Why you can’t sleep
Today’s blog post is a listing of different topics that are linked to sleep and can be reasons why you can't sleep. For more in-depth information, you can always click on the different links throughout the blog post. My team and I are here to help you, with any sleep issues you should have, just click here and book a call with us.
6 Reasons why you can’t sleep
Nutrition and Sleep
Certain foods can affect your sleep and certain things about nutrition can truly be disruptive to sleep.
We have to make sure that you have enough nutrients in your body, and we do that with a nutrient assessment test. That will show us whether your vitamins and minerals are at good levels. Vitamin and mineral levels affect our health and the way our body is working. You want to avoid caffeine and stimulants such as sugar.
When looking at sleep in particular there are a couple of things that I give a bit more attention to:
- If you have insomnia, I always look at magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, and tryptophan levels. Magnesium is a relaxant and it has shown that there’s a big relation with sleep. Calcium and Vitamin B6 have tranquilizing effects and Tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin.
It’s difficult to get all of those minerals and vitamins via food.
For me nutrition also needs supplementation.
- For Tryptophan I suggest looking at a supplement that has 5 HTP. It helps increase tryptophan and is highly effective for insomnia. It’s also non-addictive. (I prefer it to melatonin.)
- It’s important to add seeds, nuts, roots, green leafy vegetables to your diet. They are all great because of their high calcium and magnesium level.
- During the day and basically for all your meals I would really advocate low glycemic foods. Low Glycemic foods will slowly release sugar into your system so that you avoid having those spikes and crashes. You don’t want to have a blood sugar spike at night time just because your body is used to living in that zigzag pattern.
- Nighttime teas such as Chamomile, Tilia flowers, Spearmint, Blueberry, BlackBerry leaves, Orange blossoms, Lemongrass, Hawthorn, Rosebuds, or Rose Hips I would include in my nutritional protocols.
Gut Health and Sleep
As you might know, there are different ways that the gut is connected to your sleep. Leaky gut is a huge issue that I encounter a lot with my clients. Molecules peek through your gut into your immune system, creating inflammation. A lot of that inflammation happens at night when your liver kicks in around 2 to 3 A.M. (Natural anti-inflammatories are hormones like cortisol or adrenaline and those two are actually stimulating hormones).
So, when you wake up at 2 A.M. between your sleep cycles but can’t fall asleep because of inflammation, the stimulating hormones will keep you awake. Also, when your gut is weakened you tend to have opportunistic parasites and bacteria settling down and creating a lot of damage. Parasites and bacteria are also nocturnal and will stimulate your body. It is important to figure out
- If there is a presence of parasites or bacteria in your gut
- What is causing the inflammation?
- If there are food sensitivities that we need to look at
Hormones and Sleep
Our hormones are affecting our sleep. As soon as a hormone is out of balance it will most likely affect your sleep. Whether that is your estrogens, your testosterone, or your progesterone. It doesn’t matter. Your cortisol will be affected quickly. So, nutrition is very important. Anything that helps relax your body is amazing. I usually have my clients do a food sensitivity test because we want to avoid anything that stimulates that inflammation. It will put the body on high alert and contribute to having a hormonal imbalance. So, focus on foods that do not have the inflammatory capacity. That can be different for every single person.
- Cumin or Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory for example. I encourage my clients to integrate that into their diets. Cinnamon helps with blood sugar.
It is however difficult to influence your hormones with food alone. A healthy diet, that doesn’t include processed foods, artificial fats, and too much sugar, but is organic, will reduce the toxic stress load on your body. A healthy diet is an absolutely necessary foundation that needs to be in place.
Age and Sleep
It is important to know that we don’t need less sleep just because we’re getting older. It’s a misconception that a lot of people have. What happens over time is that the older we get, we work less due to retirement. People start to nap too long and that is why a lot of older people have suddenly issues sleeping at night. Spending more time indoors for long periods of time and not getting the sunlight which contributes to having a deregulated biological clock can contribute to the reason that you can't sleep.
Exercise and Sleep
Movement is absolutely beneficial and I’m on purpose saying movement because exercise depending on what kind of state my clients are in can be stressful. If someone has a lot of health issues, I would not recommend going to the gym 5x a week. That is an additional stress for the body. That is why I am suggesting movement. It can be as simple as a funky dance in your bedroom!
- It could mean getting off the bus stop a bit earlier and walking the rest home.
- It could mean parking your car further away from the supermarket.
- Moving is undoubtedly amazing for sleep.
Exercise can also be great for your health and for stress. In general, exercise is recommended because your temperature goes up and when it drops it can favor sleep. A temperature drop is really connected with going to sleep. The philosophy is that you know when you favor or when you encourage a temperature drop. The temperature drop will help you drift into sleep, but for some people especially after cardio, their body has a hard time regulating itself back to coolness, and then they are lying there with a racing heart, a high pulse and sleep is even worse than before.
Drifting into sleep is not an on and off switch. So, going from a super stimulating class straight to bed can sometimes be counterproductive.
Bedtime routines and Sleep
Bedtime routines help train our brains. It’s just like getting on autopilot and having a domino chain reaction. Bedtime routines are highly individual because we all like different things. Personally, I like having a timer go off an hour before bedtime. During that hour you always do the same things before you go to bed. Shower, brush your teeth, read a book, etc… It prevents you from doing all the crazy last-minute things you might have to prepare for the next day.
Being tidy can also help a lot. I used to live and work in my bedroom. It was never super tidy. Now, I try to keep my bedroom very minimalistic. Don’t have the chair with all the clothes on it. Replace that with a plant. Make your room beautiful, simple, clean, and empty. It will help you relax and be less distracted. It’s calming on the mind!
Do your bed every morning because it’s such a beautiful feeling when you come home and see a made bed that is waiting for you. It’s a connotation with something positive!
Keep a notebook and write down three positive things before you go to bed. This helps you to not think about what happened during the day and finish the day on a positive note.
Charge your phone in a different room! As you will be sleeping, you won’t need to check your phone for messages. They can wait for the morning! And if you use it as an alarm, I suggest switching back to a traditional alarm clock.
I hope that 5 reasons why you can’t sleep has been helpful to you! For more sleep tips check out our blog and don’t forget to play the game of sleep!
Want to get in touch?