The Importance of Sleep and Tips to Improve Yours
To Our Tribe,
Sleep is such a critical part of our health and a piece that is often underestimated. Clients are often surprised to discover that many lab markers improve with healthy sleep, and they feel noticeably better. It is easy to slide into a pattern of inconsistent quality sleep, and adapt to it as a perceived new normal. Over time, however, this catches up to us and starts to play itself out in our overall health.
Human beings are diurnal. We are part of nature and to some extent, we must live in alignment with that. Our sleep cycles, our circadian rhythm is governed by sunlight. As the sun rises, light enters our eyes, communicating to our brain and all our glands to signal cortisol to rise so we can be active. As the light leaves the sky, our brain and nervous system is aware of this. It is the time to wind down and prepare for rest. Deep healing, repair and recovery occur at night while we sleep. The timing matters, the quality matters and the amount matters.
During our sleep, all our organs and systems reboot. The healing that happens will not occur during the day because the body needs us to be in a parasympathetic state for this action. Although the human body is designed to spend the majority of its time in the parasympathetic state, most of us reside primarily in sympathetic activation unless we are consciously shifting ourselves otherwise.
While asleep our bodies:
- Make T-cells essential for the immune system
- Cellular repair and recovery
- Muscle and organ repair
- Hormones are released (included those related to weight and appetite)
- Psyche processes events
- Memory consolidation occurs
- Brain lymphatic pathways drain (detoxing the brain)
Currently, most of the world is under extreme stress. For some their coping skill is to just sleep, and for others, their sleep is extremely disrupted. I have shared here supplements that may help, but more importantly, lifestyle and behavioral considerations that can be working for or against you. The way you start your day is as important as how you end it when it comes to sleep, and sometimes small changes can produce powerful change. To filter through the supplements, as always, I would suggest doing some homework. You know your body and its story better than anyone. You will hear your story in some of the supplements more than others.
Wishing you and all those you love health, support, hugs and sweet dreams,
Bridgette and the Taproot Team
P.S. If you need one on one support, please reach out. Dr. Bill Bastian and I are both currently working with people remotely.
Sleep Support Supplements
- Magnesium (L-threonate or malate)
- 5-HTP or Tryptophan (5-HTP can cause cortisol spikes in some people, so it is the right medicine for some but not all)
- Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics
- Benesom by Metagenics
- Herb Pharm – Bedtime on the Go, Relaxing Sleep, Valerian, Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Motherwort
- CBD – Quicksilver
- Inositol - enhances REM sleep
- Niacinamide – promotes serotonin production
- My Community mushroom extract and/or mushroom powders – The mushrooms are adaptogens which support the nervous system
Supplements to support underlying issues that can interrupt sleep
- Probiotics (80% of our serotonin production happens in the gut and serotonin converts to melatonin)
- B complex (methylated)
- Omega Fatty Acids – to reduce inflammation
- Curcumin – if there is inflammation in the body it can interfere with sleep
- Chromium – for blood sugar stability
- Vanadium – for blood sugar stability
- Berberine – for insulin resistance
- L-glutamine – helps to heal leaky gut which will reduce inflammation and helps with blood sugar stability
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Multivitamin and mineral supplement
- Oral pregnenolone or progesterone if warranted (check with your health care provider)
- Coffea 30c
- Nux Vomica 30c
- Aconite 30c
- Ignatia 30c
- 2 c. hemp or coconut milk
- 1 in. Ginger (minced)
- 2 in. Turmeric or 1 Tb. turmeric powder
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 2 tsp. maca powder (optional)
- 2 tsp mesquite powder
- 1 Tb. raw honey or stevia/monkfruit (optional)
Slowly warm all ingredients in saucepan and whisk.
- As a snack before bed, try ½ banana with a sprinkle of sea salt, dates, figs, nut butter or turkey. These all contain tryptophan.
- Avoid bacon, cheese, chocolate, ham, spinach, sausage, sauerkraut, wine and nightshades. They contain tyramine which can increase norepinephrine.
- Eat your last meal by 7 pm.
- Eliminate or reduce caffeine. Even one cup of coffee in the morning can affect your sleep that night. This includes black tea, green tea, matcha, yerba mate, energy drinks, soda and pre-workout drinks.
- Avoid sugar and processed foods!! These contribute to blood sugar instability and insulin resistance. This can interfere with your sleep.
- Avoid processed foods. Many contain excitotoxins which effect the functioning of the nervous system.
- Minimize alcohol and try to have your last drink at least 4 hours before going to sleep.
- Alcohol on a regular basis can cause deficiencies of zinc and B6 which we are nutrients we need to make neurotransmitters like serotonin.
- Eat a mostly alkaline diet – some animal protein but only 20-30% of your portion and everything organic.
- Tulsi tea, Traditional Medicinal’s Nighty Night tea, rooibos.
- Eat within an hour of being awake and in a balanced and consistent way. Eat within an hour of being awake. Eat every three hours. Reassure your body it will receive nourishment to decrease any internal stress. This is key for establishing blood sugar stability which helps at night.
- Start every day with warm lemon water w/fresh ginger root
- Drink bone broth daily if possible – The Flavor Chef (online only), Epic or Kettle and Fire – helps with gut repair and the glutamine helps with blood sugar stability.