There is a myriad of drugs that can affect our sleep, some of which include beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s (a type of antidepressant) and, ironically, even some which are designed to enhance sleep quality such as benzodiazepines.
Given shift workers endure bouts of restricted and fragmented sleep depending on their shift rotations, minimizing exposure to anything which can further exacerbate poor sleep needs to be a priority.
I would recommend writing down every drug and supplement that you are taking and asking your health care practitioner if any could be interfering with your sleep.
Then look at reverse-engineering things by asking if any lifestyle modification strategies could be implemented to address some of the reasons why you’re taking the medications.
Whenever we’re feeling sick, run down or our energy is low, we often resort to eating heavy foods such as chicken soup.
Whilst this may work for some, when we’re unwell, we often lose our appetite.
Our body essentially sends us a signal “not to eat”.
Yet we think we need to eat to have more energy.
Whilst elements of this are true, the reality is most of the population is overeating – especially when working 24/7. This has led to many experiencing weight gain, dysregulated blood sugar, gut issues etc.
When we get sick, we often can’t keep food down.
So is this really the body’s way of helping you to heal? To remove food from your stomach in order to utilize the maximum amount of energy for healing?
Because digesting heavy food depletes energy resources essential for healing.
Did you know there are a zillion things that can contribute to us getting sick?
Well, maybe not a zillion, but certainly many … some of which are mentioned in the list above.
Thankfully, our bodies have an incredible in-built system designed to keep us healthy.
It’s called our Innate Immune System.
However, it needs us to make good diet and lifestyle decisions in order to support it.
If not, it’s unable to help you to thrive.
- Your energy will be flat.
- Your mental clarity will be impaired.
- You will struggle to walk up stairs without puffing.
- Your limbs and muscles will become stiff and sore.
- Any “bug” that comes on the scene, will knock you for six … and so on.
Do you tend to eat the same type of meals over and over again? Maybe you’ve got a close relationship going on with your breakfast cereal?!!
Well I’d like to inspire you to live on the edge a little … and add some colour and variety to your plate (or bowl!)
When we eat a more diversified diet, particularly one that is rich in plant-based foods, it helps to feed the trillions of microscopic bugs in the digestive tract.
Now these microscopic bugs (which comprise of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – yes you read that correctly, even viruses), they don’t just hang out in your belly, doing nothing.
They are responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, for short. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system, needed to facilitate sleep.
They also produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is the pre-cursor to the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
Does your job involve sitting inside all day (and maybe night?) Have you spent years on a weight gain-weight-loss-weight-gain roller coaster?
Could lack of sunlight be a contributing factor? My simple answer to that is “yes, most definitely”.
Without sufficient vitamin D, AKA vitamin “daylight”, your body thinks you are hibernating.
It thinks winter is coming.
So what does it instinctively do as a response?
It slows down the metabolism, encouraging you to eat more, and store lots of fat to help you to “see through the winter”.
Even when it’s not winter!