Updated: Sep 23
Hi friends! Have you ever considered how well you sleep?
Or how much sleep your body actually needs?
Quality is just as important as Quantity.
Do you notice when you wake up after even just one bad nights' sleep, how different you feel the next day? Imagine chronic bad sleep.
Lack of sleep causes a cascade of symptoms to erupt inside your body. Here are just a few:
#1 Your body perceives inadequate sleep as an actual Physical Stressor. This type of stress puts a strain on our adrenals through HPA-axis dysfunction. What is HPA-axis dysfunction? Your HPA-axis is the cycle of communication between your Hypothalamus - Pituitary Gland - Adrenal Gland. These are t
he big dogs when it comes to turning on our 'fight or flight' stress responses when we need them the most. However, when we don't have the proper sleep, the communication can get disrupted and too much cortisol (among other things) can be released into the body.
#2 It drives up your appetite. Your hypothalamus is the master clock that regulates your hunger signals. If the clock is off and now you've woken up tired or exhausted, your body not only will stop the signal to the 'I'm full' hormone but your body will want foods that are high in sugar to blast some quick energy into the body to keep it going throughout the day. Cravings for bread, salt, and sugar in the afternoon anyone?
#3 It Weakens the Immune System. If our bodies are not getting enough "rest and digest", it cannot properly keep up with fighting any bacteria, virus, or pathogen that may enter our body.
#4 It causes Increased Insulin Resistance. When our cortisol levels are high for too long, it leads to chronic high blood sugar. Our bodies then stop being able to either respond or release enough insulin. When this happens it can damage the thyroid and/or turn into diabetes in our body. Just one night of poor sleep can decrease insulin sensitivity by 33%.
These are just a few things that can happen due to poor sleep! But hope is not lost if you are experiencing a bout of sleeplessness. If you received my last newsletter, you know that I adopted a cute little puppy. As cute as h
e is, waking every 2 hours for months on end with no chances to take naps during the day definitely takes its toll.
Luckily for me, I have some amazing ways to get better sleep! Below are some tips for you as well, whether you are also super sleep deprived or find that you could just use some really yummy deep night's rest.
Tip Number 1: Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before sleep. That master clock in the Hypothalamus I mentioned above is signaled by.... light. When it gets dark, it signals the release of Melatonin (the sleep hormone) from
your pineal gland. This is why we need more sleep in the winter months.
Tip Number 2: Establish a regular bedtime. Our bodies LOVE being on a schedule. So, even on nights where you aren't particularly tired, go lay in bed anyways. Take a book with you or spend some time journaling in your gratitude journal.
Tip Number 3: Stop eating several hours before bedtime. Eating activates the digestive system and raises your blood sugar. Both, the energy it takes to digest and the rise in blood sugar disrupts sleep.
Tip Number 4: Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine triggers cortisol from the adrenals and tells that wonderful pineal gland not to produce melatonin while alcohol interferes with your REM cycle which is needed for healing the body.
Now this one is bio-individual (meaning everyone is different). I know some people who can drink a cup of coffee and bam, they are out. Myself, I cannot have caffeine past 4 or 5 PM or I have problems going to bed. Listen to your body and find what works best for you.
Tip Number 5: Exercise earlier in the day (with the exception of low impact workouts eg Restorate yoga). Exercise is amazing for your body but if you do it later in the evening, it increases cortisol, increases your heart rate, and drops your blood sugar making sleep a bit difficult.
Tip Number 6: Create a bedtime ritual. Your body needs a signal to know that you are getting ready for bed. For me, I always brush my teeth, turn on my fan, spray my bed with a nighttime spray and grab a book if I'm not sleepy yet.
Other options you can do:
Epsom Salt Baths
Diffusing Essential Oils
Restorative Yoga/ Yoga Nidra
My bedroom is set up to be my sanctuary. I diffuse oils, spray my bed, never turn on the tv, have low lighting, and have super soft comfy sheets so when I climb into bed it's not long before I zonk right out.
For 30 days, I challenge you to change up your sleeping space to make it more relaxing and try at least TWO of the things I listed above.
"Most illness is just stress from not living in harmony." -Dr. Bruce H. Lipton
I'd love to hear about which ones you tried and how they helped you get better sleep. Email me your stories at email@example.com.
If you know anyone who could benefit from these tidbits of knowledge from my newsletters please feel free to let me know of their email address or have them sign up on my website home page: www.feelgoodnourishment.com. I adore sharing my knowledge!
In Health & Wellness,