Stress, Sleep Problems and Weight Gain

August 2, 2020

It gets most people’s attention when we share that you can lose weight while you sleep – and it’s true! It’s getting the sleep that’s often the problem. Two nutritionists share many possible solutions around trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Backing up they also explain why weight gain can happen when you’re under stress and lacking sleep. Avoid this unfortunate combo, listen in!

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Transcript:

JOANN: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Today we have a great discussion planned about stress, sleep problems, and weight gain. All three of those are near and dear to my heart. My name is JoAnn Ridout. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian and I've been teaching the life changing benefits of practicing good nutrition in classes and to clients for the past... over 30 years. I don't need to say how many. I have always been intrigued with nutrition and that is why I became a dietitian. I know if I am to be an effective role model, I need to practice these habits in my own kitchen! And I do. True health begins with preparing and eating real food. I have been helping clients with their health in individual appointments and in small group classes for many years now. My favorite class to teach is the Menopause Survival Seminar because one of the many things this class addresses is how stress and sleep issues can lead to weight gain, especially during menopause. So today I am very fortunate. I have the pleasure of introducing a new voice on Dishing Up Nutrition. Nikki Doering is here with me behind the other mic this morning. Nikki has been working at Nutritional Weight & Wellness for the past two years. She's been very anxious to get a chance to be on Dishing Up Nutrition. She is also a mother of Max, almost four years old. So she has a busy life. Nikki has also experienced some of her own health problems about two and a half years ago. Nikki experienced a concussion from an auto accident. So she knows a lot about nutrition and concussions. Good morning, Nikki. It's so good to be here with you today. Tell our listeners a little more about yourself.

NIKKI: Good morning, JoAnn. Thanks so much. It is so exciting to be on Dishing Up Nutrition, talking about my favorite topic, nutrition. I'm a self proclaimed nutrition nerd to the core. I'm fascinated with the effects of how food affects our body. I want to tell our listeners how I found Nutritional Weight & Wellness. After my car accident and concussion, I was struggling. Even though I'd been a dietitian for seven years, working with people going through weight loss surgery, I didn't really know what I should eat to heal my brain. As luck would have it, I actually stumbled upon a Dishing Up Nutrition podcast about food to heal the brain after a concussion. From my concussion, I suffered a lot of different symptoms. I had memory problems, poor focus and fatigue, just to name a few. I learned from my experience that nutrition plays a huge role in the healing process. To this day, I still am amazed at the healing power of nutrition, just eating real food and eliminating those processed carbs, improved my focus and memory. Eating real food helped me sleep better, so I have good energy. As my brain continues to heal, I know I have to eat well to continue the healing process. I am truly a believer in the power of nutrition.

JOANN: That's great, Nikki, thank you. Our listeners can appreciate the healing journey you have experienced. So today to prepare for our topic, we ask listeners to send in their questions about stress and sleep and we received hundreds of questions. If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, not only do we both understand firsthand, but we have many possible solutions to share with you today. I can certainly relate to this topic because a health problem I personally needed to work on was sleep. That was huge for me. And now I make sure I get at least seven and a half hours of sleep most nights. Parents, you know our sleep is often challenged by our children, whether they are babies, toddlers, teens, or even adult children who have moved back home because of life circumstances or job layoff restrictions. And certainly now due to COVID-19, we've got a lot of things that have happened for people. One thing I know for sure is when I don't sleep at least seven and a half hours, most nights I start packing on a few extra pounds and my clothes don't fit right. Frustrating.

NIKKI: Very frustrating. Before we start answering questions sent in by many of our listeners, JoAnn and I want to explain why people typically gain weight when they are under stress and lack sleep. In our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes, we explain that people can lose weight while they sleep. This really certainly perks people's ears up.

JOANN: Oh yeah.

NIKKI: What?! I can lose weight while I sleep? For sure! So biochemically, I just want to explain a little bit how that works. So biochemically, when you sleep only five or six hours a night, your adrenal glands secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause you to gain weight. I just want to repeat that because I think that's really, really important because biochemically, when you hear that your ears kind of go, whoa, what does that mean? So biochemically, when you sleep only five or six hours a night, your adrenal glands secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause you to gain weight. Many of my clients come into their first appointment and tell me that they are sleeping only five to six hours a night, so I know this is normal for many people. So you're not alone out there. I have had many clients, there's an upside to this... many clients lose 10 pounds when they just get enough sleep for three to four weeks. It's so easy and very rewarding to lose weight while you sleep.

JOANN: Yeah. That's great. What a great benefit of sleep, huh?

NIKKI: Gosh, really! Yeah.

JOANN: Another side benefit I found from getting sufficient sleep is I have fewer aches and pains. Basically a lack of sleep creates a cortisol response in the body, which Nikki has just described, but that cortisol response also leads to more pain and inflammation. Lack of sleep can also lead to brain fog and loss of focus. So we really are out of sorts when we don't. And as Nikki mentioned, she sees a lot of people with five and six hours. I always think four to six is, is kind of what I, I see a lot of also. So it's the same ...but it's, I actually used to be in that place. So I totally can understand that, but we need to turn that around. So, so important.

NIKKI: I can relate. I'm an emotional mess when I don't get enough sleep. My anxiety goes through the roof, so I'm sure anxiety sufferers out there can understand that. Sufficient sleep is critical for good mental health and is especially important after a head injury. Right after my concussion, I had several weeks that I slept only two to four hours per night. It was awful. It was awful. Probably the one of the worst times of my life. I know that my injuries had a difficult time healing during that time. In fact, many of my symptoms got worse, if you can imagine. I am so truly grateful for finding Nutritional Weight & Wellness when I did.

JOANN: That's great. I'm glad you did. And I mentioned that we had asked listeners for questions. So here's a question from Gail. She said, "I have no trouble falling asleep, but then for a couple of hours, and then I constantly wake up off and on the rest of the night." So she's only sleeping a few hours sound. "I generally go to sleep quickly, but never stay asleep." So what are some possible reasons for waking up several times a night? There are many reasons for waking up throughout the night that are possible. First, Gail may need a healthy snack before bed. A snack that has a small amount of carbohydrates, such as a half of an apple and some natural, beneficial fat, like two tablespoons of natural peanut butter or almond butter will help balance Gail's blood sugar all through the night, so she is not waking up. When our blood sugar goes too low during sleep, our brain alerts us to possible danger and we wake up. So that low blood sugar is one of the most stressful things we can do to the brain and the body. We need to be sure our blood sugar is balanced. So that's a big part of our food plan is to balance our blood sugar. So as I'm looking at the clock, it is time for our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Our topic today is stress, sleep problems, and weight gain. Many studies suggest that lack of sleep is a leading cause of weight gain. Today. We hope to answer your sleep questions. Each product we will be discussing today during our show is available with free shipping to you for all online orders at weightandwellness.com. For orders that are called in, we will have your order available for curbside pickup at one of your locations, one of our local offices, but at your... the location you choose. We will be right back.

NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Nikki Doering, a registered and licensed dietitian and I am in studio today with JoAnn Ridout who is also a registered and licensed dietitian. For many, this is a very stressful time. And because of the constant ongoing stress, our bodies seem to buffer that stress by putting it around on our middle section. It seems liquor sales are up and we can't seem to resist all of those sweet treats. Many of us are needing ongoing support to practice the nutrition that helps us feel good. I have some ideas that that will help you stay on track and I will share those with you when we returned from our second break.

JOANN: Yup, coming up soon. So before we went to break and I just want to recap a little, we were talking about one of the possible reasons for waking up in the night is possibly a low blood sugar. And when our blood sugar goes too low, our brain alerts us that we're in possible danger. We wake up that low blood sugar is one of the most stressful things we can do to our brain and to our body. So we need our blood sugar balanced.

NIKKI: I agree. I agree, JoAnn, a hundred percent. A nighttime snack has helped many of my clients get a good night's rest and I absolutely love my nighttime snack. That's my one of my favorite times of the day actually.

JOANN: Oh yeah.

NIKKI: Another reason people wake up during the night is the side effects of caffeine in coffee, tea, sodas, or any energy drinks. A little known fact is caffeine in coffee or tea has a half-life effect and can impact our sleep for up to 21 hours.

JOANN: That's amazing.

NIKKI: Yeah. That's a long time. 21 hours. Basically for many people, by the time they are having their next morning cup, they haven't even cleared yesterday's caffeine out of their bodies.

JOANN: That's hard to wrap my head around.

NIKKI: Yeah!

JOANN: I know I was amazed when I first learned that.

NIKKI: Yeah. If you have several throughout the day, especially into the afternoon. Caffeine is still with you. I learned about the effects of caffeine on sleep from Dr. Matthew Walker's book, *Why We Sleep*. We reviewed his book on a podcast, on one of our Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts, on May 14th in 2018. You can listen to that podcast and learn more information about his book if you'd like.

JOANN: Yes. And that is a great book. I was amazed to learn that what Nikki just said the 21 hours before it even starts to clear and at 24 hours, it's obviously not cleared yet. So you still have that effect when you're having your next morning coffee. Amazing. I was so amazed to learn how many hours that takes and really could relate to how it was affecting me. I know I'm very caffeine sensitive, so that one hit home. One more reason for Gail's poor sleep: another reason is possible. She's deficient in minerals... In the mineral magnesium. So doctors estimate that about 80 to 90% of Americans are magnesium deficient. And that sounds like a lot. It sounds like kind of a stretch, but some of you may be wondering what are some of those signs of magnesium deficiency? So poor sleep is a big one. Also lots of people have muscle cramps. Restless leg syndrome is so common. Also I used to have a lot of eye twitching when my magnesium was low but I didn't even realize it. Also people have increased anxiety. They may have low bone density. Magnesium also helps our bones just like calcium does. Chocolate cravings. And the list goes on and on. So we generally recommend supplementing with four to six tablets of magnesium glycinate at bedtime. And we choose magnesium glycinate because it's the form that absorbs the best and is very effective. And magnesium is a mineral used in more than 300 biochemical functions in the human body.

NIKKI: Magnesium's really amazing.

JOANN: It is.

NIKKI: It's a must have in my book.

JOANN: I agree.

NIKKI: Now, Gail did not share her age, but Gail may be having a hormonal connection to poor sleep. That might be, you know, something that's kind of what wakes people up this morning. As women move into perimenopause or menopause, their bodies are no longer ovulating. And the production of the critical hormone progesterone is drastically reduced. On top of the reduction of progesterone, many women have an excess of artificial estrogens, toxic estrogens actually. This is important because progesterone is the calming hormone that helps us sleep through the night. So progesterone is really key and it's not just perimenopause and menopause either. If you feel your sleep issue is hormonal, I highly recommend making an appointment with one of our nutritionists so we can help.

JOANN: Yes. We can help you. We talk about progesterone a lot. And the estrogen dominance, about the hormone balance that helps so much with sleep. So before this COVID-19 outbreak, we were able to teach the Menopause Survival Seminar in a classroom setting and we explained this hormonal imbalance in great detail. When women no longer have progesterone, most women have sufficient or, more accurately, an abundance of estrogen and often the toxic estrogens because other organs such as the adrenal glands take over the production of estrogen. But unfortunately there is nothing to take over their production of progesterone. So if you are experiencing night sweats or more anxiety or trouble staying asleep. If you said yes to any of those questions, we recommend that you apply one quarter to one half teaspoon of natural progesterone cream to your hands, your face, or the inside of your wrist. Some people put it on their neck, on the throat area. We like the brand Progest, which has been successfully used for over 60 years. This is the brand of progesterone cream recommended by Dr. Christiane Northrup in her book *The Wisdom of Menopause*. We really use that book a lot.

NIKKI: Yes. I've heard it mentioned many times.

JOANN: Many times.

NIKKI: That may have been a long answer for Gail, but we hope it will answer some questions other listeners may have. I want to add one more bit of information about hormones. Most birth control pills stop ovulation. So many women taking birth control medications become very deficient in progesterone and have more anxiety and trouble sleeping. I know I've lived that. More anxiety, trouble sleeping, birth control for years.

JOANN: Yeah. I've lived that too for other reasons, but definitely lived. Our environment is so full of estrogens that probably everyone is living that, I would say, these days.

NIKKI: Yeah, I think, I think you're right, JoAnn. I mean, it's just so interesting. It really is. Now we're going to take a question from Amy. She said, "my issue is getting BACK to sleep once it's been interrupted." Well, Amy, here's a little trick I use. When Max, my wonderful little son wakes me up in the middle of the night, I slip one or two milligrams of melatonin under my tongue. And within 10 to 15 minutes, I am back to sleep. That's really critical. If you know, if your melatonin is working, if you're able to fall back to sleep or get to sleep in 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes. Source Natural has a very effective sublingual melatonin, which we carry at Nutritional Weight & Wellness.

JOANN: That's right. I actually do that trick too. I actually had to do that last night because I was awoken by some noise. And that sublingual melatonin source means it dissolves under your tongue. That means your body's going to absorb it more quickly. Your brain's going to get it more quickly. So it goes to the brain faster. If you swallow it, it goes through your gut. And especially if you have some gut issues, it might take longer before that will start to work. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. When we are living through stress many of us gain weight, especially around the middle because stress causes adrenal glands to produce more of the hormone cortisol. We will be right back.

NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I mentioned earlier in the show that I have some ideas on how to get support to help you stay on track with your healthy eating plan, even with social distancing and while wearing a mask. It's a new normal, right?

JOANN: It is.

NIKKI: Of course, my first idea is to listen to Dishing Up Nutrition weekly, either on the radio or through our podcast. Basically all the research tips and tricks we share... it's we have so much research and tips and tricks to share and then it's also free.

JOANN: Yeah. What a bonus.

NIKKI: Yeah, super bonus. The second idea is to take an online Weight & Wellness class. In regards to today's topic, two classes come to mind: *Five Steps to Boost Metabolism* and the other class would be *Getting a Good Night's Sleep*. Both classes would be great choices and we have many others you would enjoy. All of these one hour classes are on sale during the month of August. These classes are only $10. So regularly priced $25 down to $10. That's a great option and a great deal. I love those classes.

JOANN: They're great classes.

NIKKI: I've watched many of them. I've taught a few. So that's really great. Lastly, an even better option is to take our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss 12 week zoom series. This life changing series is every Thursday evening for 12 weeks and starts on August 13th. So that's coming up. It's August 1st. We also have offer our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss 12 week zoom series on Wednesdays at noon starting August 19th, plus all new Nutrition 4 Weight Loss participants receive two visits with a nutritionist. And during the month of August, you will receive a bonus visit with a nutritionist. So that's three visits instead of two, that's a great value, valued at $110. So that's really good. If you want more information, please call (651) 699-3438 to ask any questions you may have or you can read about our Weight & Wellness classes and our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss 12 week zoom series online at weightandwellness.com. And we have one other option for you. I want to tell you about our online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series that you can start any day at any time that is convenient for you in the comfort of your own home.

JOANN: I'm meeting with so many clients now that have taken advantage of this Nutrition 4 Weight Loss sale that we offered earlier in the summer as well, but getting started in these zoom series. And because they're new, I always say, what are you think about this zoom series? Or what do you think about this online series? And I'm getting such good feedback from clients.

NIKKI: Me too. I am too. I've been seeing quite a few. I love seeing those Nutrition 4 Weight Loss clients. I just love it. And the zoom series is going really well.

JOANN: And it's really nice to have that third appointment. So they really get a little more information from with a nutritionist and, you know, can ask questions and have just a little more time in a consultation.

NIKKI: More personalized.

JOANN: Definitely. But those are going very well. Excuse me. Before break, we were talking about cortisol again, just kind of back to that topic. It's such an important piece to know. We gain weight around our middle because stress causes our adrenal glands to produce more of that hormone cortisol and sad, but true excess cortisol leads to body fat. It's very true. So to control that stress, we suggest eating balanced small meals frequently, five or six times a day, or at least four times a day, minimally, and getting eight to nine hours of peaceful sleep that will help your cortisol just stay away. And that's important.

NIKKI: That's so important.

JOANN: Yep. And we have another question from Winnie today. She said, "I don't ever sleep through the night. I feel like my brain is always going. I take magnesium glycinate, but not daily. Sometimes it helps other times it doesn't. So how can I get a better night's sleep?" That is a great question Winnie. And one that I can relate to also, I find many clients get caught in a vicious cycle. They can't calm their brain. So they're unable to get a full seven and a half to eight hours of sleep. The next day that leaves them tired, anxious, irritable, and oftentimes are more hungry. That's definitely a connection. And then they think the most logical solution just to get through the day, I've done this before, is to drink more coffee to stay awake. However, we know the downside of coffee, it stays with us more than 21 to 24 hours. And caffeine is a stimulant. It causes the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands. That puts your body into a fight or flight mode. Now your heart is racing. Blood pressure is rising. Your muscles are tightening up. They are extremely tired, but wired. That is an awful feeling. Caffeine gives you a temporary boost, but when it wears off, you feel very fatigued and even depressed. So you drink more coffee, you feel jumpy, irritable, can't focus or even sleep, for many of you, you can relate to this. The first step to getting to sleep is to break your love affair with coffee and focus on foods and supplements to calm your brain. I have come to accept the fact that I'm very caffeine sensitive. So I have to put a limit on my caffeine intake because I hate having a busy, worried brain all night. My limit is one eight ounce cup of coffee with cream or coconut milk each day. I never drink coffee after 10:00 AM. Even when I'm on vacation, I know it's gonna affect my sleep and how I feel the next day. And so I have to stop.

NIKKI: Yeah. If you're on vacation, you want to sleep good, right?

JOANN: Exactly. That's what I go there for.

NIKKI: Yeah, exactly. JoAnn, I can completely relate. I drank a lot of caffeine in the form of... ooo, confession time... Mountain Dew as a teenager.

JOANN: Oh, we all had bad habits in the past.

NIKKI: Oh my gosh. I also was a person who woke up seven to 15 times a night. Regularly.

JOANN: Wow.

NIKKI: I don't remember not doing that until I finally got a good night's rest. I'm very sensitive to caffeine as well. To this day, I don't drink more than one cup of tea daily, so I know I can get a good night's rest. I can't even drink coffee. That's how sensitive I am. I can just do the tea, which I love, but yes.

JOANN: Wow. That's a great story. And I'm sure many listeners can relate.

NIKKI: I think they can relate. I think coffee is, is very special in many people's lives and I feel bad beating up on it sometimes, but sometimes we do when it comes to sleep, it's important.

JOANN: Well, and some people can do it just fine, but.

NIKKI: Yeah, yes!

JOANN: Not everybody! Everybody's different.

NIKKI: Everybody is different. Okay. Back to Winnie's question. Remember she said that she feels like her brain is always going. You may have an aunt or a mother, or maybe it's even you perhaps that worries or recycles thoughts all night long, that is often an indication that you have a deficiency in your calming neurotransmitters. Listeners, how do you eat to support all of your brain chemicals and neurotransmitters? That's kind of a loaded question right there, isn't it?

JOANN: It sure is!

NIKKI: Antidepressants and sleep medications do not increase the level of neurotransmitters in our body. They just hold the brain chemicals in the synapse, which is the space between brain cells. That's I mean, that's, I'm just going to review that because it's so important and kind of in, you know, fancy, I guess. Antidepressants and sleep medications do not increase the level of neurotransmitters in our bodies. They just hold the, they just hold the brain chemicals in that synapse space, which is that space between brain cells. This happens so you can make better use of the level of neuro-transmitters you have. JoAnn, how do we build up our own brain calming brain chemicals because medications just don't seem to be the best answer.

JOANN: Right. And I find people that start on medications, how they might get to the point where maybe they need more and more. Or they need to keep switching medications to find the one that works. So yeah.

NIKKI: I was on both after my concussion.

JOANN: Oh you were? Wow.

NIKKI: Sleep medication and an antidepressant. So I've, I've lived this.

JOANN: Yes, yes. And we don't want to keep going higher and higher. We want to find a better answer. So part of this, definitely it does all go back to the foods you eat. A diet that... Actually we're ready for break now. So I am going to come back to this neurotransmitter question. At the end, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Next week, Melanie and Jennifer will each share their own personal understanding of the gut brain connection. It is fascinating to learn how our gut affects our thinking and behavior. Since the start of COVID-19, we have found more and more people are interested in supporting their own health and have made the decision to eat better to support their health and immune function, even several insurance companies. And, um, I think we've, we're getting more that are kind of…

NIKKI: Yes we are.

JOANN: We have more insurance clients than we used to. Definitely. So those insurance companies are realizing the cost effectiveness and value of nutrition counseling in helping to keep their customers healthy or healthier. So this is why nutrition counseling has become an approved benefit for a number of health insurance companies. And even on zoom, they're allowing that. And I think that deserves a round of applause. If you need help determining whether your health insurance benefits include coverage for nutrition counseling, we will help you walk through that process to find your benefits to find an answer. So call us at (651) 699-3438 and we can help you navigate that insurance. We will be right back!

NIKKI: Welcome back Dishing Up Nutrition. Here's a quick recap to help you stay on track in relation to minimizing your stress, your sleep problems, your weight gain, and so much more: listening to Dishing Up Nutrition every week on the radio or download a podcast from our Dishing Up Nutrition app or from our website at weightandwellness.com. You can also take an individual online nutrition class, such as *Getting A Good Night's Sleep*, *Good Foods, Good Moods*, *Five Steps to Boost Metabolism*, *The Magic of Minerals* and more. Remember these classes are on sale during the month of August for only $10. Maybe you can take a 12 week Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series either online or through zoom. Don't forget you also get that bonus nutrition visit with those classes. That's so awesome. Or schedule a phone appointment or a zoom appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians. Again, these are stressful times we live in and sometimes we just need someone to give us an idea of what to cook for dinner, how to stop heartburn. That's a huge one right now. Or what to substitute to make a meal tasty without adding gluten or dairy. At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we do it all. Just tell us what you need. So before break, we were, I asked you a question and I'm going to re ask it so we can just bring, bring it right back. JoAnn, how do we build up our own calming brain chemicals because medications just don't seem like they're the best answer at all.

JOANN: No, and we know, and all of you listeners have heard this before, but it does go back to the food you eat. Lots of times people come and talk about supplements and what can I, what supplement can I take? And those are very helpful, but the food is most important first. The food has to be right for the supplements to work. And I always like to say that again and again, because we really need to focus on the food.

NIKKI: Food first.

JOANN: So a diet that includes a serving of meat or fish along with two to three cups of vegetables and at least a tablespoon of good beneficial fat, at least four times a day. Some people need to eat five or six times a day. That's something we help you individualize in our appointments is kind of figuring out what works best for you. So we eating four times a day to six times a day that provides the building blocks for all of our neurotransmitters: that protein, the good, the good probiotics we take that helps make our calming brain neurotransmitters. And there are two major neurotransmitters or brain chemicals that support restful sleep and good moods. Typically when people have a sufficient level of serotonin their worry and recycling of thoughts decrease and eventually the worry and thoughts are more controllable. And I like to call this brain chatter. Cause that's how it feels in the night. I've kind of been in that place before.

NIKKI: I've seen that personally myself after my concussion and actually too, during this COVID-19 pandemic we're living through, it was definitely more brain chatter. I love that brain chatter. And many of my clients are dealing with this as well. If any of you will feel like Winnie, who said her brain is always going, we suggest a very simple diet of eggs, meat or fish, cottage cheese, a variety of vegetables and a tablespoon of natural fat, at least four times a day. And like JoAnn said, it may be five. It may even be six times a day. One of those meals or snacks could be a blended protein shake made with full fat yogurt, coconut milk, whey protein, and frozen fruit. So yummy.

JOANN: That sounds so good.

NIKKI: Yes. I had that this morning.

JOANN: I did too. I love those protein shakes and they're great for these early, early days where we have to get up super early for the radio and it's all ready to go when I, when I get up in the morning. That's great. So we also suggest adding the supplement 5-HTP to help support our serotonin production. I take between two and four 5-HTP at bedtime to stop the brain chatter. Sometimes I take a couple and sometimes in the middle of the night, I might take a couple, if I need it. I also take a supplement called Gaba, which helps to support our calming neurotransmitters. I have a very busy life. I know I need at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep most nights. I also consistently take at least 400 to 600 and most of the time it's 600 and up of magnesium glycinate. Also a couple of capsules of calcium to help calm and relax the muscles in my back and legs just, I've kind of, I know sounds like a lot of pills, but I will do anything to sleep. So I've, I've gradually experimented with the supplements to find what works. And sometimes we have to change that up too.

NIKKI: Yep. I do the same thing as well. Changing things up to listen to my body. That's exactly what we're doing is listening to our body and what our body needs.

JOANN: Exactly.

NIKKI: I agree. Magnesium and calcium and 5-HTP have helped many of my clients get better sleep. So everything you just said is wonderful. I also think it's important to schedule enough time to ensure a good seven and a half to nine hours of sleep total per night. If you feel, if you feel you schedule eight hours of sleep per night and then wake up several times, you're not scheduling enough time because remember those wait times are awake times. They're not that solid eight hours. So maybe you need to schedule nine hours of sleep. This is the amount of sleep your body needs to heal. And that is so important. I tell my clients that almost every appointment, if any of my clients are listening, they're probably like, oh, there she goes again with that sleep. So this is a great transition into our next listeners concerns. Kimberly and several other listeners sent emails that said body stiffness, inflammation, and pain disturbs their sleep because there are so many reasons for pain and inflammation, we really think it's better for those of you who are experiencing these types of sleep disturbances to make an appointment with one of the dietitians or nutritionists here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, where we can really zero in specifically on the cause of your stiffness, inflammation, and pain.

JOANN: Right. And that can be such a vicious cycle. You know, if you've got pain and you're not sleeping, but then you, you know, many of us have experienced that pain. And I've come to realize for my pain that if I eat any gluten grains or if I have sugar or any kind of alcohol, which I rarely do now, I will have a lot of pain. And frankly, those sugary treats or other treats just aren't worth it to me. So we have covered a number of tips to help you get a good night's sleep. And I'd like to review those. We encourage you, as Nikki said, to schedule eight to nine hours of sleep and follow a consistent schedule that really helps your body know when it is time to sleep. We talked about eating a balanced bedtime snack, like berries and cream or half an apple and peanut butter to keep your blood sugar stable. Also, we talked about eliminating caffeine or greatly reduce it to just a cup a day. And many people need to eliminate alcohol too.

NIKKI: So yes, I agree with all those. I have another tip to share. I am very light sensitive since my concussion, so when the sun comes up, I wake up. I find blackout curtains or even a mask. I wear a mask too... An eye mask, not a face, not a mouth mask. And that helps me really sleep. If you find yourself, waking up with the sun, try making your room as dark as possible. Anything is worth trying to get some really good sleep.

JOANN: That's right. And a couple other tips, just turn off the TV, computer, phone about an hour before bed. That blue light can keep you awake.

NIKKI: We know we were not able to get to all of our questions in this hour, but we hope we have given you at least some information that will help you get better sleep. Keep sending us questions and we will try to tackle some each week. It was fun getting to know some of our listeners on today's Dishing Up Nutrition. And I look forward to joining you all again.

JOANN: That's right. It's great to have you here Nikki today.

NIKKI: Thanks for having me! I'm excited.

JOANN: Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well.

 

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