Hey Y’all! In today’s blog post and video, I’m sharing 3 reasons why you may have trouble falling asleep at night and getting good quality sleep. Of course, there are many reasons as to why a person can’t fall asleep, including nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, etc. But, today, I’ll be sharing three of the most common based on working with clients.
Lets jump right in!
#1 – Low Magnesium Levels
Magnesium is a very important mineral that’s known as the “relaxation” mineral because of its role in helping to calm the nervous system and muscles in the body. It basically helps to put your body into a complete relaxation mode. This is why so many people find that taking epsom salt baths help them to fall asleep faster.
Because this mineral is so important in terms of helping your body to relax, even a small deficiency can lead to sleeping problems. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post about the 7 Common Signs of a Magnesium Deficiency. And, in that post, I talk about how some studies suggest that up to 80% of Americans are deficient on some level in magnesium.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the sale of sleeping pills are at an all time high!
In fact, I encourage nearly all of my clients to take some form of high quality magnesium for a period of time, especially if they’re not eating foods high in magnesium on a daily basis. And, every single one of them report back that their sleep improves greatly after a few days of taking a high quality magnesium supplement.
There are several reasons why so many of us are low in magnesium, including a rise in digestion and absorption issues, a diet low in magnesium-rich foods, and nutrient depletion in the soil. Another factor that I believe plays a major role in magnesium deficiency is the fact that caffeine and stress deplete magnesium levels in the body.
Correcting any minor or major deficiencies in this very important mineral is the first thing I’d recommend if you’re experiencing problems falling asleep or getting good quality sleep.
#2 – High Cortisol Levels in the Evening
What is cortisol? Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s produced by the adrenal glands. And, in the right amounts, cortisol is a great thing! Side Note: Too much cortisol (caused by stress) can lead to belly fat.
In fact, your cortisol levels should be highest in the mornings, which is what wakes you up and gets you going, and lowest in the evenings.
But, when your body experiences a lot of stress, including mental stress, work-related stress, emotional stress, autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, and even the environment toxins we breath in everyday, it puts a huge burden on the adrenal glands.
And, when the adrenal glands are over-worked, it can cause your cortisol levels to get flip-flopped, which means instead of your cortisol levels being high in the mornings, now they’re very low. This can make it more difficult to wake up and get going in the mornings (in order words, you need caffeine!). And, instead of your cortisol being low in the evenings, now it’s too high, keeping you awake all night!
So, what are some things you can do to balance your cortisol levels?
#1 – Eat a small amount of healthy starchy carbs with dinner. I know this goes against pretty much all diet advice. But, studies have shown that when your blood sugar drops too low, your body has to produce cortisol to bring it back up! So, if you find that after eating a super low carb dinner, you’re wide awake, then try including some starchy carbs with dinner. This would include things like sweet potatoes, cooked plantains, butternut squash, etc. And, it doesn’t take much… about 1/2 a cup worth. In fact, I like to eat fairly low carb, high fat during the day and then include starchy carbs for my evening meal. And, this one change has improved my sleep greatly!
#2 – Support your adrenal glands. Ultimately, if you want your cortisol levels to be balanced, you must support and strengthen your adrenal glands. You can do this by reducing the overall stress in your life, including starchy carbs for dinner, and taking certain support nutrients that specifically target the adrenal glands, such as adrenal glandulars, vitamin C, pantethine, and adaptogenic herbs.
Signs that your cortisol levels are imbalanced or “flip-flopped”…
- Very tired and sluggish in the morning
- You need caffeine to get you going
- You don’t feel completely energized until about 11am.
- You’re wide awake in the evenings, especially around 10pm-1am
- You wake up at least once every evening to urinate, usually around 2am.
If you believe that weak adrenals and imbalanced cortisol levels are the root of your sleeping problems, I recommend taking a saliva test that can measure your cortisol levels throughout the day.
#3 – Too Much Blue Light Technology in the Evening
That’s right! Anything device that emits a blue light, such as televisions, laptop screens, and smartphone screens, can interfere with your sleeping patterns.
Studies have shown that blue light interferes with your body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep-inducing hormone, which puts your body into sleep-mode. So, it makes sense that suppressing the production of this important sleep hormone can lead to sleeping problems.
In fact, I suggest turning off all technology at least 2 hours before bed to ensure that your melatonin production is not surpassed. I understand there may be some nights where you have to work late on the computer. In those cases, I like to use blue-blocker glasses or you can install a free software called Flux that gives your screen a red tinted during evening hours.
Well, I hope this information is helpful to you. Do you experience sleeping problems? If so, comment below and let me know what natural remedies you use to help you fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep.