We’ve got a great hack that can help you drift off into dreamland…but first, let’s have a quick look at some of the ways our sleep can get disturbed in the first place.
Insufficient salt leading to anxiety and stress: if your body senses it doesn’t have enough sodium, it sends an instruction to your adrenals to produce the hormone aldosterone. It’s aldosterone’s job to make sure your body retains sodium, but there’s a price to pay. At the same time aldosterone is at work, there’s an increased synthesis of stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline – and we all know what that feels like at 3 am in the morning. Tossing and turning and racing thoughts.
A study found that men who were put on a low sodium diet (less than 500mg a day) experienced elevated levels of norepinephrine which was also associated with disturbed sleep patterns: decreased rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep as well as increased wakefulness.
Too little liver glycogen: when we go to sleep, our body goes to work! Repair and maintenance takes energy so it’s important to keep our liver glycogen levels full. Our livers can only store between 75-100 grams of glycogen at a time; the body will consume about 10 grams of glycogen per hour (6.5g is used by the brain and 3.5g is used by the heart, kidneys and red blood cells).
So if we eat dinner at 6:00pm and go to bed at 11:00pm we’ll have used up to half of the liver’s glycogen leaving less than needed during the 7 or 8 hours of sleep. If we don’t have sufficient stores of glycogen stored in the liver, once again, our adrenal glands are triggered to produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol … and wake us up!
So, what to do?
Take a teaspoon of raw organic honey with a quarter-teaspoon of un-processed salt just before bed. You can keep a jar of 4 teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of salt ready mixed and put a teaspoon under your tongue to dissolve just before going to bed.
How does it work?
The quarter-teaspoon of salt ensures we don’t get triggered into producing aldosterone and therefore stress hormones that will wake us up.
The honey will keep our liver glycogen levels full as well as promoting the release of melatonin, a hormone which plays a vital role in good sleep as well as restoration of the body’s tissues.
Honey causes a small spike in insulin levels, and insulin stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan then converts to serotonin which then changes to melatonin. Melatonin in turn, inhibits the release of insulin in this way stabilising blood sugar levels during sleep.
Our bodies are miracles in all their intricate complexity!
Deep sleep is nature’s great healer and repairer; sometimes she needs a little help.
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