April 23-29th was National Sleep Awareness Week and if you missed the 7 Day Sleep improvement program that I posted daily on my Facebook, then don’t lose sleep over it! I’ve re-capped it all for you here!
#7daystobettersleep #sleeponabear (more on that hashtag later)
During the week long program, I uncovered well researched, new, and informative tips to help you improve your sleep to improve almost every single aspect of health in your life (including fat loss). No need to sleep on it and wait until National Sleep Awareness Week next year! You can start this tonight!
Sleep Awareness Tip #1 – Avoid being an Unpaid Shift Worker
Do you purposefully stay up late and end up sleeping too late in the day? This is what I call an “unpaid shift worker.” And sadly, research on shift workers is heart-breaking when it comes to the damage they are doing to their body.
Shift work disorder is associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal problems, cancer, depression, heart disease, excessive sleepiness and accidents, and decreased productivity.
–“Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market – it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters WHEN you invest.”
– neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary
Our inborn circadian rhythms (inner body clock) has been shown to do the most “damage cleanup” during the hours of 10pm-2am, known as the Hours of Power!
Still think sleeping from midnight to 8am counts? “Im still getting my 8 hours”, you say? Think again.
Critical hormones are released at earlier evening hours such as melatonin and HGH (human growth hormone). THEREFORE, if you are looking to age gracefully and stay younger looking longer, you might want to make time for these, at the right time. HGH is your “young and fun” hormone, and it’s secreted it’s strongest with adequate rest during the “hours of power”.
–ANTI-AGING ONLY HAPPENS WITH SLEEP, BUT LACK OF SLEEP CAN MAKE YOU AGE FASTER THAN YOU SHOULD!!!–
“But Jodelle, I simply just can’t go to bed that early! I’m not tired at that time…what can I do?”
How to make the “hours of power” a happen for you and avoid being an unpaid shift worker:
1. Firstly, don’t be OCD about 10pm but aim for going to bed within a couple hours of when the sun has set. That means a little later in the summer, and a little earlier in the winter. Our creator knows that our body needs seasons and rhythms, so listen and pay attention to nature. THIS WEEK, your Challenge is to turn in just 30 minutes to one hour earlier.
2. Very important!!! You must avoid missing “the window”. There is a window of sleepiness for most people from 8-10 but stressed individuals can get a second wind at 10pm causing them to stay up later than they should. A good way to ensure you go to bed with that “deep sleepy feeling” is by turning the lights down to what I call “dim to none” so that your natural release of melatonin kicks in. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK, Turn off all electronic devices after dinner or at worst, leave them on in airplane mode and use dimming software such as “night shift” on your devices. Airplane mode will allow you to only access certain things and keep you from constantly being notified, so you can wind down.
For more on this, check out the Facebook LIVE PODCAST that Bunny Gilchrist and I just did entirely on sleep Awareness! And don’t forget to leave your questions and comments below
Sleep awareness tip #2 – Set 2 curfews….
1. Caffeine Curfew (and yes this includes decaf coffee and chocolate). While everybody is different, by now you should know if caffeine keeps you up at night or not, and chances are if even the slightest amount keeps you from those crucial zzzzz’s then set your curfew according to this rule: Caffiene has an 8 hour half-life, meaning, if you for example drink a cup of coffee as a pick-me-up at 3pm, by 11pm half the the caffeine from that one cup is still circulating through you. If this is the reason you can dance a jig at 11pm instead of feel sleepy then perhaps setting a caffeine curfew of “no caffeine after 11am” would be a super healthy sleep fixer! If though, you seem to be that one tough broad who can pound a carafe of coffee just before crashing into bed and sleep like a long haul trucker at a roadside stop, then just promise me you will drink lots of water to rehydrate after all that jo. YOUR CHALLENGE: set a curfew that leaves you sleepy by the time the sun is down and ready to wind down. The right time is different for everyone but be mindful that this also includes dark chocolate and pills or supplements that contain caffeine.
2. Set an electronic curfew. Blue light emitted by electronic device including smartphones, tvs, tablets, computers, and even bright house lighting can thwart melatonin production (your crucial sleep hormone). YOUR CHALLENGE: SET A CURFEW THAT AFTER THE SUN IS DOWN, YOU POWER DOWN ELECTRONICS.
“But Jodelle what will I do if I’m not on my phone?”
This really cool invention called books are good. Talking to other people in your house and family also good. Actually being face to face instead of on Facebook – very good. Maybe a cold shower or a hot bath. Singing little ones to sleep and telling stories. Perhaps going to bed early and snuggling would be nice and has many more benefits than electronic radiation and blue lights. In addition, having a electronic curfew keeps constant notifications from enticing you to be on your device instead of relaxing your mind and body. YOUR CHALLENGE: set your electronic curfew to at least 90 minutes before you plan to sleep (ideally no later than 10pm). This will give your body ample time to make melatonin and fall asleep easily!
Sleep Awareness Week Tip #3 – What about fat loss?
It simply will not happen without sleep. Period. You positively CANNOT out-eat or out-train poor sleep.
MEANING: no matter how clean you eat, or how much you exercise, your health will continue to decline if you continue avoiding addressing your sleep. And, your fat loss results will stall for good UNTIL you address the sleep. How so??
Even just one night of poor sleep can lower your best efforts towards eating healthy by lowering your inhibitions just like drinking alcohol does, causing you to eat foods you normally wouldn’t. Lack of sleep even by just sleeping one hour less can increase the hunger hormone ghrelin which keeps you ravenously hungry throughout the following day.
And get this: A study from Stanford cited that when individuals are chronically sleep deprived, leptin (our “I’m-satisfied-and-have-lots-of-extra-stored-body-fat-I-can-burn-for-energy-appetite regulating” hormone is SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASED, leading to what’s known as “Leptin Resistance”. This type of resistance is where your brain does not receive signals that it is full and makes it hard to resist overeating before bed, and resisting junk food.
Your brain is looking for calories to keep everything in check when it’s sleep deprived and trying to make everything work in order. Quick convenient calories like chips, ice cream, and other crack-open-a-box or bag are generally the fastest and your body screams for them. It’s all about survival.
What’s more…….research also has found that higher than normal activity in the amygdala part of the brain was associated with more emotional eating, or the motivation to eat in those sleep deprived. AND….the frontal lobe or cortex responsible for good decisions, SELF CONTROL, and reasoning was blunted from sleep deprivation meaning your inhibitions are lowered and you eat things you normally wouldn’t. (Like your co-workers crappy donuts they insist on bringing daily.)
Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago calls lack of sleep “THE ROYAL ROUTE TO OBESITY!!!”
So now that we know we have to get our sleep back in check, we also may need a Leptin kick in the pants! YOUR CHALLENGE: this is where my “Brain Boosting Leptin Protocol” meal plan would by extremely helpful and is becoming quite popular! Download it from my shop page at today as a complete guide to help you not only sleep better but lose fat too! Also, making more time for sleep will increase more fat loss and less cravings for food so challenge yourself to a 30 minute earlier bedtime tonight than even Tip #1!
Sleep Awareness Week! Tip #4 – Get lit.
Sun-lit with sunlight daily, that is. Get into the habit of getting at least 10-30 minutes of sunlight at some point in your day but preferably at the first part of your day. YOUR CHALLENGE IS AS SIMPLE AS SITTING IN THE SUN! Sunlight builds serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for building melatonin (the critical sleep hormone) later on to help you fall asleep. No sunlight=no serotoin=no melatonin=no sleepy.
Rainy day? That’s okay….going outside standing on the earth and looking towards the direction of the sun under an umbrella can still benefit your serotonin. The eyes have cones and rods that absorb even low light from sun and will retrain your circadian clock to tell your body to make serotonin in the day and make melatonin at night.
Soak up the sun and sleep well my friends!
Sleep Awareness Tip #5 – Give your gut a rest.
Your gut (stomach, bowels, intestines, poop holding tank, you get the idea…) health is essential when it comes to good sleep. 90% of all of your serotonin (sleep hormone pre-cursor) is make in the cells of the mucosa lining in your intestinal wall ….and with a issues like “Leaky Gut”, IBS, IBD, Crohns, or just an overactive or irritated bloated-feeling colon, most likely your cells are too damaged to make serotonin, therefore like we discussed yesterday, you are not making the crucial melatonin (sleep hormone). This is where something called Intermittent Fasting can help, namely, the fasting you do in the night from dinner to “breaking your fast” (not necessary breakfast).
Intermittent Fasting is all in the name. You intermittently go without food so that the colon can rest and repair damage, freed from constantly digesting food. 12 hours up to 24 hours of fasting can be vastly beneficial not only for your gut but for the damage control and repair aspects of your body, and even can help many improve sleep.
TODAY’S TIP: try a 12 hour fast, at least. Designate a time in the evening such as 8pm when you stop eating completely, and do not consume any food until your first meal the next morning at 8am. Try this for several nights in a row to see a vast improvement in your sleep and digestive health.
Also, many sleep disturbances can also be due to folks eating too close to bedtime, snacking all through the night, drinking alcoholic beverages too close to bed, and eating heavy meals at dinner time. These habits can cause your blood sugar to spike, crash, and wake you up on high alert in the middle of the night. Digestive disturbances can also cause gas, bloating, and even “the urge to purge” in the night, when your digestive system is supposed to be resting.
Here are some tips to consider to help you give the gut a rest:
– Eating a late dinner after a long day? Think again. If you are home too late, it’s better to skip eating and go to bed, using that time to intermittingly fast.
– Hypoglycemic or have blood sugar issues before bed or during the night, or simply have to have a bedtime snack? If you have to eat something consider coconut oil or coconut butter only since the MCTs in them will balance the blood sugar, and not effect insulin preventing a crash later, in addition to not requiring bile to be produced so the liver can rest.
– For best sleep health, what eat during the day matters. Avoid carbs in the earlier part of the day and save them for your sunset dinner (because we should be eating with the setting sun to match circadian rhythm) to induce a sedative feeling for ample sleep.
– Try my Intermittent Fasting Plan on my shop page to help give your gut a rest AND be a rapid way to lose fat fast.
Challenge yourself today by allowing some space between meals both during the day, and especially a long break during the night.
Sleep Awareness Tip #6 – De-clutter and Declare your Bedroom a Sacred Space.
Take a look at your bedroom for moment. Does it induce a feeling of relaxation, or a feeling of dread, panic, stress, and chaos? If your bedroom looks like the Red Cross should be called in to help in the recovery of your bedroom furniture underneath mounds of daily debris, it’s no wonder your sleep is suffering.
It’s hard to relax and enjoy your sacred sleep space when it’s packed to the brim of things that need to be dealt with. That’s way, today’s tip is to toss out everything in the bedroom that stresses you out. Even if it’s as simple as putting it in a separate room that you don’t normally frequent and dealing with it another day, or as drastic as taking it all to goodwill, you will do your sleep a favor by declaring your bedroom a de-cluttered space.
And here’s a few other tips to making your bedroom of a haven of relaxation:
– No wifi routers or electronics in the bedroom. If your room is starting to look like a mini RadioShack, the machines have to go. Also, no bright colored alarm clocks which can emit blue-light disturbing your sleep hormone, melatonin.
– Use black out curtains to block outside artificial light such as street lights and cars driving by.
– Keep the room temp no higher than 68 degrees for optimal sleep.
– Replace old pillows and comforters with new hypoallergenic or even organic replacements to end nighttime sinus and allergy issues that can keep you up sneezing when you should be snoozing.
– If you sleep next a human freight train, consider a noise-making fan to block out the snoring and other nighttime noises. Or simply purchase a pair of good quality ear-plugs.
– DO NOT SLEEP WITH SMARTPHONES ANYWHERE IN THE BEDROOM OR NEAR YOUR BODY. The World Health Organization has classified electromagnetic field radiation like what is emitted from smart devices as a possible Group 2B carcinogen, or cancer-inducing agent.
– Keep the lights ambient, dark and low throughout the day in your sacred space to signal your brain that this room is for two things: sleep, and…well, I’m sure you know the other one.
– Place some drops of lavender oil on your pillows and blankets or dab behind your ears to help induce sleep once you enter your sacred space.
Sleep Awareness Tip #7 – Safe-Snoozing Supplements
Deficiencies in certain nutrients are all too common these days, and can be an underlying cause for insomnia and sleep-related issues. So to help in your quest for better sleep, I’ve compiled a list of the most effective and beneficial supplements that can boost essential nutrients that you could be lacking in:
*Disclaimer: Please consult with your health care practitioner before implementing any supplement. These recommendations are for educational and informational purpose only.
My top suggestions: �—Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium is your calming mineral, and can calm not only your brain but also your legs from restless leg, and your gut from bloating and gut issues. Talk to your doctor about adding in 400-600mg at bedtime to help with sleep.
—Melatonin. Supplemental melatonin can help your body where it’s lacking in natural melatonin production. If you’ve tried it before with no success, chances are, you make enough melatonin and that’s not your issue, but many folks can see great sleep benefits with 3-5mg of melatonin nightly.
— 5-htp. Got the“hamster-wheel of thoughts” that won’t quit when you lie down at night? This may be an issue with key neurotransmitters in the brain and 5-htp (a derivative of Tryptophan, you know, the stuff in turkey that makes you relaxed and sleepy) can help. Start with 50mg of 5-htp, and if no relief after one week, consider trying 100mg. Also, those on any medications should for sure discuss with their doctor before adding this in as it can interfere with certain meds.
— Sleepy-time herbs such as Kava Kava, Passionflower, Chamomile, and Valerian Root. The combo of these can go a long way in helping you wind down for sleep. I recommend finding a sleep supplement that combines several of them with melatonin and/or 5-htp such as “Happy Sleeper”.
Taking these regularly for a month or so can actually build healthy levels in the brain to where you don’t have to take them forever, so be sure to finish out the bottles and then discuss with your health care practitioner if continuing them is necessary.
Lastly, but not at all least important, since we tend to spend so much of our life lying down, it’s imperitive that you do so on a quality, non-toxic mattress…And for that I recommend a great mattress known as www.bearmattress.com . Bear Mattress allows you to try a Bear out for 100 nights before deciding if it’s right for you. No chemical smell when you get your mattress, and structured and engineered to aid in muscle recovery for active individuals or for those who need a little help from their bed recuperating from long days and chronic stress and pain. Read about my 100 night experience here!
How did you do with the Sleep Awareness Week Tips?
Need more help with your individual sleep? Consider setting up a nutrition therapy consult with myself, either in person or over the phone to allow me to help be a nutrition detective when it comes to understanding your body’s unique needs, and building a custom protocol for you. To set up your consult today, call me at 417-230-0554