Can’t Sleep? It Could Be Your Hormones

We all have an occasional night of sleeplessness–but if it’s a constant for you, there could be an underlying reason–and a hormonal imbalance could be the culprit.

From my latest in MindBodyGreen.Com

 

While almost anything can cause insomnia, hormonal imbalances are a big reason for sleep disturbance. Hormone imbalances create vicious cycles—often triggered by underlying issues and then circling around to make those very same issues even worse.

“The first thing I always check is the adrenal glands (which produce cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline),” says New York Tri-State Area doctor of naturopathic medicine Dr. Doni Wilson. “And then I check the gut, because stress causes leaky gut, and leaky gut causes inflammation that affects the nervous system.” Knowing this, if you’re having trouble sleeping it’s important to look at the big picture and consider inflammation, your nervous system, and overall hormonal health. Here are ten hormone imbalances that could be jeopardizing your sleep:  Continue reading here.

The 5 Hormones Controlling Your Weight & Mood + How To Keep Them Balanced

This is an article I wrote for MindBodyGreen.com. It was published on February 4, 2017.

 

When I experienced my own hormonal nightmare I felt fat, dowdy, old, and tired. I was moody, couldn’t concentrate, and I was constantly stressed. If you’ve been feeling frumpy lately, it could be that your hormones are out of whack. And as a health coach I’ve found that these are the five hormones we should all be monitoring:

1. Insulin

Insulin is usually associated with diabetes, but it can also affect the whole body causing weight gain, lethargy, sleeplessness, irritability, and brain fog. My insulin fluctuated wildly, sometimes it was so low I’d be dizzy and lightheaded. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, likely from a low blood sugar episode, which would cause next-day exhaustion and cravings for sugary, high-fat comfort foods.
2. Cortisol

This fight or flight hormone “blooms” in the morning and then tapers off during the day. When you have too much, you’ll be sleep-deprived, anxious and hungry. Curious about your cortisol levels? Here are 10 Signs That You Have Way Too Much.

3. Ghrelin

Are you always hungry, even after a big dinner? It could be because of this “hunger hormone” that can get spin out of control when you are sleep deprived. Ghrelin can also lead to body fat storage, which isn’t something we are usually looking for.

4. Leptin

Often referred to as the “satiety hormone,” leptin regulates appetite and energy. But you won’t get it when you’re sleep deprived, so be sure to get plenty of deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep. Caution: too much Leptin in the blood can also create a problem. Remember, the goal when it comes to hormones is always balance.

5. Adiponectin

The more adiponectin you have, the more fat you’ll burn. But the more fat you have, the lower your levels of this hormone will be. The mineral magnesium fires up adiponectin so eat dark, leafy greens, avocados, nuts and seeds, and fish.
Balancing hormones, naturally.

Many people have been taught that hormone balance always requires pills, injections or creams, but it’s possible that all you need is a change in the way you live. Food, lifestyle and stress management are of utmost importance. Start with basic “clean eating” (nothing processed) and then either add or eliminate foods that pertain to your particular situation. For instance, with my blood sugar instability and cortisol problem, I avoid caffeine entirely. It’s the same with exercise; I do a lot of yoga because it decreases cortisol. So find what works for you.

When it comes to balancing hormones, everyone should practice deep breathing. When you do so, you’re inhaling oxygenated air and exhaling carbon dioxide. It releases stress-reducing hormones, resulting in a calm and more focused mind. Depending on the type of breathing, it can even energize you at the same time. I also tell my clients to meditate, pray, and to identify a favorite quote or affirmation, repeating it to themselves often. Mine is from a Psalm: “Let there be peace within your walls and quietness within your towers.” I repeat it especially when I’m anxious about something, and it brings me right down. You might even call it a “moving meditation.”

With some intention and a few key lifestyle changes, I was back to my old self in no time. And that is what I want for you!

The Coffee Chronicles (from The Huffington Post)

The Coffee Chronicles (from The Huffington Post)

 

 

Following is an expert from an article I wrote for The Huffington Post on the subject of the long debate on the health effects of coffee.  No matter what side you’re on, there are a few things you can do to make it slightly healthier.

 

As a health coach, I do have my concerns about negative health impacts, but I also know research is pointing toward more health benefits than we first thought. I certainly also emphasize moderation and would never approve of a six-cup-a-day habit.

Let’s be completely honest, though: The bottom line is that I just love the taste of coffee. I even loved it as a young kid. I’ve never been successful in giving it up. Oh, I’ve tried, and I’ve had my share of green drinks, smoothies and health teas, but I’ve never been able to last more than a week or two without my “cup of joe,” and, seriously, that probably only did more harm than good because I’d drink more than usual just to make up for those days of deprivation.

To read the full article,  click here.

Are You Making This Mistake When Eating?

 

I wrote this for The Huffington Post back in 2013–but it’s just as valid today. Mindful eating and rituals can help you control your weight.  Food has a big affect on hormones, sleep and overall well-being.

 

So while you’re being mindful, ask yourself another question:  “Is it worth it for me to feel lousy tomorrow–sluggish, irritable, bloated–for just a few moments of happiness eating this?”

Here’s the article:

“There’s scientific proof that even the smallest rituals can ultimately help us eat mindfully, resulting in portion control and possible weight loss.

 

A study published in Psychological Science shows that something as simple as singing happy birthday, wrapping or unwrapping an item or even cutting it in half before eating can affect the perception of food. This applies to anything, whether it’s cake, candy or a carrot.

It’s thought that perhaps the delay time between performing the ritual and the actual consumption builds anticipation. That means flavor is enhanced and we eat slowly and mindfully, giving our minds and body a catch to catch up and register satiety.

That’s a big difference from our fast food culture which encourages gobbling, mindless eating and multitasking. We eat far more than we need — portions are out of control and we continue to eat long after we’re no longer hungry. This causes us to feel stuffed, bloated and fatigued — not to mention what this gulping does to the parasympathetic nervous system, the place where digestion is regulated.

Here’s how I learned about the importance of the food ritual…..continue 

ABOUT IRENE

Irene Ross is a holistic health practitioner who focuses on natural hormonal balance.  To learn more, please visit:  www.lifewellnesscoach.net