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The most important thing you can do to stay healthy this holiday

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoying your family, friends and delicious foods.  I had the great pleasure of being in Boulder visiting my son and his fiancé.

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am joyfully putting together the Nourishing Foods Winter Cleanse.  

Even if we don’t OVER indulge during the holiday season, we tend to have more rich foods, sugar and wine than normal; I know I do! As a result most of us need a cleanse after the holiday.

I am creating this cleanse to be there in January when you need cleansing and inspiration the most.

January is the perfect time to give your body a week of loving care as you start the New Year. Starting out the year lighter, leaner and more energized will set the tone for the year ahead.

Nourishing Foods Winter Cleanse
Restore Your Adrenals
January 12-16 Mon-Fri

Save the date, more details coming soon…. 

Sleep is usually one of the first things people sacrifice over the holiday and this could be a critical mistake. Sleep is extremely important for your health. In today’s post I explain why and give you some tips for optimal sleep.

In the Winter Cleanse we are supporting our adrenals to bring our body back into balance. We will go deeper into supporting our sleep as it is an important aspect of our adrenal’s and preventing adrenal fatigue.

Why Sleep Is So Important

woman sleeping - CopyWe all know that a good night’s sleep makes us feel better both physical and mentally.  Going without enough sleep for too long makes us feel terrible.

Countless studies have found that sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as illness.

Lack of sleep puts your body in a chronic state of stress. Stress elevates cortisol levels and stimulates insulin secretion, which causes you to store fat.  Not getting enough sleep also makes you hungrier.

I always address the issue of deep sleep with my clients because it is the foundation to your health.  You could be taking all the steps to creating health but if you are missing your sleep it is all out the window.

During the holiday season it is easy to ignore our need to sleep, but at what cost?

Studies show even after a single night of poor sleep – sleeping only 4-6 hours– it is more difficult to think clearly and make good decisions.  It is also interesting to know that it has a detrimental impact on your ability process and retain new information.

Sleep and Detoxification

Research shows sleep is mandatory for good health, especially brain health.  In a study done by Dr. Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Center, sleep ramps up a detoxification system in our brain called the GLYMPHATIC system. This system allows your brain to clear out toxins linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimers.  In her videoshe points to the biological necessity of sleep by showing that the brain uses this time to “take out the trash”.

 What is the Glymphatic System and How Does It Work?

You have a lymphatic system that is responsible for eliminating waste from your cells.  The lymphatic system does not work in your brain.  Your brain is a closed system, protected by the blood-brain barrier which controls what can and can’t go through it.

Dr. Nedergaard discovered that the brain actually has its own unique waste disposal system, similar to that of the lymphatic system. This system, called the glymphatic system, pumps cerebral spinal fluid through your brain’s tissues flushing the waste from your brain back into your body’s circulatory system.  It then travels to the liver where it gets eliminated.

When we sleep the glymphatic system becomes 10 times more active than when we are awake. At the same time our braincells actually shrink by about 60 percent, which creates more space in-between the cells giving the cerebrospinal fluid more space to flush out the toxins.  This only happens when we get enough sleep.

How Much Sleep Do You Need

sleepingYou can’t skimp on sleep on weekdays, thinking you’ll “catch up” over the weekend. You need consistency. Generally speaking, adults need between six and eight hours of sleep every night. There are exceptions. Some people might need as little as 6 hours a night, while others cannot function optimally unless they get nine or 10 hours.

They key is to listen to your body.  If you feel tired when you wake up you need more sleep. Yawning throughout the day is another indication that you need more sleep. I find that when I am reading during the day, if my eyes close and I tend to doze off, I know I did not get enough sleep the night before.

Studies show your best sleep happens between 10 pm and 1am.

Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.

Aim to go to bed by 10 pm. Head in the direction of bed around 9:30 to wind down.  Melatonin secretion starts around 9pm and ceases around 7:00 AM. Melatonin is your sleep hormone.  You need melatonin in order to reach deep sleep.

Tips for Better Sleep

Sometimes is it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Either we fall asleep and then wake up in the middle of the night or we can’t get to sleep.  Here are a few tips to help.

For most people, a few changes in daily routine are enough to encourage 7-8 hours a night on most nights.


  • Don’t fall asleep in front of the TV; it causes chemical changes in your brain that interrupt your sleeping patterns.
  • Avoid the computer at least about an hour or so before going to bed.   The computer and TVscreens emit blue light; nearly identical to the light you’re exposed to outdoors during the day. This tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thereby shutting down melatonin secretion.
  • Darken your bedroom. Turn off all lights.  Any light your body senses will suppress your melatonin.Refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom.
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Get the best mattress you can afford, as all the other tips won’t make any difference if you’re mattress doesn’t properly support your body. I also like 500 count cotton sheets but that not really necessary.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees. Studies show the optimal room temperature is between 60 to 68 degrees.  This is because when you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may be more conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
  • Take a relaxing bath 1 hour before bed.  Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts which contains magnesium into your bath. The magnesium gets absorbed through your skin to relax your entire body.  If you want, add in lavender, a relaxing fragrance.
  • Turn off the electronics in your bedroom.  Unplug your router, your cell phone and your TV. These wireless frequencies have EMF, electro magnetic fields, that inhibit the production of melatonin and serotonin.  We need melatonin high at night to help us sleep and to support our immunity.
  • Keep your alarm clock or phone at least 3 feet from your bed. The glow from a clock radio can be enough to suppress melatonin production and interfere with your sleep. Cell phones and cordless phones emit EMF”S.
  • If you’re feeling anxious or restless, try using EFT which can help you address any emotional issues that might keep you tossing and turning at night. Click here for a relaxing evening tapping script.
  • Do some type of restorative yoga. Doing some restorative yoga like legs up the wall will relax you before bed.
  • Chamomile A cup of chamomile tea before bed has long been known to help people relax and become drowsy.
  • Don’t engage in stimulating activities before bed even TV  can get your adrenalin going.  If you are going to exercise in the evening be sure you do it before 8pm and not too strenuously.

I hope these tips allow you to have a healthier and happier holiday season.

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