Seriously, is it morning already? Uhhggg! You roll over and pull the covers up, snuggling into the warmth for just a few more minutes. Those glasses of wine are ringing in your head as the alarm goes off again…you drag yourself out of bed and to the coffee maker… your mouth is like cotton…your family knows not to even talk to you before coffee…ugh, you think, “I am sooo not a morning person, why do I always wake up tired?”…Without coffee you can’t even make it through the day because you are so wiped out. You know you need to do something! A fatigue management plan would be great, something to kick the crap out of the morning fatigue!
Fatigue is the number one complaint from clients and patients.
Getting up feeling rested every morning can be your new normal. There are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success for an awesome morning.
- A good nights sleep starts with what we eat or don’t eat during the day.
- Caffeine, alcohol and water: need to have a conversation with your adrenals.
- Your body is meant to move and sitting is the new smoking.
- Does your brain know it’s time for bed or is it on Facebook? Or Netflix?
What do I need to eat so I don’t wake up feeling tired?
There are some basics about eating healthy that need to be followed in order for you to get the best night’s sleep possible. Let’s think about it: How can your body sleep if it is trying to digest a huge meal after not being fed properly through the day? How can your body sleep if you are skipping meals? Where are you getting the nutrients your body needs to run the chemistry of sleep? I know! Sleep is more complicated than horizontal, pillow and a blanket.
Here are the 4 basic rules to eating for good sleep:
- Do not skip meals.
- Eat several smaller snack-like meals through the day to keep your blood sugar even. Never go more than 4 hours without eating something.
- Eat protein, fiber, carbs and a little fat with meals and snacks.
- If your biggest meal is going to be dinner, try to be done with dinner by 8pm so your body can digest for a couple hours before you go to bed.
- If you are considering a “Keto” type diet that will be another blog for another day.
Skipping meals is just not negotiable. I know you’re not hungry in the morning right now because your blood sugar is a mess. You have been skipping meals then eating like a crazy person later. Or maybe you have been grabbing junk from the vending machine all day. Either way, your blood sugar and insulin levels are all over the place. This also means your energy levels will be all over the place. You will have a low mid morning and mid afternoon, most likely. This is the fast track to diabetes, heart disease and strokes, frankly. The Standard American Diet = SAD!
Solution: Try having some hard boiled eggs or cheese sticks on hand for a little protein and let’s say some berries or a small apple. That will start your day with something light, but your body will thank you for the fuel. This will also help restart your metabolism and you will learn what feeling hungry actually feels like again. You have ignored or over-eaten for so long you are out of touch with “hungry”. You won’t die if you feel it…
Having easy to grab snacks is the way to go. Guacamole, hummus, peanut butter and almond butter come in single serving sizes. Vegetables, salads and even apples come in pre-cut packages. There really is no excuse not to choose healthy. Any mix of guacamole and hummus and veggies is a great afternoon snack. An apple and nut butter is a great breakfast or snack. String cheese or cheese sticks and veggies or fruit are great anytime. The mixture of protein, carbs, fat and fiber in these choices will keep you full for 3-4 hours and are nutrient dense! That means you are actually fueling your body with with 93 octane fuel instead of diesel. I have found so many vitamin deficiencies that can create sleep issues when I do our functional lab panel for clients.
When you eat several small snacks through the day, you won’t be as starving at dinner time. Use the same rules as above to choose your dinner. Pick your protein first. I make a several extra servings a couple times a week so I always have protein on hand. It makes creating dinner so much easier. Then all you havae to add is some veggies and like a small sweet potato or 1/3 cup of beans or rice. Keeping your dinner portions under control will allow your body to fully digest and get ready for sleep.
What are the effects of caffeine, alcohol and water on sleep?
Caffeine: I am the last person to tell you to not have a cup of coffee in the morning, that would make me a hypocrite. However, one cup of coffee = 8 ounces, not a venti with 2 extra shots of espresso. Caffeine can take up to 12 hours to clear from your body. Let’s make a deal NOT to drink it past noon! It also dehydrates your body. This applies to energy drinks and caffeinated soda and tea as well. So, if you are a soda with dinner drinker, shift to something without caffeine, and without sugar (remember the whole thing about insulin and diabetes?). We drink a lot of sparkling water in my house. This keeps the soda consumption to a minimum. It’s a great replacement and counts as part of your daily water consumption.
Water is important in every single chemical reaction in your body. Did you know that your stomach needs almost a quart of water to make the appropriate amount of digestive juices to digest your meals properly? If you have reflux, eating more frequently, less sugar and carbs,and drinking more water may be part of the answer. The basic rule is half your weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 100 pounds you need to drink 50 ounces.
Okay, lets face the alcohol beast. First, one drink before 7pm probably won’t make any difference at all in the quality of your sleep. However, more than one and later than 7pm will affect your sleep patterns. It You may feel like you pass out and can sleep better when you drink as you have “taken the edge off” your day and it relaxes you. However, your liver must now provide some extra service to detoxify the alcohol, creating other harmful molecules in the process and using up your vitamin B. All of the B vitamins are necessary for good brain function and sleep.
Sleep patterns are completely disturbed. Science has proven that the first half of the night may be better, but the second half of the night will be fraught with sleep disturbances, poor REM sleep, lack of dreaming associated with unhealthy sleep and you’re more likely to snore! How sexy is all that?! Not to mention the night sweats and ladies, all of this is worse for you than it is for males.
The disturbed sleep patterns will create hormonal, cortisol and water imbalances over time. Your adrenal glands, which are located on the top poles of your kidneys, are responsible for making adrenaline, cortisol and all other hormones, as well as water and mineral balance. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, this will create long term stress on the adrenals, not to mention the kidneys and liver that are trying to get rid of toxins that will kill you. Not enough water and those toxins will build up in your system. Do you think your brain wants those toxins around?
What does exercise have to do with sleep? Here are my top 6 movement tips:
- Stress Relief! Cortisol is burned off, and endorphins, happy brain chemistry, is created. What’s not to love about that?
- Your muscles need to move to be healthy. Your brain may be tired by the end of the day but your carcass has sat on a chair doing nothing all day. Pretty hard to be tired or want to sleep when your muscles are ready to play.
- If you’re moving regularly it reduces your appetite and makes you more likely to make better choices.
- Get a FitBit, use your fitness app on your phone. Get an idea of how many steps you are taking in a day. Work on doubling that over the next month or so.
- Set an alarm on your computer so you move every hour for 3-5 minutes. Studies show you will actually be more productive because your brain will be have more oxygen. Also, the breaks allow for creativity during your day.
- Moving your body is absolutely essential to good sleep – even a 15 minute walk at lunch or after work will make a difference if you aren’t doing anything right now.
Are you ready for bed?
When we are little we have a nightly routine, right? Jammies, brushed your teeth, water, settled down, mom tucked you in…We have to create a similar routine in our homes now. We call it “settle down time” in my house, and I have two teens, accomplishing this is no small feat!
- Absolutely no screen, tv, phone, tablet (unless Kindle/Kindle appwith dark background) after about 9pm.
- Turn down all the lights in the house, except what you need to use for safety. Falling over the shoes on the floor will not help you sleep.
- Light a nice lavender candle or diffuse lavender essential oil. You can even get lavender spray for your pillow.
- No violent games or television/movies after 8pm. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between television and real life. If it’s violent or too exciting, your body will produce adrenaline and cortisol, both will keep you from sleeping. We watch a lot of comedies and the Food Network.
- Have the house below 68 degrees. Our body’s sleep better in a cooler room. You’re better off using layers of blankets.
- Create a set bedtime and wake time. Do not vary more than one hour either way. Not even on the weekends. It will take a a few weeks to make this effective, it will make a difference over time.
- Allow 6-8 hours for sleeping time. Burning the candle will burn out your adrenals really fast. Then you will have bigger issues.
Your personal fatigue management plan can start with one or two of the habits I have mentioned here. You can build on what works for you. This can be overwhelming at first, just like any new habit. You CAN be more productive in the morning if you just take on a few of these new ideas.
Fatigue Management Plan Quick Start Top 5
- Blood sugar maintenance.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption and drink more water.
- Walk at least 5-10,000 steps per day.
- Pick a bedtime and wake up time and stick to it.
- Find someone to be accountable to as you shift into new habits. Both of you will benefit.
- Download my Clean it Up and Calm the Chaos ebooks