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This Integrative Medicine Doc Has a Plan for Your Best Sleep

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best sleep (Image: Dr. Tiffany Lester)

Dr. Tiffany Lester has the Rx for the busy professional’s best sleep. According to Dr. Lester, it may take only three weeks, and it is an easy-to-use guide for anyone willing to commit. It’s called The Unconscious Workout, a 21-day digital program developed by the Cincinnati-based integrative medicine doctor in an attempt to bring better sleep to anyone in serious need.

She developed the plan after her patients kept returning with the same issues. Whether migraines, back pains, or other ailments, her prescribed medication or supplements worked—but only for a short time. Soon she noticed a pattern: many complained about not sleeping enough.

“If you’re not sleeping well, then nothing else is working,” she recently told Black Enterprise in a phone interview.

The online program is similar to a high-intensity interval training workout or HIIT, where there are periods of high action and low action all coming together to get you into better shape. The Unconscious Workout works in this same way, where every stage is crucial.

“There is a reason you have a warm-up and a cool-down, a working hard and a lower intensity. Every stage is essential,” she says. “In a HIIT workout, if you skip a cool down or if you’re not doing the stretching, you may get injured. It’s just like if you’re not dreaming—there’s not enough REM sleep that’s restoring and detoxing your body and that’s when you get into trouble.”

“Many sleep disorders happen because we don’t get enough REM sleep,” she says. This is the rapid eye movement period, which happens every 90 minutes as we sleep. It is akin to a high intensity exercise: quick, intense bursts, yet highly effective. Dr. Lester notes that it’s not about sleeping longer, but sleeping better.

Each week, the Unconscious Workout builds upon the previous week:

  1. Week One: This is the foundation. It tackles how to create a sleep sanctuary, waking up without an alarm clock, picking the perfect sleep outfit, and making a caffeine curfew.
  2. Week Two: The second week incorporates more science, which includes why sleeping pills can do more harm than good and why melatonin doesn’t work for everyone.
  3. Week Three: This week serves up the doctor’s prescription, including what to eat for dinner to sleep soundly, the perfect temperature for your bedroom, and the right time of day to exercise (usually early morning).

There is a basic course and a deluxe package, which gets clients a personalized prescription of sleep methods according to how they answer a questionnaire.

Dr. Lester is no stranger to lack of zzz’s. Before she started taking her sleep seriously, the training to become an M.D. took a toll, causing her to fall asleep at the wheel many times. She’s not the only one—a recent poll by The National Sleep Foundation found that 37% of people confessed that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel, and 60% admitted they have driven while sleepy.

Sleep is now so scarce for the current high-tech, 24-hour way of life, that Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution, stated that we are in a national sleep crisis.

This is why Dr. Lester believes her program could benefit many. “It doesn’t take the body long to reset, once we’re doing the right thing,” she says. Our dreams to return to good, restorative sleep could be realized in as little as a week. But she noted it could take longer if there are other health issues.

“We have such a busy ‘Go! Go! Go!’ society that it’s a badge of honor if we don’t sleep,” she says. “I really hope that we can shift to letting play time, down time, and resting, become a badge of honor.”

Find out more about Dr. Lester’s The Unconscious Workout.