I’ve really been struggling with sleep the last couple of weeks. So I thought, what better time to talk about sleep on the podcast as it relates to our overall health, then when I’m really tired and struggling with sleep. Come learn what’s happening in our body when we have poor sleep and what you can do today to help achieve better sleep.


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Hey ladies, welcome to episode 106 of the health life and more for women podcast. I’ve really been struggling with sleep the last couple of weeks. So I thought, what better time to talk about sleep on the podcast as it relates to our overall health, then when I’m really tired and struggling with sleep, let’s go. Welcome to the health life and more for women podcast. My name is Jennifer D’Amato a certified, intuitive eating counselor, mom of four, lover of all things pink, and I want you to live your best health and your best life. I believe the way we can all do that is by finally walking away from diet culture, by relearning what your body needs, reconnecting with your body’s biological signals and redefining what health is on your terms. This show will shed some light on sneaky ways diet culture has infiltrated your thoughts, your family, and your wellbeing. My heart is that no matter the episode, you walk away feeling informed, inspired, and encouraged. Let’s go. 

So yeah, even tired I usually bring a pretty high level of energy. So don’t be deceived I definitely am tired actually, the day I’m recording this for you ladies my body said at 3:30 AM, “Hey, why don’t you get up?” I was like go away, but by 4:00 AM, I was up and it was a normal go to the gym morning. I go three times a week before everybody else is up in the house and life gets busy and all of that. And I was at the gym just after 4:00 AM shaking my head. Now I’ll tell you if you haven’t listened to my full story yet on any of my episodes where I’ve shared about my obsession with working out during my struggles with orthorexia and how I would purposely get up at 3:30 AM like set my alarm to get up because I was meeting people at the gym at 3 45.

So I would like hurry up, get up, go. I mean, it’s no wonder I was tired all the bloody time. I mean, every day, every day I was so tired. So getting up at 3:30 this morning was not ideal was not something I invited. It just sort of invited itself. And I may need a nap later today. I may need an extra cup of coffee. I may be totally fine, but what I know I need to be when I’m this tired is really, really aware of what’s going on in my body. So I don’t like to get like super sciency and, you know, dive into study after study here on the podcast. I’m sure there’s some other podcasts out there that do that. And if you’re, you know, really into scientific studies and all of that, when it comes to health and sleep and weight and intuitive eating and all that, yes, I have it all. I read them, I dive into it. But it’s just not something I think, worthwhile to like go into depth here on the podcast. However, I want to bring some information, right. I would say that’s curated, right? I’m going to like, grab those points. Want to give you something valuable? So why am I saying I need to pay attention to what’s going on in my body?

Well, because there’s things we don’t see that are happening when we’re not getting enough. I mean, have you ever had, you know, a restless night or just very little sleep, right. You know, maybe you have the same situation as me, as you went to bed sort of around your normal time, but your body was like, hey, let’s get up at an absurdly early hour. And then the whole day you’re struggling with feeling full or satisfied, right? Like I can’t get enough food. Have you experienced that?. Well, if you have it’s because you’re experiencing what’s happening with leptin and ghrelin in your body. So if you don’t get enough sleep, this is going to drive your leptin levels down, which this means you’re just not going to feel satisfied after you eat.

So a lack of sleep also is going to cause your ghrelin levels to rise. This is stimulating your appetite. This is going to make it so you want more food. So think about the combination of those two things. Your leptin is down, so you’re not satisfied your ghrelin is up, so you want more food. I mean, just take a look at days where you’ve not been satisfied, you know, where like, gosh, I just can’t get enough today. Just take a moment and look at your sleep, your quality and your quantity of sleep that night before. Now. I’m not saying there’s not other factors that can contribute to, you know, increased hunger and not feeling satisfied. And, you know, we could even just interject that maybe your body just needed more that day, whether it was from movement, not getting enough the day before. There’s other factors.

But it’s worth taking a look at the quantity and quality of your sleep. So when I tell you that today, especially, and, and I’ve been doing this the last couple of weeks on the days, which has been the majority of the last couple weeks I haven’t got good sleep. I’m really focused in on, am I hungry? How do I know? So really just paying attention with heightened awareness to my hunger signals. And to my fullness signals because I am experiencing the feeling of I just can’t get enough food. Now, it’s not been every day. And even this morning, I’m having the opposite effect. I’m feeling kinda like queasy and Ugh. It’s just days of not sleeping well.

Well, I think it’s hormonal. It could be the weather change. I really don’t know. And I’m not going to sit here and stress or speculate as to what’s going on. I’m going to keep showing up for what’s best for me, which might be the nap, which might be just saying I’m cutting everything off really early and going to bed, even though I’d rather stay up and hang out with my husband, it just might be what happens. Tomorrow, which happens to be a weekend day, there’s no alarm, there’s no getting up. Now, I can’t guarantee I’ll make it past 3:30 or four o’clock it, it’s just what’s happening right now. I don’t like to add to my stress. It can be a stressor, not getting enough sleep, but I also know increasing my stress is not good for my overall health. So I’m not going to stress about the lack of sleep.

What I’m going to do is make sure I’m honoring my body when it’s hungry. When I notice that emerging fullness and really check in with myself, what do I need right now? I love that question. All of my clients hear me say it on repeat, what do I need right now? It is my go-to favorite question. And what I might need is a nap. What I might need is I don’t know, put on a sit-com and chill out. What I might need is reading a book or sitting outside in the sun. What I might need is going to bed even earlier, but I’m going to continue to ask myself those questions and keep that heightened awareness. I was just having a conversation recently with a client about sleep and that discussion was brought on because lack of sleep was affecting her decision-making. She was noticing, you know, when I’m tired, when I’m not on my game, if you will, that I just don’t make decisions that I normally would make completely differently. Right, if I’ve had a good night of sleep, I just seem to show up differently. I think that’s so true. I think that’s so true that if we’re tired, constantly tired, we’re not in a good decision-making frame of mind. And when I say good, I don’t want to red flag myself here, but I mean, decisions that really honor our overall health, how we feel things that are best for, you know, our self.

 Because the truth is, there’s things we might not see going on when we have poor sleep, I’d say the majority of the things going on are internal or longer term. There’s some really interesting research out there on lack of sleep and our weakened immune system. And right now don’t we all just want the best working immune system that we can have. There’s a book, I’ll link it in the show notes for you that I, I got this, I think about three years ago, it’s called Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. It’s by Matthew Walker. And I will tell you, it is not a health at every size framework but, there’s some really good information. It really helps because I do work with an older population, often. Understanding the shifts and changes we go through when it comes to REM sleep, right.

That deep sleep and how that changes as we get older. And of course we can look at things we can do that are practical right now to help us invite better sleep. And when I say better, I mean, high quality and most likely high quantity. So I’ve shared before my love for blue light blocking glasses. And I get asked all the time, do you notice a difference? The answer is yes. So I don’t wear them all day. Definitely utilizing blue light blocking glasses at the end of the day. If you’re on your phone, your tablet, you’ve got a screen in front of you. So you’ve already spent time during the day, but then you’re doing it again at night. These glasses, I believe are a must. My favorite ones are from Miss Sunshine Shades. They sell unisex. They do have female, masculine lines. My kids all have them. So there’s such a variety that you use. They even have sunglasses ones. I mean, they’re so fancy, but I will link that in the show notes as well, along with a discount code you can use for 15% off your order.

I suggest these because I understand reality. You’ve spent all day at work and maybe the only time you’re actually going on and you’re looking at social media, or maybe you need to respond to emails at night. I understand that it’s not realistic to always shut everything down because of course I’m a huge proponent for turn it all off the tablets, the phone, everything an hour before you go to bed at a minimum of half an hour before you go to bed. But like I said, I understand that that’s not always realistic. Is it best for us? Yeah, it is, but it’s just not realistic for everyone. So grab a pair of blue light blocking glasses. If you want to use the Miss Sunshine Shades discount, just head into the show notes now and grab those. But what are some other things you can do?

Well, you can check the temperature. If it’s too warm and if it’s too cold, it’s going to be hard to sleep or your sleep quality will be interrupted. You can also just say every day, I’m going to go to bed 15 minutes earlier and see what happens. Do you wake up feeling more rested? Do you notice you feel better just getting that little extra time for sleep? Dark is always better. So we kind of joke that we like it colder and like a cave we sleep really well when it’s really dark. So maybe you notice there’s some light coming in and you might just need some room darkening shades, or I actually have a kiddo who loves wearing an eye mask. I can’t do it, but my room’s really, really dark. And this time of the year as I’m recording this, of course it’s fall heading into. It’s darker. That does help. I notice in the summer, it’s really hard to sleep in because that sun comes up out here in Arizona, really freaking early. 

The last recommendation I have for sleep is using white noise. Now I fought this for years. My husband loved it, but I was like, you can do that on your trips when you’re gone in the hotel rooms, but I don’t want it in here. Well, we started doing it and I cannot sleep without it. Honest to goodness everyone in my house, so for teenagers, preteens and the adults, we all sleep with white noise and I believe it really fosters a wonderful sleep environment for us. So maybe it’s something you’ve tried. Maybe you haven’t there’s apps you can use. Now. I don’t like phones being on ours is on, do not disturb and we have an old tablet we just use for the white noise, but there’s also machines you can buy. My kiddos, both have machines. One of them even uses a big box fan because that provides the white noise and a little bit of coolness. I mean, all the things. 

The last thing I’ll leave you with is a reminder for compassion for yourself. If you’ve had a rough night of sleep and you notice you just are not satisfied and you can’t tap into those feelings, it feels a little overwhelming. Have some compassion for yourself. Eat the food without judgment, without shame, without guilt. Don’t worry, one day, a few days is not the end of the world. Maybe implement some of these things and see if you notice a change. All right, ladies, I hope this was helpful. I’m hoping it helps me and that the next episode I’m like, you know, refreshed and renewed and all of that. Anyway, happy sleeping. Until next week.

Hey ladies, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve created a free private group for women. It’s called Health Over Weight. It’s on Facebook and all you have to do is head into the show notes now, click join private group, and you can be invited into this space where other women are working on positive body image. They’re also working on the fundamentals of intuitive eating and just supporting one another. I go live each week. There’s a different topic and I want to invite you into this group. So if you are ready to dip your toe in, or you’ve been on this journey for a while, and you’re just looking for added support and encouragement, come join us in this free private Facebook group for women. See you there.

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