized factory farm system” — consisting of a fairly small number of individual corporations — are responsible for a majority of the water contamination and environmental destruction we’re currently facing. Tyson Foods, which produces chicken, beef and pork, was identified as one of the worst offenders. As reported by The Guardian:7
Tyson, which supplies the likes of McDonald’s and Walmart, slaughters 35 [million] chickens and 125,000 head of cattle every week, requiring five million acres of corn a year for feed, according to the report. This consumption resulted in Tyson generating 55 [million] tons of manure last year … with 104 [million] tons of pollutants dumped into waterways over the past decade.
The Mighty research found that the highest levels of nitrate contamination correlate with clusters of facilities operated by Tyson and Smithfield, another meat supplier …
The report urges Tyson and other firms to use their clout in the supply chain to ensure that grain producers such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland employ practices that reduce pollution flowing into waterways. These practices include not leaving soil uncovered by crops and being more efficient with fertilizers so plants are not doused in too many chemicals.”
October 2, the group launched its national #CleanItUpTyson campaign,8 calling for Tyson, the largest meat company in the U.S., to “clean up pollution from its supply chain that’s contaminating local drinking water and causing a massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.” According to Mighty Earth:
The local campaigns are part of Mighty Earth’s national effort to hold the meat industry accountable for reducing its vast environmental impact, which is driving widespread water pollution, clearance of natural landscapes, high rates of soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions. Local communities from the Heartland to the Gulf are among those most affected by the meat industry’s impacts, and pay billions each year in clean-up costs.”

Factory Farming — The Ultimate Threat to Life on Earth

According to Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming and author of “Farmageddon” and “Deadzone” — two books detailing the destructive impact of industrial agriculture — factory farming is a threat to all life on Earth.
Speaking at a recent Livestock and Extinction Conference in London, Lymbery said: “Every day there is a new confirmation of how destructive, inefficient, wasteful, cruel and unhealthy the industrial agriculture machine is. We need a total rethink of our food and farming systems before it’s too late.”9
As noted by The Guardian,10 a number of “alarming exposés” have been featured as of late, including “chicken factory staff in the U.K. changing crucial food safety information on chickens,” and an admission by the European commission last month that “eggs containing a harmful pesticide may have been on sale in as many as 16 countries.” And, of course, the Gulf of Mexico being earning the recent designation of having the largest dead zone ever recorded. According to Lymbery:
“We need to go beyond an isolated approach. Not just looking at the technical problems around welfare, not just looking at the technical issues around the environment, not just looking at food security in isolation, but putting all of these issues together, then we can see the real problem that lies at the heart of our food system — industrial agriculture.
Factory farming is shrouded in mythology. One of the myths is that it’s an efficient way of producing food when actually it is highly inefficient and wasteful. Another is that the protagonists will say that it can be good for the welfare of the animals. After all, if hens weren’t happy they wouldn’t lay eggs. The third myth is that factory farming saves space.
On the surface it looks plausible, because, by taking farm animals off the land and cramming them into cages and confinement you are putting an awful lot of animals into a small space. But what is overlooked in that equation is you are then having to dedicate vast acreages of relatively scarce arable land to growing the feed …
The UN has warned that if we continue as we are, the world’s soils will have effectively gone within 60 years. And then what? We shouldn’t look to the sea to bail us out because commercial fisheries are expected to be finished by 2048.”

No-Tillage Alone Cannot Make a Dent in Nitrate Pollution Problem

Lymbery, as many others, myself included, point out that the answer is readily available and implementable. Regenerative farming can solve this and many other environmental and human health problems, if done in a thorough and holistic manner. No-till agriculture, which has become increasingly embraced as a solution to water pollution and other environmental problems associated with modern farming, is nowhere near enough.
While it’s certainly useful, and a method employed in regenerative agriculture, it alone cannot address the growing problems of chemical pollution. This was also the conclusion of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study. As reported by Indiana University:11
“Researchers in the Department of Earth Sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI conducted a meta-analysis to compare runoff and leaching of nitrate from no-till and conventional tillage agricultural fields. Surface runoff and leaching are two major transportation pathways for nitrate to reach and pollute water.
Due to its mobility and water solubility, nitrate has long been recognized as a widespread water pollutant. ‘What we found is that no-till is not sufficient to improve water quality,’ said Lixin Wang, an assistant professor and corresponding author of the paper.
‘In fact, we found that no-till increased nitrogen leaching.’ The study suggests that no-till needs to be complemented with other techniques, such as cover cropping and intercropping or rotation with perennial crops, to improve nitrate retention and water-quality benefits.”
Other recent research12 confirms that adding native prairie strips to the rural landscape can help reduce water pollution from farm fields. Prairie strips refers to small patches of land around the edges of crop fields where native, perennial grasses and flowers are allowed to grow wild. The results show that converting as little as 10 percent of crop areas into prairie strips:13,14
  • Reduces soil loss by 95%
  • Reduces phosphorous runoff by 77% and lowers nitrogen loss through runoff by 70%
  • Lowers nitrate concentrations in groundwater by 72%
  • Improves water retention
  • More than doubles the abundance of pollinators and birds

Regenerative and Biodynamic Farming to the Rescue

The only viable long-term answer is regenerative agriculture (which goes beyond mere sustainability), for which biodynamic farmingstands as a shining ideal. In addition to no-till, regenerative farming focuses on such practices and concepts as rotational grazing, improvement and building of topsoil (which includes cover cropping), the use of all-natural soil amendments and increasing biodiversity.
Aside from putting an end to water and soil pollution, regenerative agriculture is also needed to protect future generations from the devastating harm caused by pesticides. The amount of pesticides used both commercially and in residential areas has grown immensely since 1945.
More than 1 billion pounds are used each year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.15 According to a 2012 analysis,16 each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use.
Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory. As just one example, studies done by the Chinese government show that 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination.17 Earlier this year, two United Nations experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to phase out pesticides in farming altogether, noting that pesticides are in no way essential for the growing of food.18
The report highlighted developments in regenerative farming, where biology can completely replace chemicals, delivering high yields of nutritious food without detriment to the environment. “It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production,” they said.

Each Day’s Meal Can Help Bring Us Closer to the Tipping Point

demeter
You can help steer the agricultural industry toward safer, more sustainable systems by supporting local farmers dedicated to regenerative farming practices. The Demeter mark, indicative of Biodynamic certification, is the new platinum standard for high-quality foods raised and grown in accordance to the strictest environmental parameters possible.
Biodynamic is essentially organic on steroids, far surpassing it in terms of its environmental impact. Unfortunately, Biodynamic certified foods are still scarce in the U.S., unless you happen to live near a certified farm.
Most Biodynamic farms only sell locally or regionally. You can find a directory of certified farms on biodynamicfood.org. We hope to change that as we move forward, and building consumer demand is what will drive that change. Other U.S.-based organizations that can help you locate wholesome farm-fresh foods include the following:
The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.
Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.
EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce raw dairy products as well as grass fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass fed products.
Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.
The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass fed meats across the U.S.
This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass fed meats and many other goodies.
A national listing of farmers markets.
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.
The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.
If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund19 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.20 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sleep Deprivation assists Alzheimersand Illnesses

The Steep Cost of Sleep Deprivation






Story at-a-glance

  • Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness and increases your risk of numerous chronic diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
  • Recent research confirms that sleep is an important factor in children’s risk for diabetes, and that children need far more sleep than adults. Even at eight hours a night, children were at increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance when compared to those who slept up to 12 hours or more
  • Babies have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays an important role in memory solidification. Amyloid plaques, common in Alzheimer’s disease, also build up more quickly when you’re sleep deprived


By Dr. Mercola

The Steep Cost of Sleep Deprivation



alzheimers sleep deprivation

Story at-a-glance

  • Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness and increases your risk of numerous chronic diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
  • Recent research confirms that sleep is an important factor in children’s risk for diabetes, and that children need far more sleep than adults. Even at eight hours a night, children were at increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance when compared to those who slept up to 12 hours or more
  • Babies have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays an important role in memory solidification. Amyloid plaques, common in Alzheimer’s disease, also build up more quickly when you’re sleep deprived




By Dr. Mercola
Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness, which helps explain why lack of sleep has been shown to raise your risk of numerous chronic diseases. Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin — an antioxidant with powerful anticancer activity — which is diminished by lack of sleep, and to brain detoxification and rejuvenation, which only occur during deep sleep.
Cutting just one hour of sleep a night increases the expression of genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk and stress.1 A single night of poor sleep has also been shown to impair your physical movements and mental focus to a degree comparable to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent.2 In other words, lack of sleep can result in a level of impairment on par with someone who’s drunk.
Sleeping well is also important for maintaining emotional balance. Fatigue compromises your brain’s ability to regulate emotions, making you more prone to crankiness, anxiety and unwarranted emotional outbursts.3 Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep and, thereby, better health.
One of the worst things you can do is to reach for a sleeping pill. Research shows these drugs do not work and can have serious side effects. One analysis found that popular sleeping pills reduced the average time it takes to fall asleep by a mere 13 minutes compared to placebo, while increasing total sleep time by 11 minutes. Such results are typical.
Meanwhile, research,5 shows people who take sleeping pills have a 35 percent higher risk for certain cancers and are nearly four times as likely to die from any cause as nonusers. These are significant risks for mere minutes of additional sleep.

What Science Tells Us About the Ramifications of Sleep Deprivation

According to an analysis6 of available research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the weight of the evidence suggests adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health, with the Goldilocks’ Zone being right around eight hours.
They also determined that consistently sleeping less than six hours a night increases your risk for a wide range of psychological and physical effects. In addition to exacerbating any chronic ailment you may already have, poor sleep or lack of sleep also directly contributes to: 7
Increased risk of car accidents. In 2013, drowsy drivers caused 72,000 car accidents in which 800 Americans were killed; 44,000 were injured8
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease. African-American have a higher risk of heart disease than Caucasians and as much as 50 percent of this racial difference has been linked to blacks getting less sleep9
Premature birth; sleep deprived mothers have double the risk of delivering more than six weeks early than mothers who sleep well10
Reduced ability to learn or remember and lowered academic performance. Even infants have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays a role in solidifying memories11
Reduced ability to perform tasks and reduced productivity. According to recent research, workers sleeping less than six hours per night costs the U.S. $411 billion annually in lost productivity12
Reduced creativity at work or in other activities
Increased risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes
Increased susceptibility to stomach ulcers
Increased risk of cancer
Increased risk of high blood pressure
Increased risk of osteoporosis
Increased accidents at work
Reduced athletic performance
Premature aging by interfering with growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep
Increased risk of depression and anxiety.13 In one trial, 87 percent of depressed patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks
Decreased immune function
Increased risk of dying from any cause

Lack of Sleep Raises Your Risk of Obesity

A number of studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep can play a significant role in obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes — all of which are at epidemic levels not only in the U.S. but around the world. The link between sleep deprivation and weight gain is explained by the fact that sleep affects hunger-related hormones. Studies show poor sleep increases ghrelin, which results in increased hunger, while simultaneously inhibiting leptin, the hormone that signals your brain when you’re “full.”
This combination results in increased hunger and food cravings, especially for carbohydrates. According to one recent study,15,16,17getting one extra hour of sleep per night may reduce your waist size by one-third of an inch. Compared to people who averaged just under six hours of sleep per night, those who slept an average of 8.45 hours per night (plus or minus 40 minutes) were roughly 7 pounds lighter on average, and had a waist circumference averaging 1.6 inches smaller.
Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity18 found that infants who sleep less eat more, which places them at increased risk of future obesity and related health problems. Infants who, at the age of 16 months, slept less than 10 hours per day ate an average of 10 percent more calories than those who slept for at least 13 hours daily.19

Sleep Deprivation Ups Diabetes Risk in Both Young and Old

Recent research20 also confirms that sleep is an important factor in children’s risk for diabetes. A British team evaluated more than 4,500 children aged between 9 and 10 years of varying ethnic backgrounds. On average, their parents reported the children slept between eight and 12 hours, with the average sleep time being 10 hours.
Previous studies have shown children need more sleep than adults and this study confirms that view. Even at eight hours a night, children were at increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance when compared to those who slept the most.
According to senior author Christopher Owen, a professor of epidemiology at St. George’s University of London, for children, more sleep is better, and there’s really no upper threshold. He told The New York Times,21 “Increasing sleep is a very simple, low-cost intervention. We should be doing our utmost to make sure that children sleep for an adequate amount of time.”
Other research22 involving adults found that women who slept five hours or less per night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept for seven or eight hours each night. Another study23 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that after just four nights of sleep deprivation (sleep time was only 4.5 hours per night), study participants' insulin sensitivity was 16 percent lower and their fat cells' insulin sensitivity was 30 percent lower, rivaling levels seen in full-blown diabetics.
Senior author Matthew Brady, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, noted,24 "This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction. Fat cells need sleep, and when they don't get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy."

Sleep Deprivation and Dementia

Lack of sleep or poor sleep has also been linked to an increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the latter of which is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Researchers from University of California Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab discovered that a lack of sleep leaves you more vulnerable to buildup of amyloid beta proteins in the brain, associated with dementia.25Needless to say, chronic sleep deprivation is particularly risky.26
Problematically, amyloid beta deposits also hinder your ability to sleep, thus trapping you in a vicious cycle. Lead author Bryce Mander, Ph.D., neuroscientist from the University of California Berkeley was quoted in California Association UC Berkeley magazine, saying:27
“What was unknown was whether or not that’s just a side relationship that has nothing to do with the clinical symptoms of dementia, or if sleep disruption is part of why these toxic chemicals in the brain are causing memory loss. This is not to say that amyloid and other pathologies can’t impact memory independent of sleep. But it does suggest that part of the way it impacts memory is through sleep-dependent memory.”
As mentioned above, recent research shows that babies have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays an important role in memory solidification.28 Other research demonstrates that amyloid plaques, common in Alzheimer’s disease, build up more quickly in sleep deprived lab animals. Other important research discovered that sleep clears toxins from your brain during deep sleep, which is really important for the prevention of Alzheimer’s.29

Light Pollution and EMF Decrease Sleep Quality and Quantity

If you’ve ever gone camping, you’ve likely noticed a change in your sleep quality. Chances are you slept deeper and arose more rested. Aside from factors such as grounding to the earth and spending time in fresh air and nature, the most influential factor resulting in better sleep is the drastic reduction in exposure to artificial lights and electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
Exposure to light at night interrupts your circadian clock and melatonin level, both of which play a role in how deeply you sleep and how well-rested you feel the next day. LEDs and fluorescent lights are particularly troublesome because the blue light peaks are not balanced by red and near-infrared.30 Incandescent lights are safer, as they emit red and near-infrared wavelengths and very few blue wavelengths.
Even very dim light during sleep (such as that from a nightlight or alarm clock) can have a detrimental effect on your sleep quality and quantity, and can negatively affect your cognition the next day.31 Ideally, avoid electronic screens and predominantly blue light such as LEDs in the evening. Alternatively, use blue-blocking glasses. I’ve included a recommendation below for an inexpensive pair that work really well.
Similarly, EMFs emitted from wiring, electronic devices and Wi-Fi, for example, impair your melatonin secretion and harm your mitochondria by producing oxidative damage. EMF exposure has also been linked to neuronal changes that affect memory and the ability to learn.32 Importantly, research33,34,35,36 by Martin Pall, Ph.D., suggests microwave radiation from wireless technology may be a causative factor in Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and more. It can also seriously hamper your sleep.
As early as nearly 20 years ago it had been well-documented in over 15 studies37 that exposure to microwave radiation from cellphones, Wi-Fi, ELF and magnetic fields from improper wiring in your bedroom can disrupt melatonin production and deep sleep. There are far more studies confirming this now that can easily be documented by doing a pub med search.

EMF Remediation May Improve Your Sleep

Eliminating EMF exposure can be tricky, as most homes are flooded with electric currents and microwave radiation. Still, you can reduce it to some degree, depending on how far you’re willing to go. Here are some suggestions that may improve your sleep quality:
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi at night. Ideally turn off your Wi-Fi permanently and only used wired connections. 
  • You can also pull your circuit breaker to your bedroom before bed as this will decrease magnetic fields in your bedroom which will lower your melatonin. Ideally would be best to have a remote cut off switch to disconnect the power to your bedroom.
  • Avoid running electrical cords underneath your bed. Especially avoid plugging in any transformers (power supplies) within 6 feet of your bed
  • Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head, or ideally out of the room. Not only do they create pernicious electric fields but they also shine unnecessary light in your room. So how do you know what time it is? Good question. I picked up a talking clock38 designed for the visually impaired to solve the problem. If you have your phone in your room it simply MUST be in airplane mode if it is within 30 feet of your bed or you will be blasted with microwave radiation all night long
  • Avoid sleeping with your head against a wall that contains unshielded electric wiring and/or electric meters, circuit breaker panels, televisions or stereos on the other side. Move your bed 3 feet away from the wall, install an EMF faraday cage canopy over your bed to shield against microwaves and turn off the power breaker to your bedroom to minimize electric and magnetic fields
  • Avoid using electronic media for at least an hour or more before bed. If you do use them after sunset, be sure to use a blue light filter. The research is quite clear that people who use smartphones and computers, especially in the evening but also during the daytime, are more likely to report insomnia.39 One 2008 study40 revealed that people exposed to cellphone radiation for three hours before bedtime had more trouble falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep.

Other Tips That Can Help Improve Your Sleep Quality

Increasing the number of hours you sleep to eight each night and improving your quality of sleep may help to significantly reduce health risks associated with sleep deprivation. Below are several suggestions that may help.41,42 For a more comprehensive list of strategies, see my previous article, “Want a Good Night's Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed.”
Turn your bedroom into an oasis for sleep
Your bed is a place to sleep and rest comfortably. Anything else, such as work, computers, cells phones or watching television will reduce the quality of your sleep. Reduce any noisy interruptions from pets or outdoor activities. You might consider removing your pet from the bedroom or using a white noise machine to reduce interruptions from outdoor noises.
Establish a soothing pre-bedtime routine
Activities such as a warm bath, reading a good book or relaxation exercises may help you fall asleep easier. If you have trouble falling to sleep one night, it’s better to leave the bedroom and read quietly than to try even harder to fall asleep. I would strongly recommend using blue-blocking glasses if you do this, to prevent your reading light from further depressing your melatonin production.
Keep a consistent schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day allows your body to become accustomed to the routine. This helps regulate your circadian clock so you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Keep this routine even on the weekends.
Get plenty of bright sunlight exposure in the morning and at noon
Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning stops production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and signals to your body that it's time to wake up. Outdoor sunlight is best, so you might even want to take a quick walk outside.
Not only will this increase in physical activity help you sleep later, but taking your walk outdoors — either first thing in the morning or around noon when the sun is high — gives you more exposure to bright sunlight, which helps anchor your circadian clock.
At sundown, dim your lights (and/or use amber-colored glasses)
In the evening (around 8 p.m.) you'll want to dim your lights and turn off electronic devices. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. After sundown, shift to a low-wattage incandescent bulb with yellow, orange or red light if you need illumination.
A salt lamp illuminated by a 5-watt incandescent bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production. If using a computer or smartphone, install blue light-blocking software like Iris — an improved version of f.lux.
The easiest solution, however, is to use amber-colored glasses that block blue light. I found an Uvex model (S1933X) on Amazon that costs just $9 and eliminates virtually all blue light. This way you don't have to worry about installing programs on all your devices or buying special light bulbs for evening use. Once you have your glasses on, it doesn't matter what light sources you have on in your house.
Exercise daily
Your body thrives on exercise and movement. It reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Exercise will help you get to sleep more easily and sleep more soundly. However, your body also releases cortisol during exercise, which may reduce your melatonin secretion. Exercise at least three hours before bed, and earlier if you can.
Keep your room cool
The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 68 F. If your room is cooler or warmer, you may have a more restless night's sleep.43 During sleep your body's core temperature drops to the lowest level during a 24-hour period. The cooler your room is, the more conducive it may be to your body's natural drop in temperature.
Cutting just one hour of sleep a night increases the expression of genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk and stress.1 A single night of poor sleep has also been shown to impair your physical movements and mental focus to a degree comparable to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent.2 In other words, lack of sleep can result in a level of impairment on par with someone who’s drunk.
Sleeping well is also important for maintaining emotional balance. Fatigue compromises your brain’s ability to regulate emotions, making you more prone to crankiness, anxiety and unwarranted emotional outbursts.3 Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep and, thereby, better health.
One of the worst things you can do is to reach for a sleeping pill. Research shows these drugs do not work and can have serious side effects. One analysis found that popular sleeping pills reduced the average time it takes to fall asleep by a mere 13 minutes compared to placebo, while increasing total sleep time by 11 minutes. Such results are typical.
Meanwhile, research,5 shows people who take sleeping pills have a 35 percent higher risk for certain cancers and are nearly four times as likely to die from any cause as nonusers. These are significant risks for mere minutes of additional sleep.

What Science Tells Us About the Ramifications of Sleep Deprivation

According to an analysis6 of available research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the weight of the evidence suggests adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health, with the Goldilocks’ Zone being right around eight hours.
They also determined that consistently sleeping less than six hours a night increases your risk for a wide range of psychological and physical effects. In addition to exacerbating any chronic ailment you may already have, poor sleep or lack of sleep also directly contributes to: 7
Increased risk of car accidents. In 2013, drowsy drivers caused 72,000 car accidents in which 800 Americans were killed; 44,000 were injured8
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease. African-American have a higher risk of heart disease than Caucasians and as much as 50 percent of this racial difference has been linked to blacks getting less sleep9
Premature birth; sleep deprived mothers have double the risk of delivering more than six weeks early than mothers who sleep well10
Reduced ability to learn or remember and lowered academic performance. Even infants have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays a role in solidifying memories11
Reduced ability to perform tasks and reduced productivity. According to recent research, workers sleeping less than six hours per night costs the U.S. $411 billion annually in lost productivity12
Reduced creativity at work or in other activities
Increased risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes
Increased susceptibility to stomach ulcers
Increased risk of cancer
Increased risk of high blood pressure
Increased risk of osteoporosis
Increased accidents at work
Reduced athletic performance
Premature aging by interfering with growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep
Increased risk of depression and anxiety.13 In one trial, 87 percent of depressed patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks
Decreased immune function
Increased risk of dying from any cause

Lack of Sleep Raises Your Risk of Obesity

A number of studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep can play a significant role in obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes — all of which are at epidemic levels not only in the U.S. but around the world. The link between sleep deprivation and weight gain is explained by the fact that sleep affects hunger-related hormones. Studies show poor sleep increases ghrelin, which results in increased hunger, while simultaneously inhibiting leptin, the hormone that signals your brain when you’re “full.”
This combination results in increased hunger and food cravings, especially for carbohydrates. According to one recent study,15,16,17getting one extra hour of sleep per night may reduce your waist size by one-third of an inch. Compared to people who averaged just under six hours of sleep per night, those who slept an average of 8.45 hours per night (plus or minus 40 minutes) were roughly 7 pounds lighter on average, and had a waist circumference averaging 1.6 inches smaller.
Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity18 found that infants who sleep less eat more, which places them at increased risk of future obesity and related health problems. Infants who, at the age of 16 months, slept less than 10 hours per day ate an average of 10 percent more calories than those who slept for at least 13 hours daily.19

Sleep Deprivation Ups Diabetes Risk in Both Young and Old

Recent research20 also confirms that sleep is an important factor in children’s risk for diabetes. A British team evaluated more than 4,500 children aged between 9 and 10 years of varying ethnic backgrounds. On average, their parents reported the children slept between eight and 12 hours, with the average sleep time being 10 hours.
Previous studies have shown children need more sleep than adults and this study confirms that view. Even at eight hours a night, children were at increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance when compared to those who slept the most.
According to senior author Christopher Owen, a professor of epidemiology at St. George’s University of London, for children, more sleep is better, and there’s really no upper threshold. He told The New York Times,21 “Increasing sleep is a very simple, low-cost intervention. We should be doing our utmost to make sure that children sleep for an adequate amount of time.”
Other research22 involving adults found that women who slept five hours or less per night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept for seven or eight hours each night. Another study23 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that after just four nights of sleep deprivation (sleep time was only 4.5 hours per night), study participants' insulin sensitivity was 16 percent lower and their fat cells' insulin sensitivity was 30 percent lower, rivaling levels seen in full-blown diabetics.
Senior author Matthew Brady, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, noted,24 "This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction. Fat cells need sleep, and when they don't get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy."

Sleep Deprivation and Dementia

Lack of sleep or poor sleep has also been linked to an increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the latter of which is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Researchers from University of California Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab discovered that a lack of sleep leaves you more vulnerable to buildup of amyloid beta proteins in the brain, associated with dementia.25Needless to say, chronic sleep deprivation is particularly risky.26
Problematically, amyloid beta deposits also hinder your ability to sleep, thus trapping you in a vicious cycle. Lead author Bryce Mander, Ph.D., neuroscientist from the University of California Berkeley was quoted in California Association UC Berkeley magazine, saying:27
“What was unknown was whether or not that’s just a side relationship that has nothing to do with the clinical symptoms of dementia, or if sleep disruption is part of why these toxic chemicals in the brain are causing memory loss. This is not to say that amyloid and other pathologies can’t impact memory independent of sleep. But it does suggest that part of the way it impacts memory is through sleep-dependent memory.”
As mentioned above, recent research shows that babies have improved recall after napping, suggesting sleep plays an important role in memory solidification.28 Other research demonstrates that amyloid plaques, common in Alzheimer’s disease, build up more quickly in sleep deprived lab animals. Other important research discovered that sleep clears toxins from your brain during deep sleep, which is really important for the prevention of Alzheimer’s.29

Light Pollution and EMF Decrease Sleep Quality and Quantity

If you’ve ever gone camping, you’ve likely noticed a change in your sleep quality. Chances are you slept deeper and arose more rested. Aside from factors such as grounding to the earth and spending time in fresh air and nature, the most influential factor resulting in better sleep is the drastic reduction in exposure to artificial lights and electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
Exposure to light at night interrupts your circadian clock and melatonin level, both of which play a role in how deeply you sleep and how well-rested you feel the next day. LEDs and fluorescent lights are particularly troublesome because the blue light peaks are not balanced by red and near-infrared.30 Incandescent lights are safer, as they emit red and near-infrared wavelengths and very few blue wavelengths.
Even very dim light during sleep (such as that from a nightlight or alarm clock) can have a detrimental effect on your sleep quality and quantity, and can negatively affect your cognition the next day.31 Ideally, avoid electronic screens and predominantly blue light such as LEDs in the evening. Alternatively, use blue-blocking glasses. I’ve included a recommendation below for an inexpensive pair that work really well.
Similarly, EMFs emitted from wiring, electronic devices and Wi-Fi, for example, impair your melatonin secretion and harm your mitochondria by producing oxidative damage. EMF exposure has also been linked to neuronal changes that affect memory and the ability to learn.32 Importantly, research33,34,35,36 by Martin Pall, Ph.D., suggests microwave radiation from wireless technology may be a causative factor in Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and more. It can also seriously hamper your sleep.
As early as nearly 20 years ago it had been well-documented in over 15 studies37 that exposure to microwave radiation from cellphones, Wi-Fi, ELF and magnetic fields from improper wiring in your bedroom can disrupt melatonin production and deep sleep. There are far more studies confirming this now that can easily be documented by doing a pub med search.

EMF Remediation May Improve Your Sleep

Eliminating EMF exposure can be tricky, as most homes are flooded with electric currents and microwave radiation. Still, you can reduce it to some degree, depending on how far you’re willing to go. Here are some suggestions that may improve your sleep quality:
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi at night. Ideally turn off your Wi-Fi permanently and only used wired connections. 
  • You can also pull your circuit breaker to your bedroom before bed as this will decrease magnetic fields in your bedroom which will lower your melatonin. Ideally would be best to have a remote cut off switch to disconnect the power to your bedroom.
  • Avoid running electrical cords underneath your bed. Especially avoid plugging in any transformers (power supplies) within 6 feet of your bed
  • Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head, or ideally out of the room. Not only do they create pernicious electric fields but they also shine unnecessary light in your room. So how do you know what time it is? Good question. I picked up a talking clock38 designed for the visually impaired to solve the problem. If you have your phone in your room it simply MUST be in airplane mode if it is within 30 feet of your bed or you will be blasted with microwave radiation all night long
  • Avoid sleeping with your head against a wall that contains unshielded electric wiring and/or electric meters, circuit breaker panels, televisions or stereos on the other side. Move your bed 3 feet away from the wall, install an EMF faraday cage canopy over your bed to shield against microwaves and turn off the power breaker to your bedroom to minimize electric and magnetic fields
  • Avoid using electronic media for at least an hour or more before bed. If you do use them after sunset, be sure to use a blue light filter. The research is quite clear that people who use smartphones and computers, especially in the evening but also during the daytime, are more likely to report insomnia.39 One 2008 study40 revealed that people exposed to cellphone radiation for three hours before bedtime had more trouble falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep.

Other Tips That Can Help Improve Your Sleep Quality

Increasing the number of hours you sleep to eight each night and improving your quality of sleep may help to significantly reduce health risks associated with sleep deprivation. Below are several suggestions that may help.41,42 For a more comprehensive list of strategies, see my previous article, “Want a Good Night's Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed.”
Turn your bedroom into an oasis for sleep
Your bed is a place to sleep and rest comfortably. Anything else, such as work, computers, cells phones or watching television will reduce the quality of your sleep. Reduce any noisy interruptions from pets or outdoor activities. You might consider removing your pet from the bedroom or using a white noise machine to reduce interruptions from outdoor noises.
Establish a soothing pre-bedtime routine
Activities such as a warm bath, reading a good book or relaxation exercises may help you fall asleep easier. If you have trouble falling to sleep one night, it’s better to leave the bedroom and read quietly than to try even harder to fall asleep. I would strongly recommend using blue-blocking glasses if you do this, to prevent your reading light from further depressing your melatonin production.
Keep a consistent schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day allows your body to become accustomed to the routine. This helps regulate your circadian clock so you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Keep this routine even on the weekends.
Get plenty of bright sunlight exposure in the morning and at noon
Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning stops production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and signals to your body that it's time to wake up. Outdoor sunlight is best, so you might even want to take a quick walk outside.
Not only will this increase in physical activity help you sleep later, but taking your walk outdoors — either first thing in the morning or around noon when the sun is high — gives you more exposure to bright sunlight, which helps anchor your circadian clock.
At sundown, dim your lights (and/or use amber-colored glasses)
In the evening (around 8 p.m.) you'll want to dim your lights and turn off electronic devices. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. After sundown, shift to a low-wattage incandescent bulb with yellow, orange or red light if you need illumination.
A salt lamp illuminated by a 5-watt incandescent bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production. If using a computer or smartphone, install blue light-blocking software like Iris — an improved version of f.lux.
The easiest solution, however, is to use amber-colored glasses that block blue light. I found an Uvex model (S1933X) on Amazon that costs just $9 and eliminates virtually all blue light. This way you don't have to worry about installing programs on all your devices or buying special light bulbs for evening use. Once you have your glasses on, it doesn't matter what light sources you have on in your house.
Exercise daily
Your body thrives on exercise and movement. It reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Exercise will help you get to sleep more easily and sleep more soundly. However, your body also releases cortisol during exercise, which may reduce your melatonin secretion. Exercise at least three hours before bed, and earlier if you can.
Keep your room cool
The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 68 F. If your room is cooler or warmer, you may have a more restless night's sleep.43 During sleep your body's core temperature drops to the lowest level during a 24-hour period. The cooler your room is, the more conducive it may be to your body's natural drop in temperature.