So tired to the point of exhaustion. This is one of the most common symptoms heard by a Holistic Nutritionist. Why is everybody so tired? The answers often reveal that they have more responsibility than appears humanly possible to manage. Sleep deprivation has been indicated in some serious diseases, such as heart disease and obesity, not to mention a decline in productivity and mental focus. Maybe we are all taking the “super-woman” approach just a tad-bit too seriously!
Is this you?
- Waking up still tired
- Unable to think straight without caffeine
- Need high-carb snacks, MORE caffeine, or naps to get through the afternoon
- Burning the midnight oil because you’re too wired to sleep
- Alcohol or sleep aids are sometimes used to unwind
Pretty soon, you find yourself caught in a seemingly endless cycle of exhaustion and poor nutrition, desperate for the energy and vitality that you once had.
Hormones and Sleep
When your hormones are in optimal balance, your body begins to reset itself to a healthy weight that you are meant to be at. Understand that your hormones play a huge role in your ability to sleep, metabolize and repair.
Your adrenal glands (roughly the size of a walnut) are responsible for a tremendous amount of duties. When they are functioning optimally, these glands can help you feel energized and relaxed. The adrenals produce cortisol, and DHEA, and contribute to the production of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and so much more. Chronic, persistent stress can throw this gland out of whack, sending your cortisol levels into hyper drive, making quality sleep difficult to achieve.
(Read more about Chronic Stress and the effects of Cortisol here)
Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep/wake cycle, is an internal clock that regulates your feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout a 24-period. This sleep-wake cycle plays a role in your energy levels, which tends to rise and dip throughout the day. Most often, people feel the urge to sleep between 1-3pm in the afternoon – the classic hour for a sweet treat and another coffee to keep you going. This can be connected to a dip in cortisol levels, as well as your natural sleep/wake cycle. If your body is not on a regulated sleep cycle, achieving a balanced body and healthy weight loss can become next to impossible.
So what can you do about it? Take action! Make a few simple changes, one step at a time and you’ll be on your way to restful sleep in no time.
How to catch better Zzz’s:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed at roughly the same hour each night, and wake up at the same hour each morning. Our bodies prefer a well-regulated and predictable schedule, especially when it comes to sleep.
- Get moving! Exercising each day, even for just 20 minutes a day, will help to burn energy and help to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Walking, jogging, biking, squats, lunges etc are all FREE so there is no excuse – get out there!
- Expose yourself to sunshine upon waking. According to the National Sleep Foundation, when you are exposed to light first thing in the AM, this triggers your body to slow down the production of Melatonin (the hormone that make you feel sleepy) This resets your body clock for the day.
- Eliminate caffeine intake after 12pm. Excess caffeine (in excess of 2 cups/day) can inhibit melatonin production, making you feel wired when you should naturally feel tired.
- Turn your lights down low. A few hours before bedtime, keep your lights dimmed, as this can trigger melatonin production.
- Get yourself an infuser. An essential oil infuser is a simple and inexpensive addition to your bedroom that can be a very powerful natural sleep aid – when you use the right essential oil. Adding DOTerra lavender essential oil to your infuser each night can naturally sedate you with its heavenly scent! Try it, it really works.
- Power down! Avoid watching action packed TV and turn off all electronics. We live in a society of constant stimulation, via TV, news, work, social media – and the fact that our phones have become our 24-hour round-the-clock assistant doesn’t help! Try to power down at least one hour before bed, to allow your system a chance to recognize how tired you really are.
Join me on May 27th at 1pm, for my newest Spreecast: WHY YOU CANT LOSE WEIGHT – an education packed seminar that will have you walk away INSTANTLY with more knowledge about your individual body. We will be discussing topics such as Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Hydration and the adrenal/thyroid connection. All of these play a major role in your ability to achieve lasting weight loss. Even if you cant make the time, make sure to sign up so you can watch the replay at your convenience 🙂
Cheers to better rest!
Written By: Vanessa Fioretti, RHN
Jenn Pike, The Simplicity Project, a simple no nonsense approach to losing weight and changing your body forever!, I C Publishing, 2015
National Sleep Foundation, How to keep your body clock on track, https://sleep.org/articles/keep-body-clock-on-track/, 05/24/15
Aviva Romm MD, Sleep well, naturally: 7 Steps to great Zzz’s, http://avivaromm.com/sleep-well-7-natural-tips-for-getting-great-zzzzz, 05/24/15