Sleep Deprived?

How Bad Do You Really Want to Sleep?

I am one of those people who love sleeping and will do anything necessary to make sure I get to bed on time, go through my routine and get my full 8 hours…whenever humanly possible!  That does not mean that once in a while I don’t stay up a little later, but I am willing to bet that I am in bed by 9:00 pm, 300 of the 365 days of the year. Sometimes even earlier if I am tired from a previous night of poor sleep or heavy activity during the day.

Now, the opening paragraph does not insinuate that I get 8 hours per night.  I have a sleep disorder that does not allow me to go through all 5 stages of sleep before hitting REM, which is where vivid dreams happen. In a nutshell, my body and brain have not received all messages that make dream safe for me, as I am a lifelong sleepwalker. My sleepwalking can vary from freaking out my husband with random conversations, to actually driving a car on railroad tracks and getting arrested in my sleep in my 20’s.  After the arrest, I had extensive sleep tests to figure out the problem and I was finally diagnosed with the disorder and my choice is to take a sleeping pill or I sleepwalk. For my own safety, I begrudgingly take a pill nightly. This type of sleepwalking as an adult, runs in families.  I don’t know of anyone else in my family that has it.

I recently tried to get off the sleeping medication as I desire to be medication free.  It’s the only thing I take, and I really don’t want to.  So, I tried early in 2019 and had the most amazing dreams…dreams that I could remember and recite.  Day after day, the dreams came and went.  They were fun, never scary, creative and I looked forward to them.  But within a couple of weeks I was absolutely exhausted.  Exhausted to the point of tears almost daily. Then I started eating like crap and they cycle was in full swing. After about a month, it was clear that I still had the disorder and I would need the sleeping pill again, so I gave in and took the pill. I am back to sleeping most night’s but I miss the wild dreams.

I made an appointment with a neurologist to see if 30+ years after my original diagnosis, if there is some other treatment besides a pill for me.  This doctor was great and spent about 45 minutes discussing sleep and my situation.  Unfortunately, they just don’t know enough about the sleepwalking yet and how to better control my situation.  I believe the less of two evils is to take the pill and sleep and at least feel refreshed, rather than not get any rest during disruptive sleep.  What I do know is that when you sleep, your brain more or less “takes out the garbage”.  Envision little people with brooms going through all the lobes and sweeping the toxins up and disposing them, leaving the brain refreshed for the next days use.  I am concerned I do not fully benefit from this process, as sleep that has been induced by a drugs or alcohol is not the same as natural sleep. But I won’t take that for an answer, and I am actively eating as clean as possible through a meat, veggie, fruit, fat and herbs / mineral diet, eliminating all inflammatory foods like grains, beans and dairy.  I am also making sure I move about 45-60 minutes a day in the form of intentional exercise.  This could be golf, swimming, the gym, walk/hike or kayaking. After 90 days, I will try again and see if the reduced inflammation in my brain helps.

In the meantime, I want to help others with what my research has taught me about sleep.  In our over stimulated world, sleep has to be something you must commit to. It’s not just one thing that allows for good sleep, but a series of things that you can do to achieve better sleep.

I am sure most of you have heard about circadian rhythm, which is our biological clock to arrive to the state of sleep.  The benefit of melatonin secretion at 9:00 pm does not change to a later time, just because you went to bed later.  Rather, you just lose the opportunity to maximize the effects of sleep’s natural cycle.

There is no badge of honor for those people who brag about only needing 5-6 hours of sleep a night. There are over 17,000 well scrutinized scientific studies that support the facts regarding supporting a structured sleep schedule will make a change for the better in your health and mental clarity today as well into your aging years. I personally feel strongly that our lack of sleep hygiene in America is partially to blame for the increase in Alzheimer’s in our parents and grandparents’ in conjunction with the consumption of the Standard American Diet (SAD) which is critically high in processed foods and sugar.

  1. Eat clean wholesome foods. Well, what does that mean?  Think back to the early 1900’s when there was not a refrigerator in your ancestors house.  They opened their back door and all their food was on the land.  They grew and raised some of their own foods and bartered or purchased from others what they did not produce. There was no “healthy” cereal made by General Mills. No skim milk with all the fat removed, leaving behind just the sugars. There was meat, eggs, real milk, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. That’s it!  So before you eat it, think about the year 1900 and what you might see out the back door. Put your calorie counters down and think about what is in the food you are eating. Yes, a calorie is a calorie as it is a unit of measure. But a Hostess cupcake does not equal the nutrient density or benefit of a sweet potato with butter.
  2. Set a nighttime routine and stick to it. Look at the circadian rhythm clock above and you can see that since melatonin secretion starts at 9:00, one should think about taking advantage of it and hitting the sack before 10:00 pm (sorry late night news, we will watch you in the morning while we are brushing our teeth).
  3. Turn off your electronic devices 2 hours before bed. Turn the lights in the house way down or off. You may want to watch TV while you relax, buy blue blocking glasses. Your prescription glasses can be made with these lenses that help block the light that keeps your body in an alert state. If the urge to sleep hits at 8:30, don’t fight it.  Go to bed and take advantage of it. Don’t fall asleep on the couch, because now you have interrupted your bodies 5 stages of natural sleep.
  4. Don’t drink alcohol at night. I know how tempting that glass of wine is to cut the tension of the day, but the tradeoff is poor sleep, which perpetuates the anxiety the next day and a vicious cycle begins. If you must have a glass, have it with dinner, then switch to herbal tea or mineral water on ice, still uber refreshing!
  5. If you get up in the middle of the night to pee, try cutting your liquid consumption at least 2 hours before you go to bed. You want to try to avoid getting up between 2:00 am – 4:30 am when you are getting your deepest sleep, this is when the toxins are removed, and inflammation is reduced.  This can be more difficult as you approach your mid 60’s, so if you can keep it to 1 time a night, you will be ahead of the game.

Let’s treat sleeping like the gift it really is and allow our brains to help us become a Better Me tomorrow and for our overall health of the future! May we age gracefully!

 

Is Waste Really Our Right?

I ask this simply because we live in a country where have certain “Inalienable Rights” that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right to open the business of our choice, our kids can play sports of their choosing, we travel, we cook foods we like, we play sports, we are so lucky!

I now ask about certain “Inalienable Responsibilities”. We live in a very single use world. Is this our right to abuse the natural resources of our planet, or is this something we are responsible to nurture?  Would you want someone abusing your being so they can achieve their goals, or would you prefer they work with you for mutual benefit?

We have a need to drink clean water, but what benefits our bodies should not hurt our planet. Yet we don’t even blink at using a petroleum-based product that is only recycled at a rate of less than 30%, according to multiple sources. Even when recycled, think of the energy used to produce this bottle in the first place, now more energy to turn it into something else. If not recycled, research is showing that one single use plastic bottle can take between 450 and 1,000 years to break down. That’s up to 13 lifetimes. That’s a hell of lot of waste for a single glass of water, especially since it’s a choice!

Imagine just your consumption of water bottles. Let’s say you have one water bottle per day.  We are not even going to count the other items you may drink out of plastic, just one water bottle per day. Now imagine that you are responsible for storing those empty bottles in your home for one year. What would that look like? How long would it take for your entire house to be filled with plastic garbage? Is it fair or right to simply toss it out, close your eyes and your mind about what is actually happening next? Do you simply choose not to see? What right do we have to leave this kind of waste behind for just one serving of water?

For the price of a couple of cases of water, you can buy a decent, large water bottle or cup with lid and straw that you can refill over and over again. If you like grabbing a bottle of water from the refrigerator in a rush, get 2 or 3 of them and keep them fully loaded and ready to grab. Now think about how your house looks storing a few re-usable water bottles.

Plastic was an amazing invention in 1907, but what have we learned since then? Have we taken this too far? We as humans are incredibly resourceful, since we have learned to use much of our planets possessions to survive, that’s her gift to us. Our responsibility is to not return her gifts made up of products she cannot break down and re-use to nurture her. How selfish of us!

This writer knows that many of you will move on and not care, but if this writer can inspire even a small number of people to think before acting, we could help our planet and humanity more than we can even imagine. Such a small ask in such a big problem.

Now I challenge you to do better! 

Drink your water but leave only good health and urine behind!

 

 

You Are Invincible, Until You Are Not!

Yes, you can end up with diabetes. Yes, you can end up with cancer. Yes, you can end up with coronary heart disease. There are literally hundreds of versions of this sentence, but these are the most common. You are not invincible!

When young, we see older people struggling with a multitude of diseases, but we think “Not me, I will never have that, I am healthy”.

I am here to tell you that you are healthy – until you are not! Your body is amazing at keeping you in homeostasis. The human body can make the necessary adjustments for as long as 10 years before symptoms begin to show.

Homeostasis is the capacity to maintain internal stability in a being to compensate for environmental changes.

In my previous career in the retail specialty food business and event catering, I worked long and hard hours. I pushed myself to achieve greatness in myself and the divisions I was heading. I could do it all!  The 6-day work weeks, the 10 to 12-hour days, many of them back to back.  Whatever I needed to do I would do. I never expected my staff to work as much as I did, as this was my family’s business. Oh, and there were labor laws against it!

In 2008, at 48 years old, I was in the peak of my business, my weight was good due to the additional hours I spent riding horses and barrel racing, I was in pretty good shape. But I noticed that my heart was racing after I ate certain foods. Pasta was the worst. After a delicious bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese one night, I could feel my heart pounding out my chest and my back. This went on for about 30 minutes or so. I wasn’t sure if I needed to go to the hospital, then it subsided. Scary but I just filed that detail in my brain for later use. I also noticed this when I ate bread. I finally went to the doctor and he took glucose tolerance test to see if I was diabetic, nope, all good. So, I went back to my duties as if nothing happened.

In 2009, my stress levels were so high, I started having full blown panic attacks. If you have never had one, I cannot articulate enough how out of control you feel. From your belly, out of literally nowhere you can feel the tension rising into your chest and neck and head and you have a hard time catching your breath. You feel like you are having a heart attack. This continued for years, so my doctor put me on anxiety medication.  Well that helped the stress a little, but the panic attacks kept coming more frequently. Hellooooo Xanex! So, I was popping these little buggers up to 3 times a day. The last one of the day was typically taken with a bottle of wine. Then the sleeping pill came several hours later. Scary, right? During this time, I had incredible weight gain of 60# over about a 3-year period. Now I was also struggling with depression and serious brain fog. I was embarrassed talking to clients because I could not remember the next word to say. I could see it in a bubble over my head, but I could not grasp it!

Right about that time, my good friend Dr. Kat Peterson, a Naturopathic Physician moved back to Colorado. While visiting with her one day she said, “Miss Avie, you are not the same as when I left, what is going on?”. It was all I could do to not burst into tears, I thought I was holding it all together. I started seeing her professionally shortly thereafter and she tested me for things I had never heard of, starting with testing my cortisol levels, where she found my levels were the highest she had seen and my adrenals were all but shut down from being in a constant state of fight or flight. She discovered I was insulin resistant and running head first into the prediabeteic phase of type 2 diabetes. My female hormones were completely out of whack.  Long story short, we began my 10-year journey to reclaim my health.

Still not ready to face the facts that my business was perhaps the driving force behind my health, I pushed on. One of the blood tests I took was to measure C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker in your blood that measures body wide silent inflammation. Silent because there were no physical symptoms like swollen joints and such. This marker came back so high and it was at the top of the bad range. I still didn’t slow down because I said to myself “I can’t”, until one day, my doctor said, “You are close to a heart related event or stroke”. Boy, that got my attention! My mom had suffered from strokes and I saw the damage. I slowly delegated more duties to trusted staff, and they did amazing! Thank you Lindsey and Ryan!  I whipped my diet into shape as best as I could. I was taking control of my life and not just getting tossed around in the rapids.

Within 30 days, I felt better. I was still taking the medications prescribed by my conventional medicine doctor, still using wine to help with anxiety, but I was feeling better and taking far less Xanex, drinking less wine. My life was slowly returned to me by a new way of looking at my health and listening to what my body is telling me. Over time, I stopped the Xanex and wine and then as a few more years went by, I was able to stop the Lexapro. It was not a one-day fix all, but a process well worth going through. I am not sure I could have just stopped everything and hit the ground running with a perfect diet….I could not even go there….but baby steps to improvement daily.

In 2015, I decided I needed to go to school to understand my body. I enrolled in the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver and began my journey to learn what I needed to know about my most valuable asset, my body and brain. I fell in love with the knowledge and new doors were opened in my mind. I am within months of completing my master’s in nutrition therapy certification.  After 10 years, I am free of anxiety, zero symptoms of diabetes, panic attack free, alcohol free, gluten free, Lexapro and Xanex free, 30# lighter and metabolically in harmony. Dr. Kat and I together, literally saved my life!

So, how can I spread the news about what I see now happening to many of my friends in my age group and some younger? How can I help those other women like myself stop the madness before it’s too late? You can still be successful without giving up your health. Chronic multitasking is no way to live! How do we live with “Simplicity and Focus”?

I did not go to school to start a business…I went to school to understand my body and save my life.  In the process, I found a field I am absolutely passionate about.  Now I have two things I love, business and nutrition.  How do I merge both?  Sounds crazy, right?

What I have learned through this process is your body and your brain are the most important leadership assets in your business. After all, when you aren’t functioning optimally, neither is your business. I teach what I call Care-Centric Leadership, which allows your business to thrive without sacrificing your health, your sanity, or your priorities. Isn’t that what you want?

How do you become a care-centric leader? Are you getting the training and advice you need to keep your business, and your health, operating at peak performance?

In 2019, I started Better Me at 5280, where I teach business and nutrition. I believe in teaching you rock-solid business practices to achieve your business goals while making sure you know what you need to keep your body running properly. Being an entrepreneur or high-achiever is hard – I get it. I’ve been there. I can help!

I want to hear your story!

Call me at 303-875-1603 or e-mail me.

100% stress free 30-minute free consultation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Metabolic Syndrome and Why Should I Care?

Metabolic Syndrome is an encompassing term related to a group of ailments that often hit us in our later 40’s and into our 60’s after a lifetime of just that, life.  We work, we play, we raise families, we shuttle kids everywhere and grab dinner, anywhere!  We brag about all that we juggle and how great we are at multi-tasking.  We are so busy being busy we have no time to learn about the long-term effects.  Why would we care about long-term effects, we are young and we are proud we are invincible…..UNTIL you are no longer.  Metabolic Syndrome seems to come on all of a sudden, but actually has been brewing for many years, some say up to 10 years.  Our bodies are amazing at survival.  They will do whatever it takes to maintain homeostasis, until they don’t or can’t anymore. Read more

How not to make food “PREP” the other four letter word!

I know, first hand what it is like to not have a minute to yourself on the precious time off you get to relax or have fun!  Whether you work full time or are raising a family….there is never enough time.  I have heard this concept of food prepping that takes all of one of your precious days.  In this definition of food prep, you are to cook all your meats, sides and such for the week so you can stay on track with healthy eating.  I disagree!  Let me share with you why and what is best! Read more