There is nothing more frustrating than when you have insomnia and sleep issues night after night after night. Luckily there are a few key sleep hacks that you can implement to help you get a better night's sleep.
Insomnia can be debilitating. It feels like nothing else you do for your help even remotely means anything when you can't get enough sleep at night. You feel tired all day. You feel run down. You feel exhausted. You feel irritable, snappy and you hate everyone in sight. No matter how tired you are during the day, when bedtime comes you still can't sleep!
In this episode of the HIGH on Energy podcast, I give you my top 3 sleep hacks. These are different than other sleep advice you may have received. There is a good chance you haven't tried these before and they could be very helpful in getting you to sleep in a way that leads you to feel rested and energized first thing in the morning.
Hello, hello everyone. How's it going? Welcome to another fantastic episode of High On Energy TV for those of you who are hanging out with me on Facebook Live and High On Energy Podcast for those of you who are listening to me in your car or on your walk. Welcome. I've been absent for a few weeks but I am back. It's been pretty busy and last week I was traveling. I headed down to San Diego for Social Media Marketing World. I'm such a business and marketing nerd and I had so much fun just learning about business and marketing. So really, really great, great conference. I highly recommend it for those of you who run your own business and want to learn how to get out in front of more people. There were so many gold sessions there. I learned so much. I made a lot of great connections. And if you are an entrepreneur or you're a health coach, someone who wants to learn more about expanding your business, I'm going to be going over my top take home lessons learned in a upcoming episode of the 360 Health Biz podcast, which is my other podcast. And make sure to subscribe to that.
But if you are on the High On Energy podcast, do make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. I go live with the show every single Tuesday on Facebook Live. So if you guys want to ask me questions, if you want to hang out with me, if you want to connect with me and engage with me, this is definitely the place to do it. But if you're kind of like me and you don't have no time to consume video content then make sure to subscribe to the High On Energy podcast on iTunes, on Spotify, and then you can listen to me in your car, on your run, or wherever and get me into your eardrums, which is a scary, scary thing.
All right guys, today we have a fantastic topic as always. We're going to be talking about something that is very near and dear to my heart. We're going to be talking about sleep. I'm going to be giving you three sleep hacks to get into a deeper and more regenerative sleep. Now this is a very important topic because sleep is damn important. Let's be fully honest here. If you are not sleeping, everything else you do for your body that seems good kind of gets negated. It's very, very hard to feel good, to feel the effects of your fantastic diet that you're eating, to feel the effects of your exercise, to really get benefit from your meditation or whatever stress reduction activity you are doing, if you sleep like crap. I know, as someone who has gone through many bouts of insomnia, I know that when I'm going through my bouts of insomnia I just feel like crap. I'm eating really healthy. I'm doing all these good things for my body but the fact that I'm getting a crappy night's sleep every single night just makes it really impossible to feel good.
And on top of that when you have insomnia, when you're up all night and you can't sleep despite being incredibly tired, despite being exhausted and really, really truly, truly wanting in the deep corners of your heart to be able to sleep and to not be able to, that is ... It's infuriating. It's frustrating. And your mind ends up going to a lot of really, really dark places unfortunately.
So welcome Marian, welcome Heather. Pete's here. Guys if you have questions about sleep let me know and I will get to your questions later on in the episode. I want to talk about first, and I have all my little notes in front of me because I don't want to miss anything, I want to talk about the basics. And I'm going to give you three of my top sleep hacks plus one bonus sleep hack that work really well for me, that work really well for a lot of my clients. But if you don't have the basics in place these things aren't going to really work. So let's talk about the basics for sleep. And some of these might surprise you. So if you are someone who's struggling with insomnia, your are someone who's struggling with chronic, you're having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, the first thing you actually want to consider is what you're eating for breakfast. Now I know that this is weird. You're like what does my breakfast have to do with sleep? The truth is everything. Your sleep at night always starts with how you started your day and what you started with eating for breakfast.
A lot of us are typically eating high sugar, high carbohydrate breakfast. Unfortunately a lot of the sort of North American breakfasts are kind of high sugar, high carb. It's like toast, it's a bagel, it's granola, it's a pastry, it's a donut. Those sorts of things. Pancakes, waffles. Those are really high carb, high sugar foods and what those do is they actually set you off on a blood sugar rollercoaster for the rest of the day. So having that really poor breakfast ... Because we burn through that type of energy really quickly and if you're eating breakfast you do want to start your day with something that's hardy, something that's going to give you more lasting energy. If you start your day on that blood sugar rollercoaster then what happens is you're on that rollercoaster for the rest of the day. You're more likely to have that 2 p.m., 3 p.m. afternoon crash. You are more likely to have that after work, eat everything, eat anything binge fest where you get home and just destroy your cupboards and then you're way more likely to have issues sleeping at night because you will continue that rollercoaster throughout sleep and when your blood sugar crashes your body will use stress hormones to raise your blood sugar.
So cortisol and adrenaline are primary stress hormones but they also are glucose immobilizing hormones. So they stabilize your blood sugar. So if you have crashing blood sugar while you're sleeping because you ate a really crappy breakfast to start your day, then yeah, your blood sugar's going to crash while you sleep and those stress hormones, while they do raise your blood sugar, they are stimulating hormones. And that very much in itself can wake you up. And that's why a lot of people, they wake up in the middle of the night with a start, maybe they wake up with panic, maybe their heart is racing because those stress hormones are actually getting activated and waking them out of their sleep. We don't want to have stimulating hormones that actually compete with melatonin, your sleep hormone, going off while we're sleeping. So really consider that breakfast, what are you eating for breakfast, and make sure to eat a breakfast that is high in protein and high in fat.
High fat, high protein breakfasts are way more stabilizing to the blood sugar is a way better way to start your day if you're eating breakfast and you're not intermittent fasting. So eggs are great. Protein powder in a smoothie, like maybe a coconut yogurt or something like that. Veggies. Any form of animal product. I typically, if I eat breakfast I'm going to eat leftovers from dinner. Or this morning I had some really nice local, organic bacon with avocado and steamed greens, and salsa and tomatoes, and it was so good. Let me tell you. But that's a really good way to start your day.
Now, we have to also talk about what is going to be happening in the hours that lead up before bedtime because a lot of people sabotage their sleep with what they do in the couple hours before bedtime. So when I take in a client or a member into my membership I'm always asking them in the intake form like hey what are you up to in those two hours before you go to bed? Because a lot of us are on screens. I would say this is the number one thing that we are doing that is destroying our sleep is we are on our phones, we're on our computer watching a movie, we're on our tablets, whatever we're doing. We're scrolling through Instagram or on Netflix or whatever, HBO, and we're getting exposed to a lot of blue light. The way that the light comes from the screen it's actually the same type of light that comes from the rising sun. As humans we actually work on a circadian rhythm. We love cycles. We love routine. And that rising sun, that is what stimulates our cortisol, that stress hormone that also gives us energy. It give us motivation, it gets us out of bed, and it helps us start our day.
So that's happening, but if you are at night, a time where you're supposed to actually be in the dark, maybe around the campfire, maybe around a candle or getting more of that orange light, but you're giving yourself that blue light that really just stimulates your stress hormones. So that will bring down your melatonin and it will actually raise your stress hormones and your cortisol. And this is a tough one. We're all very screen addicted. I'm not sitting here on my high horse telling you that I don't have a screen addiction. I was just at Social Media Marketing World and holy crap did I enjoy indulging my screen addiction because we're at a marketing conference. Everyone's on their phone, everyone's Instagram storying, Facebook Living everywhere and I just fully gave into it and just indulged my addiction and it felt really good. I got that dopamine hit that that sort of thing gives you. But of course now that I'm back to the real world I'm now trying to disconnect from screens again.
We're all very addicted to it. We get a lot of sort of instinct gratification when we're scrolling through our Facebook feed and we're on Instagram. When somebody comments, when somebody likes, when someone sends us a message we get that dopamine hit. But we really need to get off our screens before bed. This is really important. Now, some of us ... Every now and then maybe you're going to want to watch a movie, maybe you have to work in the evening, maybe that's your only time to work and there's not really a way for you to avoid being on screens. Well I do recommend getting a pair of ... I believe the brand name is Swanson. I'm not affiliated with this company. I have those orange blue light blocking glasses. I actually left them in San Diego which is so disheartening. I had to order myself another pair. But I actually wear those as soon as the sun goes down. I wear them. They're sort of trendy. They're orange. But they look way better than the old pair that I had that just looked like safety glasses. But I wear those the whole evening and they basically make all the light orange kind of like a campfire. And honestly I do believe they play a really significant role in me having really great sleeps.
I do like to watch Netflix sometimes. I do like to indulge in a little Bachelor or Bachelorette every now and then. I will not lie. I do love shitty reality TV. And I'm obsessed with true crimes. I love watching documentaries. I'm watching the case against Adnan Syed right now, the guy who was in the first episode of Serial. Really fantastic. Blowing my mind. But anyway, so if I do decide to indulge my screens. After the sun goes down I always wear my blue light blocking glasses. So those do really help.
The other thing to consider is you need to sleep in a dark room so if you live in the city you probably need something like blackout blinds or at least something that dims the room quite significantly. You also need to sleep in a cold room. Our body temperature actually needs to drop in order for us to get into a deep sleep. And that's probably an evolutionary thing. It's probably that at night the temperature always dropped. We weren't in heated houses. So you do want to cool your room as much as possible whilst not being to cold. So get it as cold as you can possibly tolerate while you're still comfortable without waking up cold. But you do want to get it as low as possible. I mean we put our temperature down to about 12 degrees at night. Sometimes I even open the window because I'm definitely a hot sleeper. So creating that nighttime routine and making sure you're not doing anything stimulating in two hours before bed, this is the basics. So you probably shouldn't be going to crossfit in the two hours before you go to bed. You probably shouldn't be doing intense exercise. You probably should not be checking your email.
Email always fires me up. There's always something in my inbox that I'm like ooh, I have to deal with this or that's really stressful. You need to do something relaxing. Maybe it's a stretch, maybe it's a meditation, maybe it's reading a book, listening to a podcast, maybe it's going for a walk, snuggling with your partner, your kids, whatever it is. You do want to try to ... At least an hour but two is more ideal. Really try to keep that space open for chill time before bed. And try to do similar things every night because our body loves routine, it loves repetition, and when we do those things it sort of tells our body that hey, it's time to actually go for sleep.
I'm going to hop into the comments box for those of you are hanging out on Facebook Live with me. Katy says "Any suggestions for crazy, chronic nightmares other than meditation, yoga, or not eating a large meal at night?" Yeah, I would definitely be thinking about gut infections. I know parasite infections sometimes are linked or other types of gut infections like yeast or bacteria, sometimes they are linked to nightmares. But I would say yeah, meditation, yoga. Nidra is really helpful. I would definitely work on diet. Definitely look into gut health. Consider running something like a GI-MAP absolutely might be helpful. Something I'm going to get into today called HeartMath which I found really, really helpful for getting into a deeper sleep. That might be really helpful.
Hey Jenny. Hey Ellen. Jenny says "Hi. I'm back from Mexico." I hope you had a fantastic time Jenny. And Ellen's here too. There's a question from Pete, although it's not related to sleep but I do want to get to it. He just says "My mother has C. diff and she needs some idea on foods she can eat and some better ways to control this. She has been three times to the hospital, same results. Very concerned. I'm reaching out. Please help with some ideas." Yeah, so what you need is to work with a practitioner who knows how to treat C. diff with Saccharomyces boulardii. Antibiotics will not work for C. diff. I rarely see that happen. And then there's going to be actually a massive side effect of taking antibiotics. Now a C. diff taper down protocol, I can't advise you over Facebook Live. Legally I am not allowed to do that. But if you do find a functional health practitioner, if she joins my High On Energy membership I can absolutely advise her on that. That's just go.kendraperry.com/energy. It's a program for women. We run testing and in that way I could advise her on that but it's actually a very easy infection to get rid of, it's just that it can't be through the conventional route of using antibiotics. It does need to be with probiotics and other targeted gut support. Okay, I hope that helps.
Awesome guys. I'm going to jump into the three hacks. Just to give you guys a bit of background, having chronic insomnia, like debilitating, horrible insomnia is one of the main things that got me so desperate that I ended up stumbling upon functional medicine and deciding to make a change from being a forest technician and turn into owning an online business in functional health. So I got insomnia seemingly out of the blue and I can tell you that I have never been a great sleeper, I've always been a light sleeper. I've always been a sensitive sleeper and I remember in high school I always had trouble getting to sleep and that was generally my issue. But literally one night out of nowhere I just stopped sleeping. And I spent about six months having horrible insomnia where I was only getting an hour or two of sleep each night. I was incredibly wired. My body was vibrating. My body was very hot. And it was pretty debilitating. And then after six months it stopped for about six months and then the exact same time of the year, almost like the day to the year before, I went through it again.
So that was pretty terrible and since then I've gone through several other episodes and I actually just went through another episode in January due to a lot of stress that was going on in my business. But I really kind of tried to think outside the box because I knew I was doing all of the right things. My diet was optimized. I was balancing my minerals. I worked significantly on gut health, on hormones. So I really had to think outside the box. So these are some really great sleep hacks, some things to try when you feel like nothing else is working.
Okay. Number one is actually glycine. I saw a lot of really great results with glycine. And glycine is an amino acid and it's a neurotransmitter. And it's a calming neurotransmitter. It's calming. And unfortunately a lot of us don't have a lot of glycine in our diet because glycine is an essential amino acid that's not present in a lot of the animal products that we're eating. So typically when we're eating animal products, and I am an advocate for eating good quality meat in the diet, but a lot of us are eating muscle meat. So we're not eating the brain, the organs, the skin, the bones, a lot of those things, and unfortunately muscle meat is really high in methionine and really low in glycine. Now methionine is stimulating and glycine is calming. So by taking glycine you can actually help balance that ratio but it can also help you feel calmer and more relaxed at night. The other thing I love about glycine is it actually drops your body temperature just enough to get you into a deep sleep. I think that's part of the reason why it works so well is that it has that body temperature dropping effect and we always want that to happen in order for us to get into that deep sleep.
So I started with glycine and I felt that happened a lot. Because typically when I go through these phases of insomnia I have a lot of body heat. I'm very hot. So there's two ways you can go about using glycine. You can get glycine through collagen. And some people will have a lot of success using collagen powder before bed. Now collagen dissolves easily in water. It has no flavor so it's easy to just put it in a cup of water and drink it down. So you'd want to take about as much collagen as you could get about three milligrams of glycine. It depends on the type of collagen you're using. I believe I use Organica collagen and I believe about just under two tablespoons gives me about three milligrams of collagen. So that can be helpful but keeping in mind that collagen has lots of other amino acids in it. It also has methionine. So I find this works for some people but not others. For some people the collagen totally works but for other people, they may actually want to specifically supplement with the amino acid glycine. So you'd want to do about three milligrams of glycine, and glycine only. It's a bit harder of a supplement to find but I know Thorne Research does make one. Typically you can get that off something like iHerb.
I might be wrong but I believe with the Thorne Research it's about a milligram for a capsule so you take about three at night. And that can be really helpful. So three milligrams. But you can take up to six. But I typically start with the lower dose. I go with three. If you're a sensitive flower you may actually want to start with one and slowly work your way up and see if that helps. And I've actually found that to be incredibly, incredibly helpful. So guys let me know if you have questions about that. Katy says "What kind of protein do you recommend for breakfast?" I recommend animal protein. Honestly that is the best, easiest to extract, most high quality protein. Obviously coming from really high quality animals. Organic, grass fed. You want to make sure that animal proteins is coming from a good place but that could be chicken, it could be turkey, it could be eggs, it could be a really high quality bacon, a really high quality breakfast sausage. I do believe that the animal protein for breakfast, it's full of minerals, it's full of nutrients, and so it is a great way to start your day. And I'll probably get some kickback from the vegans as always but yeah.
I mean I don't love protein powders. There's not really many of them that I would recommend. I always recommend just going to the source and eating the animal product. But I would say probably hemp seed protein is probably my top favorite. Or cricket protein is actually a really good source. Yes that comes from an animal but crickets are an incredibly sustainable source of protein. They're very high protein and they're very, very sustainable because they can be grown in warehouses. So cricket protein, hemp protein would be my two top favorites but honestly just eat the meat. That would be my thing. If you eat meat, just eat the meat.
Number one was glycine, about three milligrams of glycine either by consuming enough collagen to get that amount of glycine or by taking an actual glycine supplement. Number two, and this was actually really huge for me, is reducing EMFs. For those of you who are members of my High On Energy group, you guys have heard me talk about this. We did a whole masterclass on EMFs just the other week. But reducing EMFs is very, very important. Now EMF stands for Electro Magnetic Frequencies. It's basically what's coming from wifi, from Bluetooth, from your cellphone towers, from radio towers, and basically these days we all kind of marinate in an EMF soup. The safety standards that all the cellphone companies and wifi companies are going by were developed in 1996, which is really laughable to me because well, there wasn't wifi in 1996 and who had a cellphone in 1996? Not many people. Just the ones with that big Zach Morris portable phone that gave you an arm workout because it was so freaking heavy.
And with EMFs, because our body runs on electricity they do interfere. The studies kind of ... You can find them on both sides. If you look at the industry funded research, so the research that was funded by corporations or companies that provide a EMF type service, you'll find that they tend to find it more on the side of it being safe. But when you look at the independent research it's kind of skewed in the other direction. So it kind of depends on who is actually funding the research. But I think it's a big deal. I think a lot of us are empathic. We're very sensitive to people's energy and we're very sensitive to EMFs as well. And definitely if you are having chronic sleep issues, if you are having chronic insomnia then I do think this is something you absolutely need to address. Now it's easy to get overwhelmed because depending on where you live it might be completely impossible for you to actually get to zero EMFs and that's not the point. The point is about reducing.
There's an app on my phone. I believe it's called ElectroSmart. Let me just quickly look guys. Yeah, it's called ElectroSmart. You can't get that on iPhone. There might be something equivalent but this is the one I use on my Google phone. Basically gives you a rating of your EMF exposure. It gives you a number out of 50 and what you want to do is try to get that number as low as possible at night. And for every point you bring it down it actually cuts your exposure in half. Which is a pretty big deal. So typically in my house during the day I'm at about a 33 but I can get it to about a 24 at night. How do I do that? I turn off my wifi router and I actually flip my breaker. I basically turn off the power to all of my house except for my kitchen because I don't want my freezer to turn of obviously. But we basically flip the breaker and turn off all the power. We put our phones into airplane mode. We make sure all the Bluetooth is off. We pull out all the plugs in our bedrooms because if you have say a cellphone charger that is plugged in there's going to be electricity coming out that charger. So make sure to unplug everything.
If you're going to use your phone as an alarm, make sure it's in airplane mode. And yeah, turn off your wifi, turn off all your Bluetooth, turn off your tablet, turn off everything that could be emitting a signal. And you won't be able to fully get rid of it but you will be able to reduce it and this is actually a big thing. This can actually be very helpful for sleep. As soon as I reduced my EMFs I slept like a baby. And I actually do notice the difference significantly. Like if we forget to turn it off, or for example when I was in San Diego my sleeps just weren't quite as good. I didn't feel quite as rested when I woke up. I kind of had that semi feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. But now that I'm home I feel great again. Obviously in the city you're getting exposed to not only ... You're getting exposed to your neighbor's wifi. If you live near a road you're getting exposed to everyone in their car with GPS and their cellphones on driving by. But there is some things we can do to reduce and if you really struggle with chronic insomnia, if you have chronic illness, you're getting exposed to a lot of EMFs, you can get netting to go around your bed that will completely create an EMF free space.
Now those aren't cheap. It's definitely not the place to start. The place to start is always with reduction. And I think that's a huge thing. So if you take anything from this episode, tonight turn off your wifi router and to make it really simple you can actually put your wifi router on a timer so it automatically shuts off at a certain time each night. Because most of us do not need wifi throughout the night. Maybe we're sleeping from 10 to six. So that is a great time to have your wifi router off. And if you want to take the extra step, just flip your breaker. Go down, flip everything off that you don't need with the exception of your kitchen. Don't turn off your fridge. And that can make a pretty big deal. I think that can make a really huge benefit on your sleep. So that's number two is reducing EMFs in your bedroom when you sleep.
Number three is something called HeartMath. I've been loving this lately. This is something that I've found such a game changer. Especially because I believe the insomnia episode I went through was due to stress. I was having so much going on, not only in my personal life, but in my business. It was a gong show. I basically brought an assistant into my business who just walked in, dropped a bomb, and I'm literally still picking up the pieces. So it was incredibly stressful obviously. And I was losing sleep feeling like my clients, like my members weren't being supported properly and that balls were getting dropped. Because it's really important to me that anyone who's paying me to help them gets the best service, the best support they can possibly get. So the thought of that not happening really weighed on my heart.
And so basically it's an app. You have to buy this little gadget and you get the app on your phone. It's not super cheap but you can buy the book. There's a HeartMath book that you can get on Amazon for like $10 to $15. So that's a good place to start if you don't want to invest in about 150 bucks. But basically it tracks your heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is what happens in between your heartbeats. So we have the heartbeat and then we have this little kind of rippling effect that happens in between each beat. When we're frustrated, when we're stressed, when we're angry, when we're freaking out, our heart rate variability is very sharp and it's very erratic. But when we are calm, when we are in a place of gratitude, when we feel peace, it's very smooth and it has this really wide variability but it's smooth. It's like these really smooth dips and valleys. And that's basically a good place to be.
Now this app, you attach it to your ear and it tracks your heart rate variability and basically there's a little visual. It kind of helps you control your breathing. And it's more than just meditation because as you're breathing you're actually really picturing yourself being grateful. You're picturing yourself being calm. So a lot of times I will do a body scan. I'll go from toes to head and basically think about every single body part and why I'm so grateful for it. I'll think about things that make me feel amazing. I'll think of things I'm proud of. And you basically get this bio feedback. It'll give you a beep and it'll let you know when you go into what they call coherence. So that really smooth, beautiful heart rate variability versus that sharp. For me, doing this every night before bed is a huge game changer. It takes me out of my crazy day. It helps me let go of things that are stressing me out.
It helps me stop overthinking things that are going on in my business, in my personal life, and it just helps me let go. And I'll usually do five to 10 minutes before bed. And I brought that in and it's like I go into such a deep sleep now. And I find it's completely changed my response to stress. It's improved my focus. It's improved my energy. I love it. I'm not an affiliate for this company. I just love them. I love this product and I think it's a game changer and I think everyone should learn how to do it. So definitely go to Amazon, buy the HeartMath book, and see how it goes. See if it resonates with you. Give it a try. But the app is really helpful because it's subtle. It's sometimes hard to tell when you're in that state of coherence versus when you're out of it. But what I notice is I put it on while I'm working, I'm just in the red zone. It's like ... But when I'm really focused, when I'm lying down and I'm comfortable I can really get into that coherence state. So that has been a huge game changer for me and I highly recommend it.
So number three is HeartMath, which is basically improving your heart rate variability. It's HeartMath. So math as in the number thing. So I'll just write that in the chat box. And what I'll maybe do is I will ... I don't know what's going on here. I'm a little bit frozen right now for some reason. I can't write that into the chat box right now. I'm having some glitch right now. I cannot get my window down. I'm totally frozen on that. But it's HeartMath. So just turn that map into math and you've got it Noel.
Okay. So the bonus thing that I find really incredibly helpful now. I probably wouldn't do this for the super long term but this is a great short term strategy. Liposomal melatonin. Melatonin is our sleep hormone. And people definitely get varying results with melatonin because I don't think it's super well absorbed. So sometimes melatonin can make people even feel less tired, a bit less anxious, which is really not a good thing. But with the liposomal form it's actually way more absorbable and most of it actually gets into your brain. And that's where we want melatonin to go. So Davinci Labs carries the liposomal melatonin. I'll do one or two pumps before bed and honestly it is so helpful. And those are all the things that I employed when I was having my really significant insomnia through the month of January and February. And literally it changed in a second. It changed overnight. And that's a big deal for me because I'm not a good sleeper. I'm very sensitive and it's very easy for me to go into these periods of insomnia. But I feel very confident in the way I sleep. Sure, I still do have the odd bad sleep. Nothing's perfect. Sometimes I just can't get something off my mind or there's just something else going on that I don't know about.
But honestly for 90% of the time I'm sleeping like a boss. So I find those three things incredibly helpful. Plus that one bonus thing. So let's just do a quick review. And then I got to go to Maverick Fitness because I haven't been in a week and I got to go crush it and get my body back in shape after a full week of being in the city and sitting at a conference and on planes. So number one ... What was number one? Oh yeah, glycine. Number one is glycine. Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter and most of us don't have enough of it because we eat a lot of muscle meat which is really high in methionine and low in glycine. We can get that from collagen or we can get that from a supplement like the one from Thorne Research. It helps calm us and it also drops our body temperature which does help us get into that deep sleep cycle which is what we want.
Number two is reducing EMFs. Those are those electromagnetic frequencies that mess with our brain, that keep us out of sleep, that overstimulate us, that throw off our body electricity. That's your wifi. That's your Bluetooth. That's your cellphone. Radio towers. Even the electricity in your house. So at the very least turn off your wifi router at night. And if you are able to do it, if you have access to your breaker, flip the breaker. Turn everything off except for your kitchen. And make sure your phone is in airplane mode. Make sure all your plugs are unplugged in your bedroom and make sure anything that might be attracting wifi, if you have a tablet turn it off. If you have some Bluetooth speaker turn it off. Just make sure everything is off.
And then number three is HeartMath. This is tracking your heart rate variability. Getting that really smooth beautiful, high peak, high valley, sort of wave that we want with our heart rate variability. It puts us into a calmer state. It focuses us and it does, I believe, help us get into a bigger sleep. I love it. I am someone who hates meditation. I've never been able to sleep with any meditation practice. I've done this pretty much every single day for the past six weeks. Which is a pretty big deal for me. So I highly support it. You can do the book off Amazon or you can get the Inner Balance app. I'll put the link in here. Full transparency, I am an affiliate for this company but just because I absolutely love their product. I want to promote it. I think it can change lives. I'm only ever an affiliate for companies that I fully 100% stand behind.
And then the bonus one is liposomal melatonin. The one I use is from Davinci Labs. There's other ones out there. I'm not an affiliate for Davinci. But that's just the product I've used and had success with and you can do one or two pumps. It just helps get that melatonin into the brain, helps you sleep properly, and I think it's fantastic.
Okay guys. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you guys want to work with me, if you are a female or you're a female identified individual and you want my help, you want to boost your energy, you want to get out of burnout, you want to reverse your chronic health conditions, and you want my help to do so, please do check out my High On Energy membership. We have a few people on right now who are members of the group and it is a pretty amazing community of women plus you get access to all the lab testing as an upgrade. Like hair mineral analysis, like DUTCH testing, like GI-MAP, metals testing, and for every time you order a lab me and my main practitioner Jodi will put together an awesome protocol for you to help you get well. And we do multiple coaching calls a month to keep you supported. So a really, really, I guess economical way to access functional medicine without breaking the bank. Because honestly if you work with a practitioner like me you're going to be paying several thousand dollars and I created this membership to make this type of work accessible to everyone because I really believe people need it.
Guys I'll put the link in the show notes for the podcast. I will put it in the description for Facebook Live. And for the YouTube people, because this video will eventually go out on YouTube, and for my YouTube people I'll make sure that is available for you there. But it is just go.kendraperry.net/energy if you guys are interested. So thank you so much. Remember every Tuesday, 4 p.m., Facebook Live. You can hang out with me live. You can ask me questions. You can interact with me. Or if you don't like watching videos but you love listening to podcasts, make sure to subscribe to the High On Energy podcast and if you're watching on YouTube make sure to hit the subscribe button so you don't miss a video. Thanks guys. I will talk to you in a week.
Of all the health concerns that my clients come to me with, fatigue is by far the most common complaint. Many of my clients describe feeling “burnt out,” “run down” and “worn out.”
These are feelings that most people can identify with. Take for example, the story of Mary. Mary is a 37 year old working single mom with two kids. She started her own physiotherapy clinic and she pretty much does everything herself. Between her kids’ extracurricular sports and activities, she rarely has time to relax. She struggles to say no and often over schedules her life. When she takes vacations, they are more like sightseeing missions than an actual time to rest.
Initially, as life got busier, Mary felt like she could hand it. The stress in her life was significant but she felt motivated and energized. But as time went by, the feeling of being able to handle things started to diminished.
Getting to sleep at night became more difficult as she often felt wired. She began waking up early in the morning, around 3-4am, and found herself unable to fall back asleep. Mornings became challenging as she often woke feeling unrested, even when she did sleep 8 or 9 hours.
She started to experience intense blood sugar crashes. She found that she needed to eat more frequently and often craved salt and sweets. She also noticed she was starting to gain weight around her abdomen even though she hadn’t done anything to change her diet. Exercise, which once helped her feel good, now made her feel exhausted.
As things started to deteriorate, life was no longer easy to manage. Work now easily overwhelmed her and she has little energy left to play with her kids.
Can you relate to Mary?
This is a common experience. What Mary has going on is Adrenal Fatigue. Recently, I have been talking about how we need to re-think this whole concept of adrenal fatigue and what is actually going on in the body. To learn more about what I mean, click here. What we are actually talking about is HPA axis dysfunction. But that’s a total mouthful! Let’s call it Adrenal Fatigue to keep things simple.
Adrenal Fatigue is a condition where the system in the body that deals with stress, or the HPA axis, becomes dysfunctional after constantly being bombarded with stressors. Our stress system is made to deal with stress that is short, intermittent and easily resolved. Chronic stress overworks this system which leads to symptoms of exhaustion, fatigue, insomnia and weight gain.
There is a lot of poor information out there when it comes to healing this serious condition. It’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole. I my experience there are some key things that you should have in place if you want to heal.
The HPA axis, or the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis, is what regulates the stress response. It is dysfunction in this axis that causes the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
The HPA axis thrives when it works on a normal circadian rhythm. This means you have to sleep and wake with the sun. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this may not always be realistic, but do the best you can.
Ideally, you should be in best before 10:30pm and out of bed before 8:00am. Going to bed late and not getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night is the quickest way to adrenal burnout.
It seems simple but adopting a natural sleep-wake cycle may be the quickest way to pulling you out of burnout and increasing your energy levels.
For tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, click here.
When your body is under stress, the brain acts by telling the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol is the important stress hormones that allows you to react in life or death situations.
While cortisol is a stress hormone, it is also a blood sugar hormone. One of its primary jobs is to immobilize blood sugar. When blood sugar gets too low, cortisol increases to bring it back up. This isn’t much of an issue if it only happens occasionally. But let’s be honest, many of us have ongoing blood sugar dips throughout that day.
Eating a diet that is high in sugar and/or carbohydrates isn’t effective at stabilizing blood sugar. You get a temporary burst of energy but as sugar and carbs are quickly metabolized, your energy crashes and so does your blood sugar. Cortisol quickly rises to deal with this.
Like skipping sleep, spending your day on a blood sugar roller is one of the quickest ways to adrenal burnout.
Eat a diet that is high in quality protein, healthy fat and lower in carbohydrates. I am not advocating a low-carb diet but many of us eat too many carbohydrates. Cutting out high sugar foods, refined carbohydrates and not relying too heavily on grain products will be important.
Next week I’ll talk more about the specific adrenal diet that is optimal for supporting adrenal fatigue.
We all know that exercise is important but many of us exercise way too much. The important thing to understand is that exercise is a stressor. It can be a good stressor if you are healthy and manage your stress well. But for people like Mary, who are burning the candle at both ends, exercise just adds gasoline to the stress fire.
Endurance exercise is hard on the adrenals. That long duration exercise elevates cortisol and keeps you in that fight-or-flight response. When I run adrenal panels on women who run marathons or do crossfit, I often see severely dysregulated cortisol and depleted sex hormones.
If you already know you have adrenal fatigue, you need to be mindful. Exercise should make you feel energized, not depleted and exhausted. Keep your workouts short duration (ie. High Intensity Interval Training, Tabata workouts or shorter runs/bikes/hikes) or focus more on restorative movement like yoga, pilates and walking.
Caffeine effects the body by forcing your adrenals to pump out cortisol. This is why caffeine gives you energy and makes you feel good. Unfortunately, if your cortisol production is low then pumping it out now won’t give you much for later on in the day.
Caffeine consumption not only messes with your cortisol rhythm but it also affects your sleep cycle. If you absolutely must have caffeine, stick to one cup in the morning before 10:30am.
Unlike table salt, sea salt contains a full spectrum of salts in their natural form. In particular, sea salt contains potassium and sodium. The ratio between these two minerals are crucial for your adrenal function. Potassium is found primarily inside the cells, while sodium is found outside the cells.
When there is excessive sodium and deficient potassium, excess adrenal activity will take place. The opposite happens when potassium is in excess and sodium is deficient.
A great way to improve your adrenal health is to manage your electrolyte balance. Adding a pinch of sea salt to your water is a fantastic way to make sure you have enough electrolytes. Drinking too much water is a quick way to deplete your electrolyte balance and throw off your adrenal function.
How do you know you are drinking too much water?
Do the pee test! Your urine should be light yellow. If it’s clear, you need to back off. If it’s brown, you need to take a drink!
Don’t over schedule your life. Most of us have busy lives and on top of that we feel the need to say “yes’ to every offer or opportunity we get.
Being busy is not cool. You need to learn how to say no and take time for yourself. When I work with clients I always have them practice what I call the art of saying “no.” Try it out this week. Say no 5 times and see how good it feels. While it can make you anxious to turn people down, what you may notice is that no one cares as much as you think they will when you tell them “no.”
Don’t be like Mary. Make yourself a priority and do things that make you smile.
Mental and emotional stress has become so common that most of us don’t even realize we are stressed. Ongoing stress is problematic since our HPA axis does not differentiate between road rage and being chased by a bear.
Being a busy, on the go person who never takes a moment to breathe means your body does not digest, detoxify or hold onto it’s important nutrients.
The easiest way to mitigate a chronic stress response is to learn how to deep breathe. You can practice deep breathing to deal with a stressful situation or just a daily practice.
Breathe in deeply with your nose, into your diaphragm and breathe out slowly with your mouth. Let yourself feel calm and cherish the moment. Simple steps with a profound effect.
Each of the eight B vitamins that make up a B-complex are important to the adrenals and the stress system in different ways. Three of the B vitamins are incredibly important for your adrenal glands:
B5 (pantothenic acid): B5 is needed to produce acetyl CoA, which is needed to convert glucose into energy. The adrenal glands need energy to function which makes B5 crucial for this. B5 is also essential in the production of pregnenolone, your master steroid hormone. Pregnenolone is a precursor for estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, progesterone and cortisol.
B3 |(niacin): B3 is a crucial co-enzyme to preform many of the reactions that the adrenals need for optimal function.
B6 (pyridoxine): B6 is another critical co-enzyme needed for adrenal chemical reactions. It also plays a large role in modulating the HPA axis and the stress response.
Although B3, B5 and B6 are extra important for adrenal function, all the B vitamins are necessary for optimal function. They all work together.
If you are going to supplement, try taking a B-Complex. Make sure the B12 comes from methylcobalamine and not cyanocobalamine. My current favorite B-Complex is Stress-B Complex from Thorne Research.
Adaptogenic herbs are fantastic. They are a group of plants that help your body adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stress. These herbs grow at high altitudes in Eastern Europe and areas of Asia.
Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants. They do not have a specific action on any one area of the body, rather they help you respond to the stressors around you and balance your physiological functions.
Considering the amount of stress we are constantly being bombarded with, it seems that most of us can benefit from using adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens include ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil, some mushrooms and rhodiola.
While all of these are good options, I have some personal favorites:
Ashwagandha, is often referred to as Indian Ginseng. This is an Ayurvedic herb that regulates the immune system and can help reduce anxiety. I love adding 1-2 tbsp of Ashwagandha into my morning smoothie.
Another one of my personal favorites is Ginseng. I use this often in my clinical practice with clients who are struggling with energy during the day. Ginseng also has antioxidant properties and anti-depressant effects. It can also help naturally lower high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Coming in at a close third is Rhodiola. Rhodiola was used traditionally among Siberian warriors to help them adapt to the harsh Northern environment. Studies have found that it helps normalize sleep and eating patterns after stress. Some newer research shows that it might be a great tool for weight loss.
While adaptogens are fantastic, they will have limited effect if they are the only thing you are doing for your adrenal fatigue. You need to incorporate the above suggestions to get the best results.
You know me, I am a huge fan of testing. If you have been doing all the things I mentioned here but are still feeling like a bag of crap, then you should consider testing. I recommend running the DUTCH test by Precision Analytical. This is a comprehensive urine test for hormones. Knowing your unique imbalances will help customize and guide your healing plan.
If you would like to know more about some of the lab testing I offer, please feel free to set up a free phone session with me.
You can click here to access my scheduling link and pick a time that works best for you.
Adrenal Fatigue sucks. If you are dealing with this condition then you are likely tired, sleep deprived and fighting off endless cravings. It’s not fun. Before you give up or spend money on expensive programs or testing, make sure you have these things in place first. But if you are struggling to do it on your own, there is no shame in reaching out for help. You can book a free session with me HERE or you can visit this website to find a Functional Nutrition Practitioner in your area.
What has been the most important thing for you when healing your Adrenal Fatigue? Let me know in the comment section below!
We all know that sleep is important. Not only is it crucial to brain and organ regeneration, but it also directly influences mood and energy levels the following day.
Sleep is also crucial for your hormone balance and adrenal health. The adrenals do the majority of their regeneration between the hours of 10pm and midnight. If you are going to bed too late then you are missing out on this super crucial time.
If you have ever heard the saying, “an hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight,” this is what that phrase is referring too. A lot of important regeneration happens during this time.
Not being able to get the amount of sleep you need is frustrating. Hours lying awake or continually waking throughout the night are situations many of us are familiar with, including myself. I have been a weird sleeper most of my life. There have only been moments in my life when I felt I was truly getting the amount of rest my body needed.
You know those people who fall asleep on a dime and sleep so deeply that they snore? Well I hate those people. Just joking. Hate is a strong word but I can say that I am incredibly envious of those people and wish I could be more like them when it comes to sleep.
According to T.S. Wiley, author of Lights Out, Sleep, Sugar and Survival, missing out on just 3 hours of sleep a night can make you as insulin resistant as a diabetic. Not only will sleep deprivation increase your risk of developing diabetes, but it also increases your chances of developing obesity, according to this study.
If you are like me and struggle to get those much needed zzzzz’s, here are ten tips which may help you in your quest for a better night’s sleep.
Our cell phones and computers are constantly transmitting electromagnetic frequencies. If you are in the midst of cell phone waves and wifi and whatever else, it can greatly interfere with your sleep. Even your alarm clock can have an impact on your sleep quality.
Turn off your computer. Put your phone in airplane mode. Get rid of that electric blanket. Get a battery powered alarm clock and stop all that nose flying around your head.
Let’s talk about melatonin. Melatonin is your sleep hormone. It is lowest in the morning and highest at night. The secretion of melatonin happens when the sun goes down and the sky gets dark. It lets your internal self know that it’s night time.
So if you are hanging out in a room with bright fluorescent lights, your body still thinks it’s daytime and melatonin secretion is inhibited. After the sun goes down, keep the lights low or better yet, use candles. Try to limit the amount of TV you watch or time looking at the compute screen. I suggest a no screens rule after 8:30pm
Instead of watching Netflix, you can read a book, go for a walk, hang out with your partner or play a board game.
A lot of people will tell you not to eat late a night. This advice may pose a problem for those who struggle with blood sugar problems. For example, if you eat dinner at 6pm every night and breakfast at 8am then you are going a very long time without food.
A major reason that people have trouble staying asleep is blood sugar crashing in the night. Low blood sugar is not a great scenario and when this happens the body will use a number of things to bring it back up. One of these things is adrenalin which can effectively raise blood sugar but will also wake
If you are someone who wakes frequently during the night, experiment with having a healthy snack high in protein before bedtime. The protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you asleep throughout the night. You may even want to experiment with keeping your snack next to your bed. When you wake up, eat a little and hopefully this should help you fall back asleep.
The reason many of us can’t sleep is because we just have way too much on our minds. Whether it’s stressing over the events of the day or contemplating what needs to be done the next, sometimes we just don’t know how to hit the off switch.
I have found it helpful to journal before bedtime. It helps clear the mind and get rid of anything you may have been holding onto from your hectic day.
I also like to make my “to do” list for the following day. That way I don’t need to lie awake and worry about all the things I might forget.
This is one of my all time favorite ways to get a good nights sleep. While some people may not think getting needled can be relaxing, it actually is. The theory of Chinese Medicine is based off of 12 meridians, running through the body, which are connected to the internal organs and the emotions.
For example, the liver meridian is linked to stress and anger and the heart meridian in linked to anxiety. Too much of any of these emotions can affect the organs and their corresponding meridian. This can lead to imbalances in “shen,” the energy of our emotional body and sleep disturbance can be a symptom.
I have found getting a really good acupuncture treatment in the late afternoon generally induces great sleeps. If your acupuncturist has also been trained in herbs, he/she might be able to prescribe a herbal treatment that can help in between treatments.
If they above 5 suggestions do not help you, it might be time to consider a good quality supplement. Many people try taking Melatonin supplements but I would caution against this. Melatonin is a hormone, and taking a hormone without knowing where your levels are at could cause hangover like symptoms the next morning.
L-tryptophan and 5-htp are the building blocks of melatonin. Tryptophan (the amino acid from meat products) is converted to 5-htp, which then turns to serotonin (your happy and feel good hormone) and finally becomes melatonin.
Unless you know your melatonin levels, it’s best to give your body the building blocks for this hormone and so your body can decide how much it needs. While you will need to figure out your own dosages of these supplements, according to Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, you can start by trying 500-1500mg of tryptophan (start at the lowest dose and work your way up).
If that doesn’t work, try 100-300mg of 5-htp. And if you still aren’t experiencing results, try combining the two. Play around with your dose until you find a combination that works.
If supplementing with tryptophan and 5-htp isn’t working for you, you can try adding in some St. John’s Wort. This herb has been used for centuries to combat depression because of it’s ability to stimulate serotonin production. And remember what serotonin converts to??? Melatonin! Yeeeah! If you wanna give this stuff a try, try 300 mg in late afternoon and 300 mg again at bedtime.
Magnesium is damn important. Actually, I might consider magnesium the single most important mineral needed in the human body. When it comes to sleep, magnesium is a powerful relaxant.
In fact, doctor’s use high concentrations of magnesium sulphate to stop some types of seizures. It relaxes and calms the nervous system, while promoting a healthy heart rhythm.
Unfortunately, this important mineral is also one of the most depleted minerals in our environment, so simply eating magnesium rich foods may not be enough. Another fact to consider is that it has limited absorption through the GI tract. The best way to get your dose of magnesium is through the skin.
My personal favorite is magnesium oil. I rub it on my feet at night, put some little sockies on and go to sleep. You can also try an epsom salts bath. Epsom salts is just another name for magnesium sulphate salts. Draw yourself a hot bath just before bed and this should help you relax and have a great sleep.
This one is not exactly the quickest thing to do but if none of the above options work then you need to consider the health of your gut. Why? Because 80% of your melatonin is produced in your gut. Low melatonin production may be caused by a malfunctioning gastrointestinal tract.
If you are having trouble sleeping, you are likely also experiencing digestive problems. Maybe you are also experiencing some mood problems since serotonin is also produced in the gut.
How do you heal the gut? Time, patience and probably some professional help. Eating a real food diet that is right for you is of up most importance. Probiotics, bone broth and digestive enzymes will help as well. It might also be necessary to get a pathogen screen to detect any infections or parasites going on in there. This is why you will likely need the help of a trained medical profession or a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner.
If all the above fails miserably and you continue to be sleep deprived, you may want to have your adrenal function tested. Having healthy adrenals are very important for good sleep. Adrenals have many life sustaining functions including producing the stress hormones (epinephrine and cortisol) and the sex hormones (DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone).
Malfunctioning adrenals can cause your cortisol levels to be high at night and thus inhibiting your ability to fall asleep. Adrenal dysfunction can also lead to an imbalance in your sex hormones. Deficiencies in DHEA, progesterone, estrogen and progesterone can all cause sleep disorders. Talk to your Naturopath or contact a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and ask about running Precision Analytical DUTCH test.
Now do it. Have a good nights sleep and be the best person you can be!