I used live by the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”…maybe you do too?
I was chronically stressed, felt like there wasn’t enough time in the day, and would just lay awake for hours trying to fall asleep.
This went on for years and years.
What I didn’t know was the harm I was doing to my body. Sleep deprivation does add up, it’s called sleep debt. Sleep is an opportunity for the body to heal, recharge, and rejuvenate. Detox revvs up and the body cleans up dead and unstable cells that can lead to chronic illnesses. Certain hormones turn on and off sending feedback to the body (more about that below).
If we aren’t sleeping, none of this is happening.
Fast forward to today, I don’t rely on caffeine for energy, I’m more productive and I’m able to let the day go when my head hits the pillow. This is all meanwhile raising a 13 month old too!
If you’re feeling hopeless and just want to sleep, read on to find out what could be going wrong and how to fix it.
You may already know that melatonin is the hormone that makes us sleep. But what prevents the body from making melatonin? I want to look at three factors.
First, serotonin production. Melatonin is made from another hormone called serotonin. Almost all serotonin is produced in the gut, so gut health should be addressed through lab testing and nutritional therapy with a holistic practitioner. A lot of us walk around with parasites, heavy metal toxicity, mold, candida, and bacterial overgrowth in our guts all of which wreck havoc on hormones and the ability to sleep. At-home lab testing and thorough drainage/detox protocols can resolve these issues.
Second, cortisol (a stress hormone) blocks production of melatonin and tells the body it should be awake. Cortisol should be high in the morning and taper off throughout the day as night time approaches. Cortisol levels can be tested at different intervals throughout the day through saliva or urine to determine if sleep issues are stemming from chronic cortisol imbalances. Stress goes beyond emotional stress. Cortisol is spiked just the same from other stressors like injuries, food intolerance, excess caffeine, poor gut health, calorie restriction, etc.
Last we need to look at blood sugar. High and low blood sugar throughout the day can also contribute to sleep problems and cortisol dysregulation. A simple blood test called hemoglobin A1C can measure what your average blood sugar has been over the last 90 or so days but is not a perfect test. Symptoms like shakiness, headaches, brain fog, constant hunger, cravings for sugar and carbs, and difficulty falling asleep are all good signs of blood sugar dysregulation. Support blood sugar by finishing dinner within three to five hours before bed, eating food within one hour of waking (before caffeine), and minimizing simple carbohydrates and sugar consumption.
I could go on and on and on about just how important sleep is. Ladies, I’m especially talking to you! We need more sleep than men, at least two hours more for our hormones.Try aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep and see how you feel!
Sleep can be tricky to correct naturally since sleep is a hormonal process and hormones take time to balance! It takes TIME. For me, it took upwards of six months to start sleeping well, but can I tell you…IT IS SO WORTH IT!
Sleep supplements and herbs in the short term can definitely help too but when relied on long term, they’re not only expensive but never get to the root cause of the issue. If you want long term relief, working with a holistic practitioner is your best bet!
Sleep issues, chronic stress, and low energy were my story, but not anymore. I can help you feel rested and energized too my friend.
Book a 15 minute connection call with me HERE to talk about how health coaching would help you.
Feel free to send this blog post to someone it could serve and reach out to me with any questions!
Holistic Health Coach/Chef
Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition
*Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. Abigail E. Holistic does not give medical advice, treatment, or diagnose disease.