We have partnered with Allison Madigan (well&tight certified trainer and Holistic Nutritionist) to do a 5 part series on supplements. There is so much clutter in the health food aisle/stores and it can be very overwhelming to understand what your body needs. Each part of the series aligns with the 5 pillars of Vitality5 offered at well&tight: Nutrition, Movement, Sleep, Resilience and Connection.
Part 3 – SLEEP:
Sleep is a big priority at well&tight. When sleep is sacrificed we put a tremendous pressure on our overall health and wellbeing. Chronic sleep deprivation interferes with your resiliency, hormone balance, increases inflammation and reduces appetite control (eat too much).
So how much sleep is enough? Research indicates that we need 7 ½ to 9 hours per night.
There are higher incidences of cancer, arthritis, heart disease and stroke in individuals who sleep less than 6 hours per night. Even if you believe you can 'get by' on less than 7 hours of sleep a night, you could be doing long term damage to your health unknowingly.
5 benefits of sleep:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases.
- Better mental clarity: When you don't get enough sleep, you don't function at your best and your concentration/productivity are reduced.
- Lower stress levels: A good nights sleep can help lower elevated levels of stress hormones (i.e.: Cortisol) and blood pressure, both of which have become all to common in our busy lives.
- Helps curb anxiety & depression: Lack of sleep has been linked to both depression and anxiety disorders.
- Increased immunity: Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to reduce immune function. Your body needs sleep to repair the damage it experiences during the day.
Ideally, just like a child, we should be going to sleep and waking at the same time each day. Falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night is also critical. If you are waking each night around 2 - 4 am then your adrenals may be fatigued – reach out if this is you so we can get you back on track.
If you are struggling to get to sleep or wake frequently through the night here are some supplements I suggest:
The number of Canadians with a magnesium deficiency is 60-80%. That is a staggering number and I'm not surprised. High rates of prescription medication damage the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed properly. Soil depletion lowers the amount of magnesium that gets into our foods. We lose magnesium every day from normal body functions. Therefore, we must regularly replenish our stores from food and/or supplements to prevent deficiency symptoms.
Magnesium helps calm the nervous system and has been known to improve sleep. Not only does it have this benefit, but it is also essential for healthy blood sugar regulation, muscle relaxation, anxiety, migraines and important for heart health among other things.
Allison recommends – Pure encapsulations magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable and is less likely to cause the laxative effects than some other magnesium supplements have.
Melatonin is a hormone in the body that is produced in the pineal gland of the brain in response to changes in light exposure. The production and release of it is connected to the time of day – it increases when it’s dark and decreases when it is light. The rise of melatonin is proven to be responsible for inducing sleep. As we age melatonin production declines.
It also helps maintain healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities. It supports the immune system and helps negate the bad effects of the stress hormone cortisol – which in turn will also help with sleep.
Melatonin can be taken as a supplement to support these functions by promoting normal levels of melatonin in the body.
I would caution that some people who consistently take melatonin notice that over time they require more and more. It is a hormone, not a vitamin, so if you take it over long periods of time at increased doses there is a chance that your bodies own ability to use melatonin could be shut down.
3. Passion Flower
For hundreds of years, people have used passion flower as an herbal sedative, stress reducer, and sleep aid. Passion flower is best known for its relaxing and calming effects. Multiple studies have confirmed it’s effective at supporting a balanced mood. Studies have been done on patients who had problems sleeping and it has been found that passion flower has helped improve sleep.
The properties in passion flower are thought to promote calming effects by increasing the levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces the activity of some neurons that cause anxiety.
Passion Flower is known to reduce anxiety and quiet the mind so you can fall asleep with greater ease.
Allison recommends: Genuine Health Sleep + time release. Both melatonin and passionflower are in sleep + time release.
This product has a unique beadlet system that separates the passion flower from the melatonin allowing the immediate release of the passion flower to help you fall asleep. Time release technology ensures the peak release of the melatonin 3-3.5 hours after it is taken so you stay asleep throughout the night.
Bio: Allison is a holistic nutritionist. After 15 years in the marketing industry she decided to head back to school and follow her passion. She has a strong belief in the power of food and proper nutrition to keep us in optimal health and prevent disease. Her mission is to empower people to make healthy and mindful decisions for themselves to achieve optimal health and wellness without it being difficult. She works with clients to formulate a plan that works for them. Allison does not believe in diets, rather a healthy lifestyle. Her three pillars are Holistic. Healthy. Mindful. To find out more visit her website.