Better sleep? Tun off, tune out and clean up

If bedtime means a frustrating night of sleeplessly tossing and turning, Red Deer’s author Angela Hobbs has some advice.

If bedtime means a frustrating night of sleeplessly tossing and turning, Red Deer’s author Angela Hobbs has some advice.

The woman behind Sleep-Powered Wellness: Better Bedrooms for Turbocharged Zzzzs says as many as 40 per cent of us may not be getting a decent night’s sleep.

And many times, those trying to find a way to get some shut-eye are looking in the wrong places, she said.

One of the culprits many don’t even consider are the plethora of wireless devices found in the modern home.

From wireless routers and cordless phones to utility meters and baby monitors, our homes are filled with electronics that a number of studies have linked to sleep problems and other health issues.

“It becomes an awful lot of wireless and we need to be very aware of that because it does elevate the heart rate and change the organization of the sleep stages,” she said.

Hobbs got an unwelcome introduction to the effects the home environment can have on health when she moved into a newly renovated home in Ontario about 13 years ago.

Within six weeks, she had become so ill she couldn’t stand or complete a sentence. Within a year she was in a wheelchair.

“I was really getting no help from the medical community at all,” she said, adding she was diagnosed with everything from brain tumors to depression.

It was only after moving to a new home in Calgary, that her symptoms began to disappear.

She now believes that among the problems were airborne chemicals left over from poor renovations, the nearby presence of a broadcasting transmitter and other issues.

Within a couple of years she began working and her experiences led to her first book The Sick House Survival Guide: Simple Steps to Healthier Homes.

Her experiences led her to research what it is in the environment that seems to be making some people so ill, which led to the age-old problem of sleepless nights.

There are six main factors at work, she says.

Wireless signals are one, but noise, electricity, excessive light, chemicals and air pollutants also play roles.

Those factors can have a cumulative impact on sleep and health.

Hobbs believes many aren’t aware of some of the simple things they can do to improve their home environment.

Wireless signals promote stress. It is not as big an issue during the day, but when the body is trying to shut down for rest, stress is not good.

Hobbs recommends turning off wireless devices or putting phones in airplane mode. If turning off isn’t practical keep them at least six metres from your head at bedtime, she suggests.

Many people who have come to her with sleep issues have managed to improve their rest by making a few simple changes.

For a long time her sleep work was more of a personal interest, but she is now offering consulting services to those looking for sleep help.

She also runs a strategy consulting business with her husband Lawrence that helps organizations map out future direction.

“It’s kind of becoming a parallel career,” she said of her sleep work.

“It’s certainly been growing an awful lot,” she says.

“There’s a lot of people with sleep problems. And I’m more than happy to help them figure it out. And most of the time I can.

“Usually it’s just something that needs to be turned off, moved or adjusted.”

Sometimes it can be as little as moving your head to the other side of the bed, or changing sheets to a different fabric or stopping the use of a certain cleaning detergent.

Even overly scented sheets can be too much for some.

“We think that our bodies and brains see things the same way. And they actually see things very, very differently.”

The brain may register a nice fresh scent, but the body finds itself coping with the unwanted chemicals behind the “lemon fresh.”

“A lot of the time we look everywhere but our bedrooms for answers.

“And much of the time the answers to sleep problems are right there in the bedroom.

“What I try to do is help people look at their bedroom and really see their surroundings through their body’s eyes as opposed to their mind’s eye.”

For information go to www.sleeppoweredwellness.com.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has been climbing up since Jan. 20 at Red Deer's Olymel meat processing plant. (File photo by Advocate Staff)
Some Olymel workers return for training, plant reopening date not set

Union calls for delay of opening as workers fear for safety

Artist Lorne Runham's COVID Bubbles abstract work (shown here as a detail) can be viewed in an online art show on the Red Deer Arts Council's website until April 18. (Contributed image).
Art created in Red Deer in the time of COVID can be viewed in new online show

The show by members of the Red Deer Arts Council runs until April 18

Activists against open-pit coal mining in the Rocky Mountains hung a protest banner outside Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s Rocky Mountain House constituency office. Exploratory coal leases in the Nordegg area were recently granted by Nixon’s UCP government, and many local residents say they feel betrayed, as they had been promised eco-tourism opportunities by Clearwater County. (Contributed photo).
Anti-coal mining activists post banner on Environment Minister’s Rocky constituency office

Activists call for clean water protection, ban on strip mining

Justice Anne Molloy, from top left, John Rinaldi, Dr. Scott Woodside and accused Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference in this courtroom sketch on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Verdict expected today in Toronto van attack trial

Alek Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018

(Image from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer students enter Skills competition

Regional competition begins this month

UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)
MLA Ron Orr: Benchmarks were achieved but goalposts were moved

Orr responds to concerns, calls on province to fully open Step 2

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors ceremony as part of Super Bowl 55 Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Annual NFL women’s forum enhancing career opportunities

When Sam Rapoport envisioned conducting virtually the NFL’s fifth annual Women’s Career… Continue reading

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), speaks during a news conference with Toshiro Muto, left, CEO of Tokyo 2020, after a council meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP)
Fans from abroad unlikely for postponed Tokyo Olympics

Olympics scheduled to open on July 23

FILE - Singer Jhene Aiko poses for a portrait on Dec. 7, 2020, in Los Angeles. Aiko will host the 63rd GRAMMY Awards on March 14. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jhene Aiko to host Grammy Award premiere ceremony

63rd annual Grammy ceremony set for March 14

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa on November 3, 2020. The Heritage Department is committing $40 million to a “COVID-safe events fund” designed to encourage arts and cultural plans to move forward in the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Heritage minister unveils COVID-19 events fund for arts and cultural sector

Financial support tops out at $100,000 per eligible applicant

opinion
Opinion: Crisis in long-term care must include data-driven change

More than 19,000 people in Canada have died from COVID-19 – more… Continue reading

The Dawe family home in the Michener Hill subdivision in Red Deer. This house was designed and built by Robert G. Dawe, a local engineer, in 1911 and has remained in the family ever since. (Contributed photo)
Michael Dawe: 65 years of Red Deer history

As a major milestone birthday looms, I thought that it might be… Continue reading

Most Read