Do you have that annoying habit of waking in the middle of the night out of a dead sleep and suddenly being wide awake? You look at the clock and the time is 3am. You've been asleep for a whopping 3 hours and your mind is racing with all the thoughts, concerns and ideas that continue to keep you up for another one to two more hours. By the time you finally fall asleep you are all too soon woken up to your alarm, this time exhausted and groggy for hours after you wake. Does this sound familiar?
This type of insomnia where you are waking frequently during the night or waking early is quite common and for most people very easily remedied. It takes a few nights to get your sleep regulated once you implement your sleep recovery plan but you should expect that within 2 weeks your sleep is back to normal. The key to this plan is keeping your blood sugar even. For the most part, the reason for waking in the middle of the night when you had no trouble falling asleep is because of your adrenal glands.
Blood sugar fluctuations when they dip too low at night will cause your adrenal glands to send out cortisol (a stress hormone) which then wakes you up in the middle of the night, often with anxiety, racing mind and heart. This will happen during times of high stress or times of fatigue. Because your adrenal glands are weaker than normal, the blood sugar control is less stable therefore you are woken up at night by your stress hormones. The key to fixing the insomnia has a lot to do with what you eat or drink during the day.
Here is the easy plan to get refreshing sleep:
- Keep all electronic devices at least 4 feet from your body or unplug while you sleep. EMF fields will disrupt quality sleep for many people. Included in this is digital alarm clocks, clock radios, CD/iPod speakers, electric blankets.
- Eat a protein snack 1/2 hour before bed. Can be a small handful of nuts, a bite or two of steak/chicken/fish from dinner, 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 2 ounces of cheddar cheese etc. The key is small but protein/fat rich snack. This will keep you from getting low blood sugar during the middle of the night.
- If you commonly wake in the middle of the night hungry keep a protein bar by your nightstand and take a couple of bites before trying to fall back asleep. This is just a temporary thing while you are working on keeping your blood sugar level.
- Go to bed between 10pm and 12am. These are the best times to fall asleep.
- Try to manage your schedule to allow yourself to wake naturally and refreshed.
- Avoid stimulants like coffee or caffeinated drinks. This contributes to fluctuations in blood sugar and can affect the quality of your sleep at night. Yes, this can happen even if you keep to your morning Starbuck's latte.
- Eat 3 protein rich meals, don't skip meals, and 3 protein rich snacks (morning snack, afternoon snack and before bed snack). Don't choose snacks that have sugar, simple carbohydrates or are sweet. Do NOT skip a meal even if you are not hungry, try to eat a little something.
- Eat BEFORE you get hungry.
- No dessert after dinner. Also keep dinner to lower carbohydrates. Small amounts of potato, pasta, bread or rice will really help you in your recovery.
Remain on this regimen for 2-4 weeks and your blood sugar will stabilize and remain that way as long as you are not under too much stress. If you sleep continues to be disturbed after you continue on the above regimen for a month, consult a doctor to help you balance your adrenals and blood sugar. Also ask them to test your thyroid to rule out thyroid problems often associated with adrenal fatigue.Share on Facebook