Most of my clients want better sleep. It’s alarming that very few women are consistently happy with the sleep they get on a regular basis.
In fact, if you lose just an hour of sleep a night, it’s like pulling an all-nighter once a week! Mind blowing, right?!
In my group and individual programs, I assess a lot of factors, but if my client isn’t sleeping or pooping, those are where we begin!
I make recommendations in 4 Pillars:
- Essential Oils and Supplements
- Toxic Burden Relief
Below you’ll find quick recommendations you can try in each of the 4 Pillars. Please keep in mind:
- It takes a minimum of 2 weeks to assess if something is working (so don’t try something for a night and claim it doesn’t work!).
- The common thread among all of these recommendations is that you need to reduce your body’s inflammation.
The recs below are bare bones on purpose! Skim, copy, paste, print, whatever is helpful.
Pillar 1: Nutrition
- Consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed is associated with better sleep quality, including less waking up throughout the night. Bam!
- Almonds: 1 handful. melatonin and magnesium
- Walnuts: 1 handful. magnesium, healthy fats, omega 3s, and one of best food sources of melatonin
- Turkey: amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of sleep-regulating hormone melatonin
- Fatty fish: combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. both increase production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical
Certain Fruits and Veggies
- Kiwi: 1-2. serotonin
- Tart cherry juice: 8 oz 2x/day, melatonin
- Kale: rich in calcium, which processes tryptophan and melatonin.
- Chamomile: apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia
- Passion Flower: apigenin
- My favorite: Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night, 1 cup at least 30 min before bed. Can drink 2-3 cups/day starting in late afternoon.
Pillar 2: Exercise
- Doesn’t have to be a 30-minute practice.
- Find 3-4 poses that work for you. I suggest:
- Restorative Fish
- Child’s pose
- Legs up on a wall (put a blanket or block under your lower back)
- Supine spinal twist
Before bed, hold each pose on each side for 5 breaths. Use diaphragmatic breathing.
Pillar 3: Essential Oils and Supplements
- Roman Chamomile
- Peace and Calming
Note: not all essential oils are created equal! Click here for more info.
- Magnesium: reduces inflammation. May help reduce levels of cortisol. Start with 300 mg at bedtime. Choose either magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate. Magnesium glycinate: improves sleep quality and promotes natural, healthy sleep patterns, including healthy REM cycles.Magnesium citrate: for feelings of stress or tension, soothes muscle cramps, has calming properties, and helps your mind and body relax. Can also have laxative effects.
- Barley grass powder: rich GABA, calcium, tryptophan, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Add to liquids or meals, or take as a capsule.
- Valerian root- valerian extract stimulates nerve cells to release GABA. GABA slows down nerve cell activity instead of exciting it. Valerian extract may block an enzyme that destroys GABA, which means that more GABA is available for a longer amount of time. 400-900 mg at bedtime
Pillar 4: Toxic Burden Relief
- Decreasing toxic load decreases inflammation.
- This pillar is as much mental/emotional as it is physical.
- Stress is such a common toxin that messes with our sleep.
- Create a nighttime routine that you stick to. Some ideas: meditation, journaling, yoga, reading, praying, stretching, bath…anything that feels like self-care.
- Finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- No caffeine, no alcohol- caffeine because it’s a stimulant, alcohol because it’s a toxin and you need to give your liver a break from anything other than food and hormone detoxing
- Use blue light blocking glasses.
- Stick to a consistent sleep/wake pattern.
- Get bright light first thing in the morning.
I hope you found these recommendations helpful! Don’t try to do them all at once. Remember that the key to hormone balance and better sleep is taking baby steps.