Sleep, and how to get more of it.

Who gets 8 hours of sleep a night?  I’d like to shake your hand if you do.  And I would like to know all of your secrets, especially if you have young kids. By the time I actually lay down in bed, there is alot of tossing and turning, and then frequent waking, and staring at the clock.  Anyone else? By the time morning comes, I feel like I never slept, and then in order to feel like I have energy, I have to depend on coffee or energy drinks just to get to 9 am. The day just drags on, and I feel exhausted, I can’t wait to crawl in to bed, expecting to fall asleep fast, but NOPE!  So what gives???  How do we unwind and get our bodies into the right frame of mind for sleep?  How do we shut down and drift off?

How do we go from this:

to this?

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule!  Pick a bed time and stick to it.  Also, try to wake up at the same time every day.  Having a consistent wake and sleep pattern trains your body to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
  2. Exercise:  But avoid doing it too close to bedtime.  Working out improves the length and quality of your sleep! It signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you’ll get drowsy. But experts say to avoid doing it at least 4 hours from bedtime.  I guess I should start exercising!
  3. Cut all caffeine out after 2 pm!  Yes people.  This includes ALL caffeine.  Chocolate, coffee, tea, soda…………… Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it’ll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.
  4. Start writing in a journal.  Many people, myself included, complain that they can’t shut their mind down at night. So, writing down your worries at night should help with that.
  5. Take time to wind down. I have a hard time with this. Taken from Prevention Magazine:
    “Sleep is not an on-off switch,” says Dr. Breus. “It’s more like slowly easing your foot off the gas.” Give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and divvying up the time as follows: First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes). Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face). Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.
  6. Use your essential oils to help you sleep and wind down!  I run my diffuser every single night!  And I also apply my essential oils topically, to both my temples, and my feet!  i use a variety of oils depending on what I feel that I need.  I really depend on Lavender most nights.  And Vetiver.  That seems to be my go-to oil lately.  My favorite blend to diffuse is Grounding Blend, Vetiver and Lavender. Something about that combination just brings me to that place where I can close my eyes and fall asleep.  It’s just so calming and relaxing.
  7. TURN OFF YOUR TV!!! I added this one because I am a big believer in essential oils, yes!  However, we depend WAY TOO MUCH on TV to fall asleep!!!!!! It has NO PURPOSE in our bedroom!!  And this is coming from someone WHO HAS ONE IN HERS!  We should not be sleeping with one on!  For those of you who do, TURN IT OFF.
  8. Snack on cheese and crackers before bed. The ideal nighttime nosh combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan—studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.
  9. Use a white noise machine, or listen to classical music. Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep. Liv sleeps with a sound machine, and Luca sleeps to classical music, and both of them sleep the best. And I sleep really well now because Luca’s monitor is on, and I hear his music in my room, and it is just so soothing, so between the essential oils and the music, it’s just so nice
  10. No alcohol 2 hours before bedtime!  You might think it helps you sleep, but it actually disrupts your sleep pattern!

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Maybe if I follow my own advice, I’ll sleep like a baby tonight!  I certainly could use a good nights sleep! Sweet dreams!

 

TO FIND OUT WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS I LOVE:  Contact me @ caracciolowellness@gmail.com for more information or for samples!! I can send you whatever you heart desires, as long as it’s essential oils!

Are YOU what you eat? Sugar and how it hurts your adrenals

We eat WAY too much sugar in this country.  Over the last 200 years the average American has gone from eating 1-2lbs of sugar per year to consuming around 150lbs. In October of 2011, the health department launched a campaign and showed that drinking just one 20 ounce soda a day equals 50 pounds of sugar in a year! And most people don’t stop at one soda a day! What about the sugar that we DON’T know about?  You know, the HIDDEN sugars? Though you may be very conscious of your daily sugar intake, there are several foods on the market that you may not be aware are so high in sugar content. Everybody knows that sweet goods such as cake and candy are to be consumed in moderation, but people may not be aware of that fact that foods such as tomato sauce, tonic water, bread and even fat free dressing are all guilty of being ‘hidden sugar’ products. It is really worth doing your homework on the weekly shop to make sure you are purchasing the very best and healthiest options for you or your family, it really can make a difference. Reading ingredient labels carefully is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

When we eat excess sugar, our pancreas and adrenal glands produce extra insulin and cortisol to handle the influx of sugar and empty calories. Over time, and especially if combined with other factors like a stressful lifestyle, the stress on these organs begins to tell. A long-term high-sugar diet can contribute to lower levels of key hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol, aldosterone, and even the sex hormones. This leads to Adrenal Fatigue – tiredness, low energy levels, and a general lack of vitality and enthusiasm.

With the holidays coming up, I think it’s safe to say that NO ONE is going to give up holiday baking or eating (including myself) because lets be real. You need to live a little, and enjoy this time!  I don’t drink soda, and I don’t eat or drink excessive amounts of sugar.  However, if you stick a cookie or piece of cake in front of my face, YOU BETTER BELIEVE that I am going to eat it!  So, I think we should all make a promise to ourselves that after the holidays are over, that we do what we need to do to get healthy for us!  To decrease the amount of sugar and toxic substances that we put into our bodies. That we take better care of ourselves.  So, lets make a diet plan, so that we can wipe out adrenal fatigue from the diet standpoint.  So that we can go from this:

TO THIS

Where do we begin in 2015?  Well, one thing I learned from seeing my nutritionist is this: WHEN you eat is almost as important as WHAT you eat. By eating the right combination of natural, high quality food at frequent, regular intervals, you can help avoid low blood sugar and make a difference in your adrenal health and energy levels.

WHEN TO EAT:

Many people wait too long to eat after waking up in the morning, or, skip breakfast all together! This is a BIG no no!! If you have adrenal fatigue, it is very important that you eat before 10:00 AM. This is important to help replenish the waning stored blood sugar supply after the previous nights energy needs.  Makes sense, right?

An early lunch, right before noon, is better than a late lunch because your body quickly uses up the morning nourishment and is ready for more. Between 11 and 11:30 AM is usually the best time for lunch. You should also eat a nutritious snack between 2 and 3 PM to sustain yourself for the cortisol dip that typically occurs between 3 and 4 PM. Your evening meal should be eaten between 5 and 6 PM.

A few bites of a high quality snack, like nuts, or celery and hummus,  before bed can help get through sleep disturbances.

WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK:

A fat, protein and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) at every meal and snack. This combination helps provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day. It is important to remember that foods that are converted too quickly into energy (like sugary snacks or highly processed foods) will quickly let you down.  Protein should be good quality from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or plant sources.  Try to avoid processed sources like packages lunch meats or processed cheeses. And they say salt in moderation is good for people with adrenal fatigue as well, unless you suffer from High blood pressure.  When choosing veggies, always choose brightly colored ones, and be creative.  Try new things, keep it interesting so that you don’t get bored.  They are good for you, experiment. Share ideas and tips in the comment section of my blog, or on my facebook page.  i always love new recipes, and I’m sure everyone else does too!

I found this recipe for Adrenal Recovery soup online:  Try it!!!

Adrenal Recovery Soup
The following vegetable soup recipe has proved helpful in adrenal support. It is rich in minerals and alkalinizing to help balance the acidity that usually occurs in people experiencing adrenal fatigue and stress. It has a calming, settling effect. This soup, called “Taz,” comes from Dolores S. Downey’s “Balancing Body Chemistry with Nutrition” seminars.

  • 16 oz. green beans
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup spring water
  • 2 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Combine ingredients and simmer for one hour until vegetables are tender. Pepper to taste.

FRUIT:

They say that people with adrenal fatigue should go light on fruit, I guess because of the extra sugar in fruit, even though it’s natural. Fruits contain a significant amount of fructose and potassium, which is a detrimental combination for those with exhausted adrenals. However, it is preferable that any fruit that you do eat is organically grown. Below is a short list of fruits people with adrenal fatigue tend to do well with, and ones they should avoid.

Preferred Fruits Fruits to Avoid
papaya bananas
mango raisins
plums dates
pears figs
kiwi oranges
apples grapefruit
grapes (only a few)
cherries

Summary of What to Eat 
Here are 9 easy rules to follow:

  1. Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods
  2. Combine a healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate source with every meal
  3. Eat lots of vegetables, especially the brightly colored ones
  4. Salt your food to a pleasant taste
  5. Eat mainly whole grains as your source of carbohydrate
  6. Combine grains with legumes (beans), or legumes with seeds or nuts to form a complete protein
  7. Avoid fruit in the morning
  8. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fresh essential oils (cold pressed olive, grape seed, safflower, flax, etc.) into grains, vegetables and meats daily
  9. Eat high quality food; it becomes you.

By following these simple guidelines, your food intake can help support your adrenals and prevent low blood sugar.