10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue And What To Do About It

10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue And What To Do About It.

10 Signs of Adrenal Fatigue and What To Do About It

 

10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue and What TO Do About It.

Hey lady, I recognise YOU.

Yes, YOU.

You’re the partner/mother/friend/worker/helper/student/carer/cook/cleaner/taxi driver/party-animal/hostess-with-the-mostess/*pile on MORE here*.

You’re busy. Super efficient. Zipping here and popping there. Always giving. Hardly ever complaining.

You ARE Superwomen…pants over the tights and everything.

And YOU are EXHAUSTED. STRESSED.

Too busy to look after yourself, huh?

It’s only a bit of weight gain.  Sure, it’s normal to be a bit forgetful once you’re in your 30s or more, right?  You’re not really a sugar-addict. 

You’re FINE (Fecked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional? )

Let’s just check that you’re not TOO stressed. Let’s take a look at your adrenal glands.

Let’s look for signs of adrenal fatigue.

 

A Lickedy-Spit UNBORING Biology Lesson

If you’ve been busy and stressed for a long time, your poor old bod has been flat out. Flat out producing hormones like cortisol (the stress hormone) and other “up” hormones.

Your poor adrenals have been flat out.  Two glands that look like squished apricots.  They sit on top of your kidneys.

Adrenals give out hormones that affect energy, blood chemistry and more.

Adrenals are also important to our reactions to stress.

Speeding up our heart rate. Raising blood pressure. Narrowing blood vessels. Boosting blood sugar.

ALL so that we can do the fight or flight thing.  If a Woolly Mammoth was going to eat us.  Mother Nature designed us so that we could be ready when danger was near.

 

Woolly Mammoths

BUT I’ve had similar feelings.  When I was responsible for millions of pounds, hundreds of people and important projects with looming deadlines.  A “danger” that never went away.

And when such dangers are constant, our bodies are in “fear” mode all the time.  Our hormones are haywire.  We risk adrenal fatigue.  Mine got zonked.

Constant stress causes high levels of the stress hormone cortisol too.  Cortisol helps balance blood sugar.  It regulates inflammation in the body. It’s important for how our cells and muscles work.

But you can have too much of a good thing.

High cortisol can lead to weight gain, forgetfulness, sugar cravings, dry skin and much more.  Sound familiar?

And over time, the delicate balance gets out of whack.

When adrenal hormones get out of whack, other hormones can get out of whack.  It can affect your cycle, fertility, thyroid function and much more.

So how do you know when you have adrenal fatigue?

 

10 Possible Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue

These are common signs and symptoms:-

 

  • Constant tiredness, especially after exercise (if you can be bothered).  Or even trying to get out of bed.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Low metabolism and/or low thyroid.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Low immune system and catching coughs, colds and ‘flu.
  • Irregular periods with sore/lumpy breasts.  Also lack of ovulation and difficulty falling pregnant. 
  • Allergies and/or asthma.
  • Depression. 
  • Trouble handling stress and coping with life. 
  • Dark patches, freckles and darkening of the skin. 

If you have any or all of the signs, see your Doctor. They will be able to help diagnose with tests.

But what can you do to help yourself?

Self Care For Adrenal Fatigue

AVOID LIKE A PLAGUE

  • More stress, obvs.
  • Stimulants – yes please quit the caffeine…coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated drinks. And cut back on the booze.
  • Sugar and refined carbs because they send your blood sugar, energy and moods on a rollercoaster.
  • Processed foods, non-organic meats and dairy – basically avoid chemicals, added hormones and GMO.

WHAT TO DO

  • Manage stress and busy-ness. Get support or help. Exercise. Meditate. Get creative. Grab “me time”. Do whatever it takes.
  • Get enough rest and sleep.  They are not the same thing.  BOTH are important.
  • Eat for nutrition. Plenty of veggies and fruits, good fats, good quality protein, complex carbs. And stay well hydrated.
  • Take the best quality multivitamin and mineral complex you can afford. You get what you pay for. See a nutritional therapist for specific advice to you.

 

Lovely lady, if ANY of this sounds like you, STOP. Right now. You’re not fine, you’re F.I.N.E

Speak with your Doctor for a diagnosis and start with some super self-care. Today.

Love, Kathy x

Help – I Need A Sex Drive Boost

HELP! I Need A Sex Drive Boost

Help – I Need A Sex Drive Boost.

 

Are you like Boy George, who once said he’d rather have a cup of tea, than sex?

Is it causing issues in your relationship? Or holding you back from looking for a partner?

Lady, you’re not alone.  It CAN happen to anyone.  And it’s not about always about being “a certain age”.

It can be tough admitting it when everyone seems to be having mind-blowing sex ….in adverts, on TV, in films, in Fifty-Shades-of-Grey erotic books.  It’s knackering watching it all go on, let alone DOING it.

There can be different reasons your sex-drive tanks.  Often it’s temporary.  And we all have naturally different sex drives anyway. What’s normal for you, may be different for the next person.

The good news is that you can give yourself a sex drive boost naturally with some of my top tips.  IF you want to relight your fire.

 

Reasons For Libido Loss

Let’s just start with a few reasons you might need a sex drive boost.

Relationship Issues

Yes, it could be anything from a problem that’s crept between you, anything from communication issues to a lousy lover. Sometimes relationship problems impact your sex life when they have nothing to do with sex , like money worries.  Which leads me to …

Stress and Depression

When you’re stressed, your body makes and pumps major stress hormones. More stress hormones can mean less sex hormones.  So your sex drives flags.

For some couples trying to conceive, sex becomes a source of stress.  Because it’s all about ovulation and baby-making. Ironically, the stress of trying to make a baby can reduce sex drive.

But it doesn’t matter what the source of stress is – it can still impact libido.

Stress often comes with busy-ness and tiredness – no-one wants to make sweet love when they’re literally struggling to stay awake… in the middle of their favourite soap opera.

Depression too can interfere with your daily life, including your sex life.

Life Events

I’m thinking pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding mainly.  Your hormones can be haywire, you can be totally knackered and so your sex-drive tanks.

Self Confidence

I have had many clients tell me they feel unattractive or unsexy at some time and THAT affects their sex life. Whether they’re young whippersnappers, frazzled Mums or Perimenopausal Princesses.

I’m sure many of us girls can relate to this at some point of our lives.

Hormone Imbalance

The hormones that improve sex drive are testosterone (yes we girls have it too) and progesterone.

Imbalances in these can cause low libido. Where oestrogen is high in relation to progesterone, it’s often called Oestrogen Dominance. High oestrogen can squish sex drive.

Low thyroid function can also affect your love life.

If your sex drive reduces, it’s always worth checking with your Doctor there is no underlying cause like this.

Medications

There are many prescribed medications that can cause your sex drive to nose dive.  You need a sex drive boost.

Many women know that anti-depressants can have that affect.

Did you also know that the contraceptive pill affects libido?  The very pill that overrides natural hormone cycles to enable you to have sex with little chance of pregnancy, can CAUSE low libido. Isn’t. It. Ironic?

But hold on!  Don’t just stop taking any prescribed meds – you must speak with your doctor to agree a plan to stop taking them.  If you read the smallprint in your med packets and they mention low libido as as side-effect, speak with your Doctor.

Alcohol

While one glass of something alcoholic may help you relax and get in the mood for love, don’t overdo it.  Too much alcohol risks snoring and drooling on the carpet.  With the promise of a hellish hangover. No sexy-time for you.

The same is true for some recreational drugs.

“Maturing”

I  hate the word “ageing” – we’re like fine wine, girls, are we not?

Sex drive can lower as we mature, but not always.

In peri-menopause or after menopause it can be associated with vaginal dryness AND all the other reasons mentioned here.  Including hormone imbalance. Testosterone production can reduce after menopause.  And that can affect sex drive.

If you thought everyone needs sex drive boost as we mature, check out my blog on menopause myths.   It’s not true…

 

 

5 Ways to Boost Your Sex Drive

Love Up Your Liver

That might seem whacky, but read on.

If hormone imbalance is behind your waning sex drive, and you have oestrogen in excess,  you need to get that old oestrogen out of your system. That means boosting digestion and loving your liver to help eliminate i.e. poop out old hormones.

So take in plenty of fibre, eat for nutrition and drink lots of filtered water.  Knock the booze on the head. Quit caffeine.  Sack off sugar.

Get more top tips on liver love right here.

Eat A Sexy Diet

For sexy diet, read Hormone Friendly diet.  Basically, eat for nutrition. Food is fuel and food is medicine. Cut down on alcohol, caffeine and sugar.  Yada yada. You can find some more info on eating right in this blog. 

Some foods are said to be aphrodisiac. Foods rich in zinc, including oysters, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate (NOT a family slab of milk choc) boost libido, as do maca, ginseng and ginkgo.

Ditch the Pill

Th pill has been touted as the ticket to a worry-free sex life, but it can lower libido.

It also comes with a raft of potential side effects and depletes our bodies of valuable nutrients.

Please make an informed choice about contraception.

And consider carefully when the pill is offered for other issues.  Many women tell me they have ben prescribed the pill for cycle issues, acne and much more.  There are other ways to start addressing those things.  Please start with natural ways.

Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and increase libido. Twice yay.

Choose activities that you will enjoy and can fit into your life, so that you are likely to keep them up.

Ideally do something a few times a week and incorporate more “activity” into your life generally…gardening, housework, walking, take the stairs, washing the car by hand, playing sports with the kids.  Pillow fight?

Relax and Unwind

Reducing your stress levels can help improve your sex drive. It’s better to tackle the causes of stress head on.

If you can’t do that immediately, find ways of coping.

Exercising is a great way to start de-stressing.  You could also try meditation and there are some great online resources and apps to get you started. Or buy some cds.

Getting enough sleep is also key.  You thought bedtime routines were just for kids – heck no!  Work out ways to get enough good quality sleep yourself.  There are some tips in this blog about insomnia.

Where sex becomes the source of tension e.g. when couples are trying for a baby or haven’t been having much sex, relax and enjoy.  Put to one side how often, timing and all that shizzle.  Have fun together, enjoy each other’s company, be romantic, hold hands, take a bath, have that pillow fight and see what happens.

 

Other Expert Help

Where you suspect there may be a medical issue, do speak with your Doctor.

They can check to see if there are any medical conditions behind your problems, like low thyroid or hormone imbalances. And discuss possible treatment options.

If you need specialist support to heal your relationship or for sexual issues, also check out experts.

Check out RELATE for relationship counselling in the UK.

If you think you’d prefer a sexual counsellor , look for one who is a member of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) or the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine.

 

So that’s it ladies, my 5 tips for a natural sex drive boost. I’m off for a cup of tea.  Now, why does that makes me think of Boy George?

Love, Kathy x

 

Happy Hormonal Christmas – A Woman’s Survival Guide

Happy Hormonal Christmas

Happy Hormonal Christmas – A Woman’s Survival Guide.

I have a confession. Sitting here, I’m harassed, hacked-off and craving chocolate.

The reason?

Mainly CHRISTMAS!

I spent yesterday wrapping presents (a job I dislike only slightly less than supermarket shopping), writing cards and then queueing in the Post Office.  At least the cashier was smiley, as opposed to my full-on Grinch.  No cashiers were harmed in the posting of mail.

I spent this morning using Amazon ITALY.  My Italian is very limited. A couple of frustrating hours trying to spread Christmas cheer to our lovely nephews and niece. I have my finger crossed that

a) I ordered the correct things and sent them to the right place

b) they get there in time

c) I’m not sobbing by lunchtime.  More BOO HOO HOO than HO HO HO.

Yes, it really IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It’s not that I’m The Wicked Queen from your fave panto, it’s just there is no time of year like this.

There’s shopping, wrapping, writing, inviting, cooking, cleaning, hostessing, partying, taxi-ing, socialising …not to mention the over-indulging, family feuding and fretting over how you’ll pay for it all. Am I right?

So to restore all us girls to happiness and harmony, I’ve come up with my Happy Hormonal Christmas – A Woman’s Survival Guide.  Let’s banish stress and cortisol and spread the love and oxytocin!

Basically, it’s top tips to have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.   A Happy Hormonal Christmas.

 

1.  Eat Yourself Merry and Bright

Christmas doesn’t have to be about eating your own bodyweight in festive fare, then scoffing a whole box of After Eights at one sitting and washing it down with a half pint of Baileys Irish Cream. Just because “it’s Christmas”.

You will feel so much better following the 80/20 rule.  A.k.a. all good things in moderation. Eat for nutrition at least 80% of the time.

Mostly choose good protein (meat, fish , tofu, legumes), veggies, fruits, nuts (unsalted!) and seeds. Choose whole grains in moderation.

ALL to avoid hormonal insulin spikes, rollercoaster energy and moodswings.

Watch the amount of sugar you’re taking in – and ALCOHOL counts – to avoid the same spikes and swings. AND reduce strain on your poor digestive system.

Read labels to see if the ingredients are natural and healthy.

Christmas dinner in the Payne house will be organic meat with heaps of veggies – some of which will be roasted in a small amount of good fats. Ooh and home-made gravy. Dessert is Christmas spiced poached pears. Yummy.  Festive. Healthier than most.  Not at all Scrooge-like.

Eating well will also make sure you’re not spilling over your jeans by January. For Christmas Without Weight Gain, read my secrets.

2.  Get and Spread The Comfort and Joy

Christmas can be the best of times … and worst of times.

We’re supposed to feel Joy to the World? Yet, it’s a time when we can feel stressed, low and lonely.

All of which can lead to self-sabotaging behaviour – comfort eating, drinking too much, shopping ’til we drop, snogging someone inappropriate at the Office party.

All of this things may give us a short-term buzz of pleasure hormone dopamine, but it’s not really happiness or joy.

Take comfort food, for example. Full of carbs usually.  They raise body heat and insulin and give you a nice, warm feeling.   Festive cheer even.  No wonder we reach for the mince pies and stollen.  Too much insulin can cause “crashes” of energy and mood, though.

For real “comfort” maybe watch a feel good movie like It’s A Wonderful Life and get yourself a massive dose of the happiness hormone, serotonin.  Or get some big old belly laughs with Home Alone.

Maybe spread the joy yourself and donate time or things to charities and other great causes. Even visiting someone who may be lonely or vulnerable.  That’s what the hyped John Lewis Man on the Moon advert is really all about.

If the strain of prepping for Santa is all to much, read more on how to beat those seasonal mood swings and stress.  Yes, lower your cortisol levels and have a Happy Hormonal Christmas.

 

3.  Sleep in the “Sleeps ‘Til Christmas”

How many sleeps ’til Christmas? Well, 8 when I first wrote this actually.

But are you actually get enough good quality sleep each night for a Happy Hormonal Christmas?

It’s a busy time of year. Don’t be tempted to burn your Christmas Candle at both ends.  Try to get in a few early nights for the sake of your energy levels, moods and general health.

If you’re waking in the middle of the night mentally making your Chrimbo card  list or fretting about your solo at the Carol Concert, it’s perhaps a little seasonal stress.  Raising your level of stress hormone cortisol.

Or it could be hormonal.  Sex hormones.

Hormonal changes can wreck sleep. AND lack of sleep can affect hormone levels.  Vicious cycle.

So when hormone levels spike or drop — during your cycle, during and after pregnancy and  around menopause – you may experience sleep problems.

Get more top tips on getting more sleep and helping your hormones in this fab blog.

 

4.   It’s a Time for Giving … so delegate!

Yes, Christmas IS a time for giving, so give someone else a chore or two to cross off the list.

There is no need to do the work of Santa and ALL his helpers when you have family, friends, neighbours, co-workers…

Not only will it lighten your load but it will involve others, giving them the warm, fuzzy, serotonin, happiness glow of having helped.  You’ll have happiness and harmony rather than feeling all hormone-y. Double bubble.

Happy Hormonal Christmas

 

Leaving you free to do some Chrimbo chillaxing.  Reading.  Watching cheesey films. Kicking up leaves wearing wellies in the woods.  Building a s snowman (it’s a winter “heatwave” here, by the way).

Of course, people won’t do it the same as you would, but it will be done.  It’ll be different.  It will be great.  Nothing has to be perfect, it just has to be good enough.  No-one will be arrested for Crimes Against Christmas if they “ruin” the brussels sprouts.

Remember Frozen? “Let it go, let it go…”.  You catch my drift.   You’ll release and spread that little old love hormone oxytocin by spreading all that love, trust and community.

 

5.  BE Present ..rather than give presents

Well, you can give and receive pressies too. I mean seize the opportunity. Enjoy every moment.  Create great memories.

And that doesn’t mean you have to conform to the chocolate box view of Christmas.  There is no one right way to “do” Christmas.

Help in a soup kitchen.

Walk on the beach.

Look after someone’s house and animals and pretend you’re on holiday.

Eat Lasksa. Minestrone. Guacamole.

Spend time with the people you really care about.  Or don’t.  Hole up in your cave reading your favourite books, restoring your energy and wallowing in your bliss.

Lower cortisol. Increase serotonin and oxytocin. Manage haywire hormones.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. However you choose to spend it.

I’m off to take a large dose of my own guidance.

Love, Kathy x

 

Mistletoe & Mood Swings – Beat Holiday Stress

Mistletoe and Moodswings Blog Thumbnail

Holiday Stress.

*Sings …It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. tra la la *

IS IT? I hear some of you cry.

It’s December.  We’re women. We’ve spun plates, juggled and multi-tasked all year already.  Now the pressure is REALLY on.

ADD to our exhausting list of roles,  Event Planner, Home Decorator, Chef, Family Mediation, Socialite, Personal Shopper, Party Girl, Gift Wrapper, Hostess, Scribe, Santa and all the elves as well!

If you’re already tired, stressed and hormonal, it’s the final straw that broke the Reindeer’s back. It’s tough to stay calm, collected and Christmas-sy.

But gorgeous girls, stress is bad for our hormones.  Holiday stress is seriously bad for our hormones.

And if we can manage stress, we are more likely to be able to manage our moods and weight.  AND the terrible tantrum when someone forgot the batteries for the Jedi Master Lightsabre.

Not to mention the massive family row that rages when Competitive Uncle Colin is caught cheating at Cluedo AGAIN.

This year the murderer might be YOU … Archduchess Ash-Grey, curled up in the foetal position in the living room with a bottle of Baileys.  If you’re/they’re not careful.

Cortisol – The (Holiday) Stress Hormone

Cortisol is the stress hormone and is produced in your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys.

It’s the “fight or flight” hormone, so can be pumping out like crazy when we’re stressed out and strung out. Over time, high cortisol can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, digestive issues, low sex drive and anxiety.

Pah Humbug to that.  And to holiday stress.

Modern life is stressful.  This time of year can be especially stressful.  Let’s look at some ways to Keep Your Cool This Yule and balance those crazy cortisol levels.

Holiday stress

1. Ration the Alcohol

I know, I know.  Easier said than done.  Especially if you’re feeling festively frazzled.  It can be tempting to reach for the bottle … and then keep pouring.

But please don’t. You may feel slightly better initially but alcohol actually raises cortisol levels.  You’ll end up stressing out an already stressed-out body. Bad for holiday stress.

If you’re struggling to quit or reduce your alcohol intake take a look at this free e guide to Hangover Free Happy Holidays .  It’s by ace blogger and former Wine Bitch (her words, not mine), Sober Sassy Life.

There are some great alternatives to booze which won’t make you look or feel like a killjoy.  Have you tried making your own mulled apple juice for example?  Or get inspiration from the internet for mocktails and interesting non-alcoholic drinks like these.

It doesn’t just have to be plain, fizzy water.

2. Cut out the Caffeine

Jeez, I’m a buzzkill, right? Ezmerelda Scrooge herself.

Nah, I’m a broken record… caffeine raises cortisol levels too.

Try to limit the tea/coffee or try to substitute it with a coffee substitute like Barley Cup or some herbal tea.   Avoid those fizzy drinks.

3. Balance Your Blood Sugar

Don’t face-palm. It’s quite easy really.

Basically, eat good quality protein with each meal or snack. Lean turkey not Turkey Twizzlers.

And avoid refined sugar and carbs (including the alcohol), where you can. That way you’ll avoid insulin spikes, rollercoaster energy levels and potentially, mood swings.  Yep, eating well can reduce the risk of you getting bat shizzle crazy by the time the Queens Speech comes on.

So fill up on the smoked salmon, the lean meat, the veggies (hopefully not laden in fat), fruit and nuts.

Try to limit the potatoes, fatty meat, rich sauces, bread, cheese, cakes, pastries, chocolates, sweets, decadent desserts, crisps and other salty snacks.

4. Breathe

Breathe.  Slow, deep breathing.  The kind that pokes your belly right out with you INHALE and sucks it back to your ribcage when you EXHALE.

It’s good to relax for 10 minute or more, but even if you only count to 10 or 20, you will feel calmer. Holiday stress relieved temporarily. Cortisol levels reduced.

Or you could try meditation, relaxation techniques or yoga.  Ask Santa for a relaxation CD or a yoga DVD?

As a bonus for being such a good girl this year, here’s a FREE relaxation download from my good friend Hypno Sarah at No Longer a Problem.  Give it a go when the stress levels rise.  Or ideally BEFORE.

AND FINALLY…when it all gets too much.

5.  Get the hell out of there

Get yourself some “me time” away from stressful situations and *ahem* people.

Even if it’s a short strut around the block with the mutt, it will help you count to ten, clear your head and reduce your holiday stress levels.

Getting away might give you a fresh perspective on situations. Remember Uncle Colin the cheating, conniving *^3_^!/ ? Maybe he’s a good lesson for the kids in the consequences of cheating?

Even better still for holiday stress, really pamper yourself – a massage would be most excellent.  Some studies show that they actually reduce cortisol and support the immune system.  Heck, prescribe yourself a massage! Or reflexology.  Or anything that really makes you bliss out and forget the stress.

 

So there you have it it.

It can be the most wonderful time of the year.  All you need is a plan, a fresh perspective, a relaxation download and an escape route.  Oh and ask Cousin Fran to invite Uncle Colin this year.  It’s soooooooo her turn.

Happy holidays.

Love, Kathy x

 

Insomnia – are your hormones to blame, ladies?

insomnia- are your hormones to blame, ladies?

Can’t sleep?

What would you do for a good night’s sleep?

Counted millions of sheep and still can’t nod off?  Wakeful and weary?  The alarm goes off and you want to hurl it through the window to hide under the duvet?

You’ve blamed sleepless nights on the stress of life, busy brain, last night’s sirloin steak and Shiraz, it’s too hot/cold/light …delete as appropriate.

You’ve even become resigned to your insomnia.

Have you ever stopped to think that it could be hormones?  Don’t face-palm and think there’s no hope left for The Land of Nod.

Haywire hormones can be the result of insomnia, as well as the cause of insomnia.  No really, still no need to face-palm. There are some simple steps you can take to help get some restful sleep.

5 Ways Hormones Can Cause Insomnia

#1 Light and Melatonin

As the sun sets, the pineal gland in your brain starts to release the sleep hormone, Melatonin. It needs darkness to work.  That means natural and artificial light affects it’s release. Result? It could mean another no-kip night for you.

 

#2 Adrenal Fatigue

Those little glands above your kidneys are responsible for blood sugar levels and sexual development BUT are best known for producing adrenaline and cortisol, the STRESS hormones. Eek.

When your poor old adrenals are under constant pressure from life stress, they can become overworked and tired.  You might have heard it called  “adrenal fatigue”? One of the many symptoms is insomnia.

Adrenal over-drive isn’t so common. It’s when your adrenals pump out cortisol at a constant level all day – result? Insomnia.  Usually adrenals release less cortisol as the day goes on.

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#3 Premenstrual Insomnia

Premenstrual insomnia is linked with a drop in the hormone progesterone just before your period. It’s a sedative hormone.

If the drop is gradual, your sleep might be a troubled. If it drops dramatically, you’ll be wide awake at 3am staring at the ceiling.

 

#4 Perimenopause

Perimenopause usually starts around age 40 but can be later. Your ovaries start slowing down production of oestrogen and progesterone, and both promote sleep. Whoopy do. And so falling asleep can seem like the impossible dream …pardon the pun.

 

#5 Menopause

Menopause naturally occurs between 40 and 55 usually. Haywire oestrogen and progesterone levels can start waking you up at night. AND you can also get nasty night sweats that keep you awake. Double whammy.

And if you thought things must get better post menopause, think again. Some suffer low thyroid function after menopause. Low thyroid leads to weight gain. Weight gain can lead to snoring and disrupted breathing in sleep called “sleep apnea”.

 

So now you’re wondering, what the heck can I do to get some sleep with haywire hormones?  Here’s my 8 top tips.

8 Tips for Better Sleep and Hormonal Harmony

1. Switch off all your gadgets and geekery AT LEAST one hour before bedtime. The lights from your TV, computer, tablet and smart phone affect melatonin production.

2. Make your bedroom an oasis of calm – dark curtains or blinds to block out light, not too hot or cold, natural fibre bed linen, de-cluttered and inviting. Wear light, natural fibre sleep wear.

3. Create a healthy bedtime routine – they’re not just for kids! Perhaps include a warm bath with relaxing essential oils like Lavender and Chamomile?

4. Choose sleep inducing foods in the evening. Don’t put pressure on your digestive system with heavy or rich foods too near bedtime.

Include sleep-promoting foods in your bedtime routine.  Foods with the sleep-promoting amino acid Tryptophan can help sleep. Carbs make Tryptophan more available to the brain which is why you want to nod off at work after you’ve snarfed a big, old sandwich and crisps or a pasta salad.

A good snack would contain good quality i.e unrefined carbs and protein e.g. an oat cake with almond nut butter. Tryptophan rich foods include chia seeds, turkey, sunflower seeds.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine makes you wired not tired, Alcohol is a sleep thief not a sedative. Chucking back Chardonnay might help you relax, but it interferes with sleep patterns.

A better night-time drink would be my Chamomile Milk

6. Eat a hormone-helping diet – basically plenty of plant-based foods, high fibre, good fats, high quality protein, unprocessed and “clean”.  Don’t leave it until the M word (Menopause) hits; start your hormone friendly diet as early as you can.

7. Take regular, gentle exercise for weight management, strength and flexibility and for tiring out your body. BUT not in the evenings just before bed – being “pumped” won’t promote sleep. Choose an activity that promotes rest and relaxation too, such a yoga, pilates or qi gong to beat some of the strain of modern living.

8. Find stress-busting techniques to balance your busy life.  Find time for yourself to relax and unwind and breathe easily. Choose activities that you will really enjoy – a nice bath, reading, gentle exercise, meditation, walking in nature… ommmmmmmm.

Of course, if your symptoms worsen, carry on or worry you, see a Doctor for diagnosis.

So hormones can cause insomnia – who knew?

Love, Kathy x