Mindful of the current state of our world, I am extremely confident our comeback will be greater than any setback. I hope you can agree!
Being mindful of the times seems to center on stress and sleep, and the impact these have on our immune system. I want to share some tips you can implement to experience more calm, better, more sound sleep, and to strengthen your immune system.
In times of acute or chronic stress, our sympathetic dominant nervous system works overtime – go-go-go. This means cortisol (released by our adrenals) is likely in abundance and our sympathetic nervous systems are dominating. Finding a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems should be a priority.
Our bodies adapt to their environments. Meaning the choices we make (foods we eat, the things we think about, our circle we associate, products we use, stress we let take over) create and influence the environment our body must survive. The body will always choose the path of least resistance, even if that includes a path of not feeling your best. I encourage us to strive to thrive, not just survive.
Today’s topics are basic foundational tools for our bodies to thrive.
Sleep helps to build our immune system. We need to be building a strong immune system 365 days per year. This brings me to the fact that our gut houses 70 to 80% of our immune system. This standalone fact is WHY it’s so important to be cognizant of the lifestyle and food choices we’re making: nutrient rich meals, hydration –– think electrolytes, too, movement, less stress and more sleep.
Don’t fall prey to the couch and C.R.A.P. Food -> Carbohydrates. Refined. Additives. Processed. Foods that may be extra tempting these days. C.R.A.P. Food creates a tremendous amount of inflammation in our body. The inflammation wreaks havoc on the immune system. Your health depends on the strength of your immune system. Think of your health as your greatest wealth.
C.R.A.P. Food can impact sleep. There are numerous sleep scenarios to consider. Each has a different root cause. I encourage you to journal your sleep patterns and any notes from these examples or create your own:
- Falling asleep: easy or takes a long time?
- Waking up during the night? At what time?
- Once awake, can you fall back to sleep? Or do you toss and turn?
- Are you waking up feeling rested? Or exhausted?
Sure in times of stress, whether it’s emotional, psychological, or mental, we may certainly struggle with sound sleep. This is normal yet not sustainable.
Sleep hygiene is BIG. How can you create an environment for more restful sleep?
- Enjoy an earlier dinner, 2 -3 hours before bedtime, otherwise your GI system is still going to be hard at work breaking down and digesting food while you sleep.
- Take a relaxing walk after dinner – this supports digestion (gut health) and calming.
- Enjoy soaking in an Epsom salt bath. The magnesium from the salts will support relaxation, not only of the mind but the inner body also. Add in a pure relaxing essential oil such as lavender. (It’s important to use pure essential oils. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want my go tos.)
- Drinking herbal teas in the evening such as sleepy time, chamomile or green tea. Green tea contains L-theanine which is known to reduce anxiety and calm the body. Many to choose from. Explore what works best for you.
Again sleep is where we are able to rest, digest and detox. It’s the time for our body to recover. Getting into those really deep sleeps, waking up feeling rested – that’s the goal.
- Avoid anything to get you amped up before going to be – TV, email, argument.
- Avoid stimulants – late afternoon/night coffee or sodas, sugary snacks, adult beverages. You may not realize at the time you are consuming these cause your body is looking for the “high” yet once you go to bed and the stimulant(s) are being metabolized, those spikes in blood glucose levels can result in waking or restless sleep.
- NO LATE NIGHT NEWS! No news is good news.
- One last thought: if the neighbor in your bed snores – kick him/her out OR find yourself another safe place to get sound sleep. Then, tuck in and don’t feel guilty about it. You cannot catch up on lost sleep.
As a holistic health coach practicing applied functional medicine, I understand and share the importance of the interconnectedness of the body. The gut impacts the brain impacts the nervous system impacts sleep (and vice versa); hormones are interrelated – you can’t tweak one without it impacting another; and commonly prescribed medications can support one area while zapping another. It’s incredibly fascinating!
Pick two helpful tips to best support your own calm and sleep then pass along to someone in your family or circle.
Sending out good vibes for strong immune systems, lots of happiness and much love to all.