Sleep Management Practices

Here is a summary from Shannon's great talk on Sleep......why we need it and how we can improve the quality of it. We spend a third of our life sleeping, the body heals, repairs and detoxifies during sleep and improving sleep quality combats fatigue and many health conditions. Essentially healthy sleep has been empirically proven to be as important as diet and exercise. Some guidelines for better sleep include: Establish a regular bedtime routine & regular sleep-wake schedule Best quality of sleep is achieved when going to bed before 11.00pm (10pm even better)
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Healthy Hormones

Last night at Health School, Shannon gave us an excellent talk about healthy hormones.  A brief overview of her talk is listed below.  Everyone who attended gained a lot of information about how this complex system works to stay “in balance”.

Our hormonal health is governed by our endocrine system;

  •  Thyroid
  •  Pituitary gland
  •  Ovaries
  •  Testes
  •  Adrenal glands

This system is a lot simpler in men than in women and therefore easier to manage.  We can think of this system like an orchestra, if someone is out of tune or off beat, it disrupts the whole flow and sound of the music.  Our hormonal system is the same, if one part if disrupted or effects by internal or external stressors, it will have an effect on the whole system.

Stress has the biggest impact on our hormonal health.  This stress can come from work, money, illness, infections, over exercise, relationships and emotional stressors.  And, it’s not so much the stress itself, but our PERCEPTION of it. 

Short term stress is usually good for us as prepares us for action.  Short term stress activates the sympathetic nervous system or our “flight or fight” mechanism, which gives us a hit of adrenalin.  This increases our blood pressure, increases our heart rate and sends all the blood to our legs and arms ready for action.  If however the stress does not go away........our body adapts by increasing our cortisol levels.  Normally our cortisol is highest in the morning and then lowest during the later part of the day and early evening.  With long term stress it remains elevated for most of the day. 

Increased cortisol levels can cause;

  •    increased weight gain
  •    has a catabolic effect on muscles
  •    creates fluid retention
  •    foggy mind
  •    feeling emotional

Increased cortisol levels can also disrupt our progesterone activity.

Progesterone is a key hormone as it is an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, fat burner and a sleep hormone.

The adrenal glands are key in this as our cortisol, some of our progesterone and serotonin are made here.  And hence, you will often here the term Adrenal Fatigue, meaning your adrenal glands have been exhausted. 

Shannon gave us a few keys to help support our adrenal glands and keep our overall hormonal balance;

  • adequate hydration
  • address the stress or change your perspective of it
  • don't over exercise and balance heavy exercise (yang) with restorative activities like yoga (yin)
  • manage your emotional health
  • adequate magnesium intake either through supplementation or a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts
  • adequate Vitamin C intake
  • decrease caffeine

Shannon will be running a three week Women's Health program starting 25th August at 7pm.  Click here for more details on this click here.


Your's in health