Sleeping Like A Champ

Sleep is one of your body’s superpowers and an essential puzzle piece to (re)solving many of the most common health symptoms and challenges for those I work with.

While you were sleeping…

While you sleep, your body’s clean up crew goes into overdrive, eliminating cellular debris, pathogens and repairing the structures that make up your body. The consequences of routinely getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night are many, including:

  • Increase in frequency and severity of infections

  • Weight gain

  • High blood pressure

  • Dementia/impaired memory

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Infertility

The ill-effect of insufficient sleep on your heart is well documented during daylight savings. The fall – when people lose an hour of sleep – leads to 25% more heart attacks whereas the spring – when people gain an hour of sleep – allows for a 21% decrease in heart attacks.

Where to start in honing your sleep superpowers?

 

PART 1

SLEEP HYGIENE: HABITS TO HELP you count sheep

During these stressful times:

  • Create a news curfew. Consider shutting off all incoming news 4 hours before your desired bedtime.

    • Being informed is essential, but our sympathetic “flight or fight” nervous system kicks into high gear when we encounter news that suggests a threat to our existence. The neurotransmitters (epinephrine and norepinephrine) and hormone (cortisol) we produce in response to such stress halt production melatonin, our primary sleep hormone.

  • Make a list of your concerns before getting into bed. When you put down the pen, put down your stresses as well.

  • Turn off all electronics and perform 5 minutes of deep belly breathing daily before bed

  • Avoid exposure to electronics for 45-60 minutes before bed

    • There is a connection between your eyes (more specifically your optic nerve) and the part of your brain that regulates your production of melatonin (pineal gland). When you shine light in your eyes (phone, tablet, computer), your brain receives the message that it is daytime and – hence – stops its production of melatonin.

  • Avoid exposure to light in the middle of the night.

  • Ensure your bedroom is dark and quiet

  • Limit naps to 20 minutes to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep cycle

  • Eat for blood sugar stability throughout the day

    • Email us at [email protected] OR text us at 312-967-8000 if you’d like further guidance on this

  • Avoid caffeine for at least 12 hours before your desired sleep time

    • On average, it takes the body 12 hours to break down and eliminate caffeine. Some people get rid of caffeine faster and some slower.

    • Opportunity: see for yourself!

      • For the next week, stop all caffeine at 10am and notice if you experience greater ease with falling asleep and staying asleep.

  • Avoid alcohol as it interferes with REM sleep

PART 2

SUPPLEMENT SUPPORT TO HELP YOU COUNT SHEEP

Looking for supplements to assist with sleep? Below are our favorites, all available here for 10% off. Please note that because every-body is different, you may need to play around with doses and combinations of supplements to find your best sleep-support solution.

1. Difficulty falling asleep but able to stay asleep

Melatonin by Ortho Molecular – take 45 minutes before desired bedtime

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • If you’ve never taken melatonin before, start with a low dose (1mg). If 1mg doesn’t help you fall asleep, increase until you find the amount your body needs. NOTE: Most people benefit from 1-3mg, but there are some who need as much as 15mg.

  • If you find you need a higher dose, NOW and Source Naturals both have options that contain 5mg of melatonin per capsule.

  • Potential side effect: drowsiness upon waking

  • Good news: melatonin is more than our primary sleep hormone. It is also a potent antioxidant!

2. Difficulty staying asleep but able to fall asleep

Best-Rest Formula by Pure Encapsulations – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • 1-2 capsules, start with 1 and increase if necessary

  • Potential side effect: drowsiness upon waking

OR

R.E.M. Maintenance by Metabolic Maintenance – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • ¼-1 scoop mixed in water, start with ¼ scoop and increase if necessary

  • Contains a small amount of 5-HTP, avoid taking if you are on an SSRI antidepressant

  • Potential side effect: drowsiness upon waking

Both of these formulas contain a small amount of melatonin coupled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help you stay in a parasympathetic “rest and digest” state and support your continued production of melatonin throughout the night.

3. Difficulty falling asleep + difficulty staying asleep

Melatonin by Ortho Molecular – take 45 minutes before your desired bedtime, dose as appropriate for your needs. (See #1 for guidance on dose.)

AND

Best-Rest Formula by Pure Encapsulations – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • 1-2 capsules, start with 1 and increase if necessary

OR

R.E.M. Maintenance by Metabolic Maintenance – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • ¼-1 scoop mixed in water, start with ¼ scoop and increase if necessary

  • Contains a small amount of 5-HTP, avoid taking if you are on an SSRI antidepressant

Potential side effect of this combination: drowsiness upon waking

4. Waking up tired but falling asleep easily + staying asleep easily

Magnesium Citrate – available in powder or capsules, options listed below. Potential side effects:

  • Drowsiness upon waking

  • Loose bowel movements in high doses

Powder, Natural Calm by Natural Vitality – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • ½ tsp – 3 tsp mixed with water, start with ½ tsp and gradually increase if necessary

Capsules, Magnesium Citrate by Douglas Labs or Metabolic Maintenance or NuMedica – immediately before bed

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • 1-4 capsules, before bed. Start with 1 capsule and gradually increase if necessary

OR

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil – available in capsules or liquid. My preference is liquid to allow you greater precision in determining your dose. Potential side effect is drowsiness upon waking.

Full-Spectrum CBD 750 by Encore for Life, available here with the access code WEL601

  • Dose: Varies based on your individual biochemistry

  • 1 drop – 2 droppers full before bed, start with 1 drop and increase if necessary

As always, these recommendations are not intended to substitute for individualized guidance. Consult with your physician before initiating any new supplement.