How to HACK your sleep…

Published by Cheryl Moore on

Get more sleep and fix your cortisol.. let's learn.

Sleep-problems

If you can get even 30 to 60 minutes more sleep every night, you will recover better, manage blood sugar better, lose fat and gain muscle more easily, and make smarter decisions.

Shoot for at least 7 — and preferably 8 or even 9 — hours of sleep every night. Consistently.
Now of course, "get more sleep" is an outcome. We can't control outcomes. We can only control what we do.
So we must look at our actions to help get us there. Here are some notes from this article:
1. Have a bed time ritual * go to bed at the same time, make sure the room is dark and cool, turn off all electronics
2. include a relaxation habit or a mind-body scan type habit to help wind down in the evenings
3. make sure to get enough light and outdoor activity to regulate their circadian rhythms
4. plan your evening meals to facilitate sleep — e.g. getting some serotonin-stimulating carbohydrates, or keeping dinners smaller, etc.
5. track sleep quality and sleep habits in a journals, noticing patterns between activity / nutrition and sleep quality (e.g. looking for overtraining, or noticing that a big late-night snack means poor sleep, etc.)
*If you have solid pre-bed sleep ritual, you may be dealing with some hormonal issues.

Now, what is CORTISOL?

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If you are in a caloric deficit, not eating enough carbs, you may wake up early because of disrupted cortisol rhythms. Instead of slowly allowing cortisol to rise until it peaks around 6 am, your adrenals release epinephrine in a concentrated blast, leading to an exciting wakeup call.
In both cases, you’re dealing with chronic stress and a disrupted diurnal cortisol rhythm.
If the problem is elevated evening cortisol (aka “wired and tired”), there are supplements we can chat about for you to take.
• Avoid low-carb diets for those of you with low cortisol (and/or those of you with high training volume). Your bodies can’t effectively use cortisol to help release blood sugar slowly and consistently, so your bodies will go to Plan B — the adrenaline blast. Opt for more of an more balanced macronutrient ratio.
• Cut caffeine: Make sure you don’t consume any coffee past noon (or within 8–9 hours of bedtime).
Cut alcohol: Excessive alcohol prior to bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns, preventing sleep from getting into the deep and restorative phases. Make sure to limit intake to 1–2 drinks for men, and 0–1 drink for women.
Low vitamin D can make you stress-intolerant. Consider vitamin D testing and supplementation (or simply go out at noon for some sunshine, which will also help regulate their circadian rhythms).
Sleep increases testosterone (as well as growth hormone), so hello to our male clients who resist getting more sleep. Get to bed boys! Increased cortisol (from stress) can also lower testosterone.

Take care and reach out if you have any questions or need help fixing your sleep.

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