Can Lack of Sleep Mess Up Your Gut?

Your body works in a 24-hour body clock known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm controls your daily schedule for sleeping, waking up, the release of certain hormones, detoxification and cell repair, and much more. That’s why, messing with your internal clock affects not only your mood but also your metabolic processes.
Over the years, the problem of sleep deprivation has increased due to lifestyle, stress, and other factors. Approximately 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders today!

When you lack sleep even for a night or two, you feel it. You get easily irritable or lose patience with things you normally wouldn’t. Those suffering from sleep disorders have also shown poor concentration and experience reduction in productivity and quality of life.
The emotional and psychological effects of sleep deprivation are more obvious compared to the physical, long-term effects. However, the physical effects are equally debilitating.

The Physical Effect of Long-Term Sleep Deprivation

Have you heard about sleep debt? Just as it sounds, sleep debt is the amount of sleep you owe your body after a night of not getting enough sleep. If you should be sleeping for 8 hours a night but you only get 7, you have an hour of sleep debt. If you keep on lacking an hour of sleep every night, then you have an accumulated sleep debt of 7 hours in a week. But unlike other types of debt, you can’t regularly deprive your body of sleep and then make up for it by sleeping all weekend. There is a very short window for paying back sleep debt and if you continue to “borrow”, your health will suffer: Lack of sleep weakens your immune system and, over time, the health effects of sleep deprivation adds up and increases your risk of developing chronic illnesses including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.

The Relationship of Sleep and Gut

Your gut is at the root of your health. 

Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, fight infections, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

Earlier, I mentioned that the circadian rhythm or our body clock also controls the release of hormones. One of these hormones is leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite. Just a night with not enough sleep decreases leptin. This is part of the reason that people working night shifts often end up binge eating…only they don’t properly digest the food they ate.
Because your gut, together with your brain, is also affected when your sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. Your gut is knocked out of sync when you lack sleep. Your gut naturally wants to be in repair mode, not digestion mode during those nighttime hours. Your digestive juices are highest during the day and lowest at night. This explains why people working on night shifts and those having jet lag experience stomach pains and other gut problems.
My advice is that you take these tips to improve your sleep:

  1. Keep a sleeping routine – Make sure to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day. Allow yourself to enjoy a full night’s rest with 7-9 hours of sleep. Also, keep in mind that oversleeping also has its own consequences, so do your best to stay within the 7-9 hr range. 
  2. Mind what you eat and drink – It takes hours for the effects of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine to wear off. So make sure to avoid them before sleeping to get quality sleep. Do your best to stay away from heavy or large meals a couple of hours before sleeping so that your food is adequately digested–you’ll sleep better!
  3. Get active – While you need to avoid exercise 3-4 hours before sleeping (as this is the time you already need to slow down), being active during the day is the only way you can prolong deep sleep, according to Harvard Health News.
  4. Go outdoors – Your body’s circadian rhythm is influenced by your exposure to light. Getting enough sunlight, which is many times brighter than any indoor light, is enough to help improve your sleep-wake cycle. You need that light during the day and you need darkness at night to keep your body clock in good shape.

May these tips help you get that good night’s rest and support your gut to be healthy.
It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, chronic infections, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!


How to use liminal space to boost health

Liminal space refers to a time of transition where you are at the threshold between places. On a microcosm, this can occur throughout your day between appointments or meetings. And when we go to bed at night, this is also a time of transition as you are leaving the known (what already happened) and transitioning into the unknown (what will tomorrow bring?).

On a larger scale, liminal space shows up at milestone moments such as learning how to walk, potty train, start school, make friends, get your first job, start (or end) romantic relationships, career changes, get married (or divorced), start a family, and transition into different stages of life.

We don’t really talk about it much, but it’s really helpful to look at how liminal space is affecting your life…your health and happiness.

Some ways that liminal space negatively impacts your health is through worry, anxiety, fear of the unknown, fear of challenges, and all the unhealthy coping mechanisms that go along with these feelings like emotional eating, drinking, avoidance that leads to staying stuck rather than taking action toward a healthy and purposeful life.

Living in the liminal space can be challenging because you are between your old comfort zone and new possibilities. 

Using liminal space to your advantage

Some ways that you can “lean in” and benefit from liminal space is to recognize it as an opportunity to evaluate and take steps toward creating what you want. Liminal space provides a gap, in a way, for us to look at where we are coming from and the direction we are heading so that we can adjust our course.

For example, there’s a lot that is unknown right now with all the changes that the coronavirus is creating. Yet, we know that the more we take care of our own bodies, the more we add to the collective community. The healthier we are, the more able we are to be resourceful and raise the vibration during this challenging time.

Right now we are all in a liminal space of not knowing what is next. If we focus on the fear and worry, chances are, we will weaken our immune systems and feel mentally and emotionally defeated.

So instead, I invite you to take this opportunity to create or reinforce your healthy habits. Start with what you are choosing to put into your body daily. Your body needs nourishing foods and plenty of clean water. Get back to basics! 

For those of you that are already feeling solid with the basics, reach out to me for how you can use this time to take your health to a whole new level.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

How to Prevent and Recover from Adrenal Imbalance!

Today I want to talk with you about the connection between your stress response and symptoms you might be experiencing.

If you have nonspecific symptoms such as pain and weakness in different parts of your body, sleep disturbance, and digestive problems in addition to feeling nervous, chances are you may have some adrenal hormone imbalance.
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands, which are just situated on top of your kidneys, produce adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones create change in your body to prepare yourself for the threat or potential danger.

We call this the fight-or-flight response. At this stage, you may feel your heart pounding and your energy level increased. Your body is ready to face whatever source of harm there may be.
When the stressful situation is gone, your cortisol–which is famously known as the stress hormone–goes back to normal as your adrenal now stops producing it in excess. Your body starts to function normally and your vitals go back to their regular normal rhythm.
You weathered the stress. Thanks to cortisol.
But when stress is constant (as it has been for many of us lately!) and when you’re always in that fight-or-flight response, this wreaks havoc on your hormones.
Adrenal hormone imbalance starts when cortisol levels shoots up. As I mentioned, at first, you’ll be full of energy and you may even feel good during this time. However, if you don’t take control of your health–I mean, you’re not making lifestyle changes to ease your stress, your cortisol will soon drop down. You’d then experience tiredness and some other symptoms I mentioned above until you’d be too exhausted to even do your basic daily activities.

The Gut-Adrenal Connection

Now, there’s an important link between your adrenals and your gut.
Two adrenal hormones play a role in gut health by boosting immunity and reducing inflammation. One is cortisol (as we’ve been talking about), and the other is DHEA (stands for dehydroepiandrosterone).
Cortisol is the main anti-inflammatory hormone in the gut. BUT, when cortisol gets imbalanced in the way I’ve been discussing, that imbalance actually leads to an INCREASE in inflammation and can lead to develop digestive issues.
DHEA is a repair and maintenance hormone. DHEA also protects your gut from disease-causing bacteria, so it’s important in preventing gut infections and repairing damage to your gut cells that occur for all of us during our lifetime.
It’s important to keep these 2 adrenal hormones balanced. As you can see, they are very important to your overall health, especially your gut health. If your gut health breaks down, it’s just a matter of time before you’re at increased risk for symptoms and disease.

4 Tips for Supporting Your Adrenals

Here’s how to support your adrenals so you can prevent adrenal imbalance or help your body recover from it:

  • Detox from coffee – Caffeine keeps you in the fight-or-flight mode (which is part of why we like it!). It actually increases brain activity, triggering the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce hormones. When you are already stressed and already have a demand to produce more stress hormones, it’s not a healthy combo. It leads to burnout. To reverse that, try replacing your daily cup of coffee with coffee that has adaptogens that support your adrenals (like Alphay “RIch Black” or Four Sigmatic). You can slowly mix your regular coffee with one of these healthier versions or you can slowly switch to decaf which is another good option. If you’re used to drinking multiple cups per day, consider swapping some of them out for other beverages like hot or iced tea or a bubbly water.
  • Get enough sleep – This is timeless advice. I think I have repeated this a gazillion times! Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This is especially important during this stressful time in history, so be kind and make sure you support yourself to get enough good quality sleep.
  • Eat healthy – Yes, this never goes out of style! Eat natural, whole-foods–fresh vegetables and fruits, protein, and healthy fats. Kick high-sugar foods and processed foods out of your life (at least out of your normal routine)
  • Manage stress – If you haven’t yet tried self-care practices to keep your stress levels low, then now is the time to do it. How about mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation? If you are anxious about something, journal, talk with someone or think of some solutions you can put into action. My favorite way to manage stress is HeartMath. I’ve been using these tools for many years and they are so helpful to shift the inevitable feelings of stress/worry/frustration that come up on a daily basis! The important point is to make some form of healthy, effective stress regulation part of your daily life.

I bet a lot of us have our fight-or-flight mode on right now due to the pandemic. I don’t want to see you get burned out and health compromised. We have to take care of ourselves more during these trying times.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!


Stress, anxiety, sleep and GABA

Are you having difficulty with sleep or battling with stress or anxiety?

GABA deficiency might be the culprit. 

GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain and functions as a neurotransmitter. Being one of the major neurotransmitters, it is involved in the communication among brain cells. And guess what? Your gut health and good gut bugs influence your GABA levels!
This is just another reason why I focus on building up gut health. So much of your wellbeing depends on how healthy your gut is.

So how does a GABA deficiency lead to difficulty with sleeping and increased levels of stress and anxiety?

GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter–meaning, it lowers the activity of the nerve cells in your brain and in your central nervous system. In short, it calms your mind and helps your body to relax. Having enough GABA in your brain helps you get your needed sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, and create a calm mood. It also, ironically, helps with focus by suppressing things you’re not paying attention to so you don’t get overstimulated. Interesting!

Imagine GABA as your neurons’ brake. Once there is a trigger, neurons start firing electrical signals that serve as a form of communication to their neighboring cells. Glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter, is responsible for the neurons’ excitability (like putting your foot on the gas pedal). GABA serves as a brake to stop the neurons from firing after their job is done. Without GABA, the brain gets overstimulated.

Did you know that GABA is also known as “Nature’s Valium”?

The feeling of happiness and relaxation is attributed in having enough GABA in your brain. In fact, it is important that all the brain chemicals are in balanced levels in order for you to experience a balanced mood. If you notice that you don’t feel balanced, are easily triggered to feel anxious, having difficulty with sleep, finding it hard to focus and relax, or having mood swings, your gut and GABA levels may need supporting.

Are you experiencing the following symptoms?

  • You’re filled with dread and have a knot in your stomach for no obvious reason.
  • You’re frequently late because you’re too disorganized to make appointments on time.
  • You’re often doing many things at once, but, at the end of the day, have little to show for your efforts.
  • Even when things are going well, you find new things to worry about.
  • You can’t relax and racing thoughts keep you up at night.
  • Your heart pounds or beats erratically for no reason.
  • You rely on high carbohydrate foods, drugs, or alcohol to relax.

If you answered yes to several of these symptoms, you may be low in GABA and may wonder why.

There are several possibilities. There are inherited disorders of GABA metabolism. However, your lifestyle plays an important role in developing GABA deficiency. Stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, and gluten intolerance are cited as causes of GABA deficiency according to the Harvard Medical School researcher Datis Kharrazian, discusses in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

The first step in repairing proper brain is to dial in the best diet for YOUR body (one size doesn’t fit all!) and create healthy lifestyle habits like rock solid stress management tools. This may also include some targeted gut healing. Please watch out for next week’s newsletter as I will discuss GABA supplements, the pros and cons, and what are other options to increase your GABA levels.

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sleep


Are you interested in getting the best night’s sleep ever? Do you want to learn more about what good sleep hygiene is and what might interfere with a good night’s sleep? If so, you’re in the right place.

The infographic below will give you the lowdown on getting the perfect night’s sleep. You’ll learn a lot more about sleep, and actual stats on how we tend to sleep.

Did you know, for example, that 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia? Or that insomnia is twice as likely to affect women as it is to affect men? That’s just a smattering of the information that you’ll learn if you check out the infographic.

All of the information is evidence-based so you only get real facts, not something cooked up by the denizens of the internet. You’ll learn:

·         About historical sleep trends: Believe it or not, sleep was so important in ancient times that it was worshipped as a god.

·         More about the different sleep stages: The body goes through several distinct stages during sleep. If it doesn’t get through the full cycle, you’re not getting a restful nights sleep.

·         The right amount of sleep: Most adults need between seven and eight hours a night. The amount that you need depends on your age.

·         Daily naps: Naps, when approached correctly, can be a valuable part of your sleep routine.

·         The reality of sleep duration worldwide: How much do people really sleep? What are the numbers globally?

·         How to improve sleep quantity and quality: If you’ve been short of shut-eye, skip to this section to help improve your sleep straight away.

·         Things to avoid to improve sleep: We all know that caffeine is a no-no before bedtime. Did you know that acidic food can also keep you awake, though?

·         How technology affects sleep: There’s bad news for tech-heads. Too much artificial light affects your sleep quantity and quality. It’s not just the excitement of watching your favorite show that keeps you awake – the light from the screen does too.

·         Sleep disorders: There are around ninety different sleep disorders. Find out which are most commonly experienced.

·         Sleep facts about children: Find out what sleep means for your kids.

·         Myths about sleep: Do you wake a sleepwalker or leave them alone? Find out the truth about common sleep myths.

I think that’s enough preamble, let’s get to the infographic itself.