Mind Body Life Alchemy Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
This page is designed to be a resource of mind-body-life strategies and interventions for common struggles, as well as to answers questions that I have been asked such as:
What should I eat to feel more energy? Why can’t I lose weight? Has my mind and body forgotten how to sleep? Does the fact that I wear my sunglass while looking for them mean I have attention deficit disorder? I cannot relax, how do I relax?
Many other topics will be added as this tab grows but for now……
Sleep: Why is it so hard to get a good nights sleep? Sleep disturbance is at the top of the list of life and health struggles for so many. Even if someone focuses on a different problem (stress, anxiety or brain fog), sleep disturbance is in their symptoms list. People consistently report feeling “tired but wired”, difficulty shutting it down and falling asleep or waking up throughout the night and not being able to fall back to sleep easily. A number of mind body factors need to synchronize in order to get good sleep. This is where we will start: *** A good night sleep starts the moment you wake up.
1.You need melatonin-the neuro-hormone that aids sleep. In order to get melatonin, you need to have serotonin in your mind-body system- the neurotransmitter associated with depression- it is your “feel good” neurotransmitter and it is a pre-cursor to melatonin. Serotonin and melatonin have an important relationship, they are the day and night brain chemistry that help you stay happy and calm in the day and sleep peacefully at night. In order to make serotonin you need tryptophan- an amino acid found in certain foods. Serotonin is derived from tryptophan (under certain conditions, and combined with a few other nutrients and some carbohydrate, without disruption). So, to get a good night sleep you need to start the moment you wake up because your what you eat and how your feel that day (clam, not stressed) are going to be significant factors in your ability to get restful sleep. (below you will find food sources and a sample diet rich in tryptophan). You can take a melatonin supplement and it may help you sleep for the night but it will not resolve the problem…taking melatonin it is symptom management only. Getting the tryptophan-serotonin-melotonin system in balance will help you resolve sleep issues.
2. Decompress stress- in order to get restful sleep stress has to be managed. I will have a whole post on stress in the near future but for now lets focus on getting rid of excess stress, mental, emotional and toxin related stress. Exercise! You have to have a way to release stress build up. Your exercise regimen does not have to be much, and too much, or exercise you do not like, will diminish its positive effects- it will add to stress. Take a walk-30 minutes, practice yoga- stretch and strengthen, get some endorphins flowing. Do not distract with the TV- if you need to distract yourself from your exercise, because you do not like it, it is not the right exercise for you at this time, and it will perpetuate the problem. Do something fun, get moving and try to get outside, (daylight is another key player in getting a good night sleep).
The reason nutrition and stress are the top 2 MBL sleep interventions is because of their relationship to each other: Nutrients essential for sleep are tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin B6, & carbohydrates-(needed to convert tryptophan into serotonin-which is why low carb diet can be problematic). Stress slows digestion and nutrient absorption which disrupts the Tryptophan-Serotonin-Melatonin system. Stress prevents nutrients from breaking down and being processed in a way that your cells can use them and respond to them- so even if you eat the right things you may not have the right result if stress is disrupting the system. (this is also why you can eat well and gain weight- more on this soon) Keep in mind: Sleep is based on a cycle, a rhythm, it is not a switch. It can take a couple of days to regulate your sleep cycle.
A quick list of MBL interventions to improve sleep: At Bed Time: Yoga Asana (poses): Good Night Yoga Sequence(video soon), + Legs up the wall-5 minutes Pranayama (breathing): 5-3-7 - triangle breath, inhale for 5, hold for 3, exhale for 7 Mudra(hand yoga): Shakti (touch left pinky and ring finger to right pinky and ring fingers, fold thumbs in palms, fold first and middle fingers over thumbs) Mantra (affirmation): “I let go of today and rest for tomorrow”, “ I have accomplished all I can for today, I let go with ease and comfort” Journal or list: Write what is on your mind for 5-10 minutes before bed-seriously, brain dump- get it out. Meditation: guided imagery- moonlight meditation, progressive muscle relaxation(inhale and squeeze and tense muscles group, exhale and release) Essential Oils: Lavender (calming), Melissa ~lemon balm (well-being, peaceful), Vanilla (soothing), Bergamot (happy/ calm) Read a book: Black and white print- not on a lighted device- lights shining into your eyes prevents melatonin release In the Daytime: Breathe: every hour top at the of the hour check if you are really breathing, 5-10 deep, full, slow breaths Exercise: Cardio, 30 minutes in the day (not before bed), stretch to release tension in muscles No Alcohol (at least while your resent your system), limit or eliminate processed foods & sugar Nutrition: Tryptophan + carbs (some) Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B6 Gemstones-: Howlite (stone of tranquility), Hematite (grounding, centering, reduces mental clutter, protective against negative influences), Snowflake Obsidian (soothing, cooling calming), Amethyst (stone of serenity)
Tryptophan rich foods: Turkey, Chicken,Salmon, Nuts and seeds - sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Tofu, Oats, bananas, milk, cheese, beans & lentils & **Tart Cherry Concentrate- I like the Stanton Orchard Brand, it works for me- 2T is the recommended dose (I mix it with lime sparkling water) Sample Day of Tryptophan rich meals: Breakfast: oatmeal with walnuts, banana, milk and honey Lunch: lettuce wraps with turkey, sliced granny smith apple, provolone cheese, and a honey mustard vinaigrette Snacks: 1oz sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and 2 T tart cherry concentrate mixed with 2oz lime sparkling water Dinner: Tuna and white bean salad on romaine lettuce with chopped roasted red pepper, kalamata olives & feta cheese Snacks: 3-4 crackers with 1oz peanut butter or cheese Drink Lots of water: - stay hydrated
**If you are interested in this topic and want to create a personalized plan to resolve your sleep issues, feel free to schedule a Holistic Wellness Coaching appointment