Do You Struggle With Broken Sleep? Why Your Diet May Be To Blame.

Ditching the processed foods not only help us to feel better (and shake off a few extra kilos!), but it also helps us to sleep better.

This is because most processed foods are:

  • Low in dietary fibre required to support optimal gut health. Poor gut health impacts the production of certain hormones and inhibitory neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine, which help to calm the nervous system and encourage better sleep. Lack of GABA also contributes to anxiety in a lot of people, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • High in refined sugars which feed pathogenic bacteria leading to an imbalance of gut microbes, otherwise known as dysbiosis. For example, when there is an overgrowth of a yeast infection such as Candida, it causes inflammation in the gut. This in turn triggers production of cortisol – a stress hormone that also acts as an anti-inflammatory. When cortisol levels are elevated, it can contribute to insomnia because it dampens down production of the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
  • Deficient in nutrients that play a role in sleep such as vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium – all of which help to facilitate the many biochemical processes required to produce melatonin. For example, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B5 act as co-factors in the conversion of serotonin to melatonin.

So if you’re struggling with continual bouts of broken sleep (on top of working shift work), it might be time to take a good look at your diet. Because gut disturbances and nutrient deficiencies as a result of consuming foods that are highly refined and processed may be further contributing to your sleep disturbance – in addition to the shift work itself.

Audra x


References:

Ji, X, Grandner, M & Liu, J 2017, ‘The relationship between micronutrient status and sleep patterns: a systematic review’, Public Health Nutrition, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 687-701.

Li, Y, Hao, Y, Fan, F & Zhang, B 2018, ‘The role of microbiome in insomnia, circadian disturbance and depression’, Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol.9, no. 669, pp. 1-11.

Smith, R, Easson, C, Lyle, S, Kapoor, R, Donnelly, C, Davidson, E, Parikh, E, Lopez, J & Tartar, J 2019, Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans’, PLOS One, vol. 14, no. 10, pp. 1-17.

HSW 95 – Exercise, Mental Health and PTSD with Beck Lawther.

Today we’re talking about the benefits of exercise when it comes to managing our mental health – in particular around the topic of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Beck Lawther, a Police Officer with the Victorian Police Service based in Melbourne.

Beck is also the co-founder of Triple Zero Fit, a personal training company which runs fitness sessions specifically for first responders and emergency services personnel who are struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Things we chatted about:

– What led Beck to set up PT4PTSD?
– Why taking a 9-5 job for a couple of years can be a great strategy to reset our physical and mental health
– Why simply getting to the gym can feel like an insurmountable task, especially for those suffering from PTSD
– How physical exercise stimulates hormone production that improves our mental health
– How you can become a volunteer personal trainer, or utilise some of the services offered by Triple Zero Fit

Links mentioned in the podcast:
Triple Zero Fit Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/triplezerofit/
Triple Zero Fit Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/triplezerofit/
The Code 9 Foundation – https://www.code9ptsd.org.au/

Reflecting on 2019 – 3 Things

Something to ponder as another year draws to a close, and we get ready to embark on a new one.

1. Do more of what’s working
2. Stop doing what isn’t working
3. Try new things to see what does work

What new things and changes are you going to make in 2020?

Audra x

Are You Eating To Support Your Mental Health?

Yesterday I was invited to speak at an event titled ‘Love Yourself Masterclass’ for veterinarian and vet nurses here in Brisbane, because quite tragically, these practitioners have the highest suicide rate in the country.

Yes that was not a typo.

These incredible human beings that do an AMAZING job at taking care of our beloved pets are struggling. Struggling to take care of themselves as a result of a highly stressful and emotionally challenging work environment, that is affecting them physically, mentally and emotionally – right to the core.

This gut wrenching suicide statistic is 4 times higher than the average Australian, and twice as high as other medical professions.

So what can be done to support our mental health in the workplace?

Well there are many things, one of which is critically important, is sufficient quality sleep. Something that I spoke about in detail at this event yesterday because it actually trumps nutrition.

But I’ll save that for a separate post, because it deserves it’s very own.

In today’s post I want to talk about the importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods and nutrients, because this simple practice can make a DRAMATIC difference to our mental health.

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HSW 76 – Post Natal Depression and Nutrition with Brooke Batchelor

Brooke Batchelor is a Paediatric Nurse who knows first hand what it’s like to work shift work, along with experiencing Post Natal Depression.

Tune in to hear Brooke’s very heartwarming and personal story, and what made her go looking for holistic therapies such as diet and nutrition to help improve her mental health and wellbeing after having children.

We also chat about Nutritional Psychiatry being a future treatment for mental health, along with optimising gut health given the gastrointestinal tract is often referred to as our ‘Second Brain’.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

Why Nutritional Psychiatry is the future of mental health treatment

Brooke’s online CPD training platform for Paediatric Nurses:
The Paediatric Nurse Website
The Paediatric Nurse Facebook Page