After a long day complete with energy crashes and “angry” moments, you have dinner. Suddenly, 6PM, 7PM roll around and you’ve got energy to burn. By the time it’s 10PM, you definitely can’t fall asleep- your mind is on overdrive! You’re thinking, you’re worrying, you’re planning.
And why should you go to bed earlier? This is the only time you have to yourself, after all.
When you do finally fall asleep, it’s choppy. Maybe you toss and turn, or get up a bunch of times to pee, drink, grab something to eat or do more worrying.
By the time your alarm goes off in the morning, you can’t get out of bed. So you hit snooze. Again. And again. And again. Then you can’t wait any longer, so you burst out of bed to throw on some clothes and grab a coffee before heading out the door.
This sequence repeats itself in your life day after day, and it’s enough to drive any woman crazy! For reals.
Fatigue is no joke. So let’s get serious(ish).
5 Crucial Strategies to Sleep Easy + Fight Fatigue
#1 Balance Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is always number one in my book. There’s even a running joke among a wellness business mastermind group I’m apart of that if everyone balanced their blood sugar, we could cure the world’s problems! While that might be an exaggeration, balanced blood sugar is extremely essential for being wired at night and tired in the morning.
You see, insulin, our blood sugar regulating hormone, can meds with your stress response (see #2 below). When we eat like sit, we sit on our butts all day and we internalize stress (perhaps without even realizing it), insulin’s “key” to our cells to let sugar in, doesn’t happen. It’s like our cells have changed the locks. So we get loads of sugar and insulin in our blood.
This turns insulin into a fat storage hormone, putting weight on our bodies and making us feel sluggish. Often with this type of insulin resistance, our blood sugar will crash during the night (making you wake up) and in between meals (like those 10AM and 3PM energy crashes). This means that by the time we get to dinner, usually our biggest and most satisfying meal of the day, our energy finally goes up.
If our meals contain a lot of refined carbs, sugar and not enough fat or proteins, those spikes and crashes effect everything in our lives, leaving you wired at night and tired in the morning(/all day).
So, balancing blood sugar is the first place to start when aiming for better sleep, less fatigue and more YOU.
#2 Support Your Adrenals
What the @#%& are adrenals you ask? Well, they’re two small organs in your body that sit on top of each kidney. They’re small, about the size of a walnut, but are incredibly important and often forgotten- especially in the traditional medical world. Adrenals not only regulate your entire stress response (aka Fight or Flight and Rest or Digest), they also produce sex hormones in small amounts, like progesterone.
Our adrenal glands also have a hand in our sleep-wake cycle, and often times over prolonged physical, mental or emotional stress (aka modern life), they get fatigued, and all turned around.
Normally, cortisol, one of the main adrenal-produced stress hormones, is highest in the morning and lowest right before bed. Makes sense- it helps us get up and moving and then helps us fall asleep easily at night.
When we have that stress, and blood sugar stuff like we talked about above is a big part of this, the adrenal rhythm gets messed with. What ends up happening is the reverse of ideal- cortisol is too low in the morning, and spikes in the evening, preventing us from having a good night’s sleep and feeling anything but fatigued during the day.
#3 Heal Your Gut
Next up we have to talk about our gut. There’s a million and one reasons why gut problems will influence that feeling of being wired at night but being unable to get going in the morning and fighting fatigue all day.
Our gut is our body’s first line of defence against pretty much everything. Basically your gut is one long tube from your mouth to your butt. It has an important yet delicate lining that keeps all the bad stuff away. In many ways modern life slowly eats away at this lining, and bad stuff like pathogens (aka viruses and bacteria) plus undigested food particles get into the blood stream.
Let’s say for example you’ve eaten a lot of dairy today. And yet again your wired at night and the next day dragging yourself out of bed. It could be the dairy. If undigested dairy particles are getting into your blood stream due to “leaky gut” or “intestinal permeability”, your immune system will overreact. In some people, this is a legit dairy allergy. In others, it’s a sensitivity or intolerance.
This immune system overreaction puts stress on your body. And what happens when our body is stressed? We get more cortisol. And more insulin resistance. And more shitty sleep and daydreams of napping at our desk.
#4 Evening Routine
In keeping with the theme of regulating our stress response, a crucial strategy to fight fatigue and sleep easy is an evening routine. Sounds obvious, right? But do you have one? And no, Netflix and chillin’ doesn’t count, sorry to burst your bubble.
Removing ourselves from stresses (like staring at blue-lit screens all the time) is key for the 1-2 hours before bedtime. Turn off ALL screens (yes, that darned phone too), read a good book, take a bath, lotion that delicious skin, do a few stretches and just b-r-e-a-t-h-e for awhile. Or any combination of things that relax you.
Stick with it every single night, no matter what. Make it a non-negotiable. Like breathing, eating and pooping, your evening routine must get done to survive. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or a few hours doesn’t matter. As long as you do it, your body will thank you.
#5 Eat Your Veggies
Lastly, we didn’t talk too much in detail about proper diet for this wired and tired thing. I do want to give you a little hint, and that’s to eat your veggies. One of my clients seriously unlevelled her veggie game recently and couldn’t believe how much less fatigue she had!
My recommendation is always to go for green and orange veggies first. Aim for at least 4 cups daily. And get some starchier ones, like orange sweet potatoes, in with dinner for better sleep and to relax your adrenals and nervous system.