Do you want to lose weight?
Want to handle your kids with a calm, Zen-like nature?
Want to get randy when your partner looks at you across the room?
Looking to nail your presentation and that overdue raise?
Sleep deprivation is associated with a long list of nasties we all know about. Yet, somehow finding deep, REM slumber seems as elusive as achieving enlightenment. Here are 8 tips for your nighttime regimen to knock out and stay out.
Have a nighttime regimen…the right one.
Nurture yourself into dreamland because like sex, you have to create ambiance and
send subtle signals to your body. For example:
Give yourself the permission to sleep and unwind. Our fast-paced society says you are supposed to be “on” all the time. Try “not being on”. Sleep is like a Fairy Nod-Off Mother that waves a magic wand that literally heals you. But she needs permission for Her free gift.
Nutrient Deficiencies. You can’t sleep well if you are deficient in magnesium and calcium. You need both- one puts you down and the other keeps you down. Yet some functional doctors estimate that as high as 70% of the population is deficient in magnesium. Take both before bedtime, preferably in powder form so it
doesn’t upset your stomach. If you can handle pills, consider magnesium glycinate.
Night Devices. Please end the love affair with your mistress… Miss Technology. Take a good look at your relationship with cell phones, computers, and television. These devices emit blue light that interferes with melatonin release at night, which is the main hormone inducing sleepy time. Blue light in the morning- great! Blue light in the evening- not so great. If the relationship is too juicy, wear fuse or blue blocker glasses and change the settings on your devices to minimize exposure.
Imbalanced blood sugars, either too high or too low are not great for sleep. In the craze of intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets, you may find yourself hungry at 3 am. The relaxing neurotransmitter, serotonin, is released when you consume carbohydrates, so you may want more carbohydrates in the evening. Switch your breakfast for dinner and see if you sleep better (and have more energy for that morning workout). Or just eat more at dinner. If you're waking up shaky, sweaty, and a bit anxious; back off on the sugar and grains.
Caffeine. This one is obvious, but you would be surprised how many people drink caffeine past 2 pm. Stop if you're sleep is too late or irregular. It takes many people at least 6-8 hours for the caffeine to clear your body. If you need a perk at 2pm, try 20 burpies, your core will thank you.
Booze is the wolf clothed as sheep. It may make you drowsy initially, but alcohol will disturb the quality and quantity of sleep. Even one drink is enough to disturb brain waves, which means you wake up the next day not understanding why you’re so damn-tired-despite-going-to bed-at nine. This is a hard one for me too, as I love wine at night. Let's find another outlet.
Biochemistry. If you're already taking melatonin, GABA, CBD, or L-theanine, consider consulting a functional expert as these are just band-aids to a potentially deeper issue. Have them check your neurotransmitters, progesterone, and/or cortisol levels. An imbalance of any of these can lead to chronic insomnia and does require further analysis.
Bored with my writing? Great. Go get some sleep.
Engaged? Contact me here.
Shannon is a registered dietitian and functional nutritionist with a penchant for provocative topics, almond butter, and local theater.