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Sleep Like a Baby Tonight

by | Aug 9, 2021 | Sleep

Driving my daughter and her best friend to the river for some summer tubing, my daughter laughingly explained to her bestie that Mom has two favorite words: sunscreen and sleep! It’s true. I’m a little obsessed with both. My daughters have fond memories of me rubbing thick white zinc oxide into their skin for years! They eventually revolted against this ‘sandpapery’ feelin’ ceremonial process but still mock me for saying it’s ten o’clock and time for bed when it’s only 9:30!

This Mama loves her sleep! But it didn’t always come easily. I woke up between 2 and 4 AM rattling through my to-do list. Then, I’d crash-n-burn between 2 and 4 PM, reaching for a cup of coffee. If you’re on the sleep struggle bus, discover these top three sleep disruptors so you can sleep like a baby tonight (and every night unless you have babies that don’t sleep!)

Nutrition and proper sleep hygiene are essential to staying on track for all your Zzzs. But don’t forget to beware of the top three sleep disruptors: alcohol, caffeine, and cortisol.

If you’re on the sleep struggle bus, discover these top three sleep disruptors so you can sleep like a baby tonight (and every night unless you have babies that don’t sleep!)

ALCOHOL: Can Just One Drink Ruin Sleep?

I love red wine (though I’d rank coffee and chocolate higher any day of the week!) While making dinner, a glass of wine relaxes me. (Side Note: Did you know I don’t love cooking, but fell in love with Green Chef?)

If you’re struggling with sleep, a great rule of thumb is to avoid more than one drink at one sitting. Alcohol inhibits REM sleep – the phase of sleep that supports learning, memory, and processing emotions. In addition, research suggests more than one alcoholic drink for women (or more than two for men) reduces sleep quality.

You can test your genetics to discover your genetic ability to metabolize alcohol. In general, allow at least one hour per beverage before your ideal bedtime (according to your chronotype.) I’m a lightweight and an early bird! So for me, it’s best to enjoy a glass of wine while I’m making dinner or during dinner, but not after dinner. This timing allows my body to metabolize the alcohol before heading off to bed (usually around 10 PM.)

If you’re struggling with sleep, a great rule of thumb is to avoid more than one drink at one sitting. Alcohol inhibits REM sleep – the phase of sleep that supports learning, memory, and processing emotions.

CAFFEINE: Do You Have to Give Up Your Morning Cup of Coffee?

Visiting a friend, her husband offered me a cup of coffee. I declined. Then I saw his frothy cup of joe fresh-pressed from his Nespresso machine and couldn’t resist! I eventually ended up buying the coffee machine too! I’m slightly coffee-obsessed. (Checkout Coffee: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly)

Regardless of how you consume caffeine (energy drinks, black and green tea, soft drinks, even decaf coffee with a bit of caffeine), caffeine can disrupt your sleep. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine out of your body.

The way your body breaks down caffeine has a lot to do with genetics. If you’re a slow metabolizer, you may feel jittery after drinking caffeine. If that’s the case, you’ll likely avoid caffeine entirely because it’s not a pleasant experience. But if you enjoy a cup here and there, consume it before noon. This timing will allow your body to fully metabolize the caffeine before your ideal bedtime (according to your chronotype.)

Fast metabolizers of caffeine (who often boast they can drink it before bed and fall asleep without a problem) should still avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime. This is because caffeine decreases deep sleep and total sleep time. So test your genetics to determine your maximum daily dose of caffeine and time it accordingly for quality sleep.

Regardless of how you consume caffeine (energy drinks, black and green tea, soft drinks, even decaf coffee with a bit of caffeine), caffeine can disrupt your sleep. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine out of your body.

CORTISOL: Can Cortisol Keep You Awake?

Cortisol is the “stress hormone.” When we perceive a threat, it’s produced by the adrenal glands – to help us fight or flee. But if we’re feeling threatened or stressed out all the time, cortisol starts misbehaving. This misbehavior can create a host of problems, including sleep problems.

Cortisol follows a regular pattern throughout the day, commonly referred to as the “cortisol curve.” In a healthy curve, cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off through the day and evening – like a slow-release energy pill that wears off just in time for bed. Cortisol levels should reach their lowest level around 3 AM, then rise, peaking around 8 AM.

Is your cortisol misbehaving? Sometimes cortisol peaks too early – hours before dawn – usually 2 to 4 in the morning. This was me for a long time after having kids. I’d rarely sleep through the night and crash and burn mid-morning, reaching for another cup of coffee mid-day. Now I sleep through the night, but I’ll fall right back into this “can’t sleep through the night” pattern if I’m going through a stressful period.

Another way cortisol misbehaves is peaking too late in the day. If this is you, falling asleep can take hours and feels nearly impossible. Sometimes cortisol stays elevated the entire day. If this is you, you feel wired and tired – exhausted and hyper at the same time. People may even comment that you’re a fast talker! After cortisol remains elevated for an extended period, it can drop off altogether. If this is you, you drag through the day – even after plenty of sleep – and need high-octane coffee to pull you up, but it doesn’t last! You can fall asleep anywhere and anytime.

Not to worry. Getting your misbehaving cortisol back in line is possible! Discover how to rebalance your cortisol in my FREE Hormone 7-Day Reset.

To sleep like a baby every night, avoid too much alcohol and caffeine too close to bedtime (according to your genetics.) Also, don’t forget to get that cortisol back to behaving in my FREE Hormone 7-Day Reset. Finally, use nutrition to support your sleep! The top five nutrients that help rest include melatonin, magnesium, chamomile, hops, and passionflower. In addition, many report CBD or a warm Epsom salt bath before bed improves sleep. See the P.S. for my favorite sleep supplement I take every night!

#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange

Rise stronger,

P.S. Isagenix Sleep Support & Renewal is my favorite sleep supplement. I take 2-3 sprays before bed every night. The sustained-release melatonin, combined with the proprietary nutrient complex of L-theanine, tart cherry, lemon balm, chamomile, and valerian root extract, helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. For me, that translates into better mental clarity, cognitive function, and overall brain health daily.†

P.P.S. If you want me to look at your sleep genetics, Schedule Your Eat for Your Genetics Consultation. We’ll review your full report and nutrition plan. Then, I’ll highlight the key takeaways based on your health goals and suggest easy ways to supplement your shortcomings. Afterward, I’ll email you the summary, so you have it forever!

†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About the Author: Dr. Sue

Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a board-certified pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.

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