More and more Americans struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep on a consistent basis. We need all the practical tools and tips to support healthy sleep, and that’s what this episode is all about!
Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a neuropsychologist in New York City. She is also faculty at Columbia University. Her website Comprehend the Mind is here.
Dr. Hafeez has been a trusted and recurring expert across media channels for top outlets such as The Wallstreet Journal, The Washington Post, HuffPost, The New York Times, Bustle, Elite Daily, Refinery29, Prevention, Health, Healthline and on TV for such shows and news as Dr. Oz, The Doctors, CNN, CBS NY Weekend News, and FOX.
Download this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts!
Key Topics: –
Why 40-50% of Americans are struggling with sleep, more so than ever before
What is circadian rhythm and why it matters
How sleep impacts mental health and replenishes the brain
How anxiety starts at night
The ritual to have to prepare for sleep
Tips to try to support better sleep
The best way to calm an anxious brain at bedtime
How parents can use kids’ bedtime to take time to develop their own sleep hygiene
Sponsor: Ritual vitamins – get 10% off your first three months at ritual.com/spark.
If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you know it affects your entire life. It affects how you move (or don’t move), your concentration, your ability to sleep, your interactions with others, even your bathroom habits. Because anxiety is on the rise, and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, I want to share some little-known triggers for anxiety that you may not be hearing about from anyone else!
Like everything I share, remember that your body’s response to food or internal/external stressors is individual to YOU. What is a trigger for one person might not be a trigger for you. Being aware of how your unique body responds to this world is only something you can determine.
Five triggers for your anxiety that your doctor might not tell you about:
Artificial sweeteners and dyes – not only do they disrupt nervous system function, but sucralose decreases beneficial gut bacteria and aspartame increases anxiety and depression (just another reason to lay off the Diet Coke). Sweeteners can also negatively impact blood sugar – which can increase panic attacks! Food dyes may trigger “mind-storms,” which are issues with the brain’s wiring or electrical activity. No bueno!
Too much screen time – blue light from screens can suppress the hormone melatonin which is needed for restful sleep. Screens can also disrupt the calming neurotransmitter Gaba, along with serotonin – the happy one.
Magnesium deficiency – magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents the creation of excess cortisol, the stress hormone. Some call it “nature’s Xanax.” It’s needed for just about every process in the body. It’s found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens, but it’s also an inexpensive supplement! Two of my favorite formulations are the Plexus one, here, or Nutritional Frontiers, here.
Excess caffeine – a little is fine, but too much can stimulate the fight or flight response and trigger racing thoughts, or even panic attacks. Some people metabolize it slower than others, so keep that in mind when you have your afternoon coffee or tea break – your mind might be racing at 1 am!
Stored trauma that hasn’t been addressed– trauma can keep our bodies in that constant fight or flight state, which can lead to poor sleep, inability to concentrate, and panic attacks. Fortunately, there are a wide range of trauma therapies, and many mind-body strategies available to help your body unlock trauma and heal! EMDR and EFT (tapping) are two of the most popular. The wellness center I work with has some amazing trauma therapists and resources here.
Honorable mention: Blood sugar issues: when we’re riding that blood sugar roller coaster it can cause all sorts of poor mental health symptoms. Limit sugar consumption to limit the swing. Consume plenty of fiber-rich vegetables, brain-boosting fats and quality protein with each meal. Many times we fail to fill up on necessary nutrients so we stay hungry, reaching for quick fix glucose fuel and perpetuating the cycle of brain fog and hunger.
Poor digestion: If you can’t digest protein, you can’t make the neurotransmitters needed for mental health. Period. You know that old saying, “you are what you eat?” It’s not true. It should be, “You are what you are able to digest.” When we can’t create serotonin from our food nutrients, we can’t access melatonin either, which affects mood AND sleep. Taking digestive enzymes and working on gut health can help, something I love helping people with!
The next round of Feast 2 Fast, an online coaching group that pairs science-based nutrition principles with timeless spiritual truth to reset your mind, body, and soul starts May 3.Join the wait list here – or contact me directly for more coaching options!
Esther Blum is a nutrition expert I have looked up to for quite a while! She is the bestselling author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, Eat Drink and Be Gorgeous, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous Project. As an Integrative Dietitian and High Performance Coach, she provides 360 degrees of healing with physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual support. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, the Today Show, A Healthy You with Carol Alt, the ISAAC show, ABC-TV, FOX- 5’s Good Day NY, and Fox News Live. Esther is also frequently quoted in E!Online, In Touch, Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire, and Cosmo.
In this jam-packed episode of the Sparking Wholeness podcast, we discuss the following topics:
How to detox properly
How to improve hormone function
Why protein is essential and why you may not be eating enough
Why managing stress should be foundational to health
What does leaky gut have to do with health and how to improve it
The real deal with gluten
How to hack the immune system
Practical sleep tips
How finding wholeness starts within
You can schedule a call with Esther here, and the first 12 people who respond get a FREE consultation!
Listen to the episode on iTunes here or my show page here.