Ask a Health Coach: Why Can’t I Sleep?

woman napping on the sofaHey there folks! Skilled health coach and Primal Health Coach Institute Curriculum Director, Erin Power is back to respond to all your concerns about sleep, from why you’re getting up in the middle of the night to the very best natural methods to enhance your sleep cycle. Got more concerns? Post them over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or down in the remarks listed below.


Jordan asked:
“I’ve been going to bed at 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. for a few weeks. For some reason, I’ve started waking at 3:15 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep. Any ideas on what’s causing it?”

Nearly half of all grownups battle with sleeping disorders to some degree, so, if it’s any alleviation, you’re in excellent business. That being stated, it’s not perfect to seem like you’re dragging yourself around throughout the day, coping with sugar-laden treats or venti-sized cups of coffee.

One of 2 nights of suboptimal sleep are workable. However when it’s a nighttime event? It’s time to dig a little much deeper.

What Getting Up Early Truly Method

According to Standard Chinese Medication, getting up at a particular time of the night (or morning in your case) is an indication that something is off in the body considering that, as TCM teaches, various hours are associated with various organs and emotions. Even if you don’t follow that train of idea, focusing on your body’s signals can be a big wake-up call (no pun meant).

It seems like these 3 a.m. awakenings are a brand-new thing, so begin by taking a look at what’s altered just recently.
Are you:

  • Under more tension in your home or work?
  • Taking a brand-new prescription or supplement?
  • Taking a look at a screen later on in the evening?
  • Consuming too near bedtime?
  • Consuming more carbohydrates than typical…or less carbohydrates?
  • Consuming alcohol or caffeine later on in the day?

Anytime you’re doing something that’s working, then unexpectedly it’s not working, it’s typically since some other aspect has actually altered. I understand, this isn’t brain surgery, however in health training we like to begin with the apparent. I like to begin with the lowest-hanging fruit, which in my experience, is frequently a modification in tension levels.

When you go to sleep in the evening and life’s other diversions have actually silenced down, the brain moves into repair work mode, and among the propensities that’s rather fundamental to that is processing the concerns of the day. While you may go to sleep with ease, your 3 a.m. shock might be brought on by an activation of your understanding nerve system. Possibly you feel your heart rate boost or your ideas begin racing. If this holds true with you, understand what may be triggering your tension and take actions to ease it prior to your head strikes the pillow.


When Blood Sugar Level is to Blame

Another thing to take a look at is blood glucose balance, which is can likewise be an offender for 3 a.m. get up. It’s well developed that high carb consumption has actually been revealed to increase the variety of times an individual wakes in the evening and minimizes the quantity of deep sleep. If you’re utilized to utilizing carbohydrates as fuel and consuming every couple of hours, blood glucose can drop throughout the night since your body isn’t getting the consistent glucose leak it’s getting throughout the day. It’s simply among the factors I’m a big supporter for leaving the Basic American Diet plan and snacking rollercoaster.

High carbohydrate isn’t constantly to blame however. One study showed that a lower carbohydrate diet could also impact sleep due to low levels of serotonin and melatonin. Researchers found that diets that were less than 50% carbs were linked to difficulty staying asleep — especially in men. There’s also proof that some people who ate low carbohydrate are more prone to experiencing sleep apnea.

Take an honest look and get clear on what’s changed in the past week or so. If you’re under more stress, eating more carbs, or starting a diet like keto, get curious about what you can do to keep sleeping through the wee hours.


Tim asked:
“I’m lacking energy and am generally tired most of the day. According to my Fitbit, my sleep quantity is good, but my sleep quality is poor. I eat primal 95% of the time, though I’m not really trying to eat low carb. I supplement with magnesium, fermented cod liver oil, fermented skate liver oil, kelp, and probiotics. I do drink two large cups of butter blended coffee in the morning that’s half decaf, and I’m not getting much sunlight exposure these days, except for a dog walk at lunch. Other than ditching the coffee, any suggestions on how to improve my deep and REM sleep?”

First of all, Mark has shared sleep tips and written about how to crush some quality sleep quite often, and he’s constantly my go-to guy for information. But one of the things that jumps out at me from your question is that you acknowledge that you aren’t getting much sunlight exposure these days.

Sunlight exposure throughout the day is essential for syncing up our circadian rhythm, which has an important impact on sleep quality. This is one of the concepts I most love teaching my health coaching clients, because the notion that we need to engage with the sun at various times of the day is just so… natural. And, remember: we are nature.

Specifically, spending a few moments looking at early day sunlight helps encourage the onset of serotonin, the wakefulness hormone. Catching the mid-day rays during your lunchtime dog walk is great: it tells your body that the day is about half over. Finally, getting some exposure to the amber light of sunset tells the body to pack serotonin away and start thinking about churning out some melatonin — the sleep hormone.

Adding a morning walk and an after-dinner walk — just 15 minutes or so — is a simple way to spend just enough time in morning and evening sunlight, respectively, so you can get your sleep-wake hormones purring like a kitten.

And here are some more good ideas:

  1. Wear Blue Blockers
    Artificial light from computers, tablets, and phone screens messes with your circadian rhythm, so if you need to finish work late at night or can’t stop scrolling social media, put on a pair of blue light blocking glasses to help reduce the impact on your sleep cycle.
  2. Get Black-Out Blinds
    Even a small amount of light can disrupt your sleep. Black-out blinds are a great solution for the summer months, but can likewise be a huge help year-round. If new window coverings aren’t in the cards, get yourself a sleep mask.
  3. Turn Down the Thermostat
    Your body temperature always rises at night, so keep your room cool (between 60-67?F / 15.6-19.4?C) to prevent overheating. Or get yourself a ChiliPAD. You won’t be sorry. I absolutely love mine.
  4. Skip the Drink
    You might be tempted to wind down with a fine glass of Rioja, but alcohol late at night can interrupt your REM cycle too, leaving you feeling drained and groggy the next day. Alcohol can likewise cause you to snore more. Something to keep in mind if you care about the person sleeping next to you.
  5. Keep your Phone Away
    In addition to emitting low levels of blue light, the temptation to respond to emails, check your Instagram feed, or make late-night purchases can be hard to resist when your phone is sitting right there on the bedside table. Instead, put it out of arm’s reach, preferably in the next room.


Ali asked:
“What are the best sleep supplements that don’t include magnesium or melatonin?”

Ask most individuals what they use for a natural sleep aid, and chances are you’ll be overwhelmed by folks singing the praises of magnesium and melatonin. And for good reason as they relax nerves and muscles, and help adjust your circadian rhythm, respectively.

As a health coach, it’s not in my practice to recommend specific supplements (although Mark has a great article about a few of them here), but if you ask me, there are even better sleep aid solutions that don’t require popping a pill.

Natural Sleep Remedies That Aren’t Supplements

If you’re open to the idea that you shouldn’t have to take something to get your body and mind to unwind, try deep breathing and meditation – two of my favorite relaxation techniques.

Most of us have the habit of taking quick or shallow breaths. Or worse, completely holding our breath for periods of time. When you’re getting ready for bed tonight, spend a few minutes taking slow, deep breaths, in and out from your belly. This naturally causes you to relax, which reduces the tension hormones that block melatonin (and prevent you from getting a solid night of shut eye).

Doing a body scan can also help. This is type of mindful meditation combines breathwork with consciously relaxing your muscles. When you’re ready to give it a go, lie down in a quiet, comfortable place, beginning at your head and working down to your toes. Notice any areas of tension you’re feeling, then direct your breath to that spot. Research backs it up too, saying that doing a 20-minute body scan before bed can help you sleep longer and wake up less frequently during the night.

What’s your go-to for a better night’s sleep? Tell me in the comments below.

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About the Author

Erin Power is the Coaching and Curriculum Director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients regain a loving and trusting relationship with their bodies—while restoring their metabolic health, so they can lose fat and gain energy—via her own private health training practice, eat.simple.

If you have a passion for health and wellness and a desire to help people like Erin does every day for her customers, consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. Learn the 3 simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in 6 months or less in this special info session hosted by PHCI co-founder Mark Sisson.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.