Ask a Health Coach: Sleep, Stress, and the Snooze Button

Ask a Health Coach: Sleep, Stress, and the Snooze Button

sleeping man hitting snooze on his phoneHey folks! Erin is here for another round of Ask a Health Coach. If you’re sleep-compromised, stressed out about carbs, or you’re a chronic snooze button pusher, today’s post is for you. Keep your questions coming in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group or share them down in the comments section.

Alicia asked:

“I’ve been trying to get up early to exercise, but I always end up hitting the snooze button and falling back asleep. Got any tricks to get myself up on time?”

I love that you’re setting goals for yourself. It proves that you don’t have to wait until New Year’s or (another) Monday to make a change in your life.‘>4

1. Minimize screen time. If you need to use a computer, tablet, or phone in the evening, wear blue light blocking glasses or set devices to the “night shift” setting. Artificial light can mess with your circadian rhythm and therefore your sleep cycle.

2. Avoid that late-night drink. A glass of wine or cocktail might help you fall asleep faster, but it can disrupt your REM cycle, leaving you drained, groggy, and likely a little hungover the next day. Alcohol also relaxes the muscles, including the ones in your throat, which might cause you to snore more — or snore louder.

3. Keep your phone out of the bedroom. In addition to the aforementioned blue light situation, scrolling right before bed can lead to weird dreams and stressful fits of sleep. Plus, if you’re one of those people who checks email or social media the second you pop open your eyes, it might be worth exploring taking a break from that routine.

And if these don’t move the needle, consider getting in touch with a medical professional or health coach. Some Primal Health Coaches even specialize in sleep.

Marcelle asked:

“I’m stressing out about the carbohydrates I ate over Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people gain weight around the holidays, but I’ve been working so hard to keep it off. What can I do to off-set all those extra carbs?”

The holidays are always stressful, and, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this year is no exception. But the extra pressure you’re putting on yourself for what you ate? Why do that to yourself? Adding stress on top of stress only makes your adrenals work harder, encourages your body to pump out more cortisol, and forces your body to store more fat, which if my hunch is correct, likely sends you into a spiral of worry, guilt, and shame.‘>6

Also, since when are carbs a whole food group? I don’t know who needs to hear this, but carbohydrates are a macronutrient found in nearly every food, including, but not limited to almonds, apples, asparagus, broccoli, beans, cauliflower, carrots, mussels, oysters, yams, and yogurt.

Even if you served yourself up a plate loaded with meat and veg, you haven’t actually skipped the carbs. If you decided to skip the pumpkin pie with whipped cream and have fresh berries instead? Still carbs. If you passed on dessert altogether and poured another glass of wine? Still carbs.

We tend to criminalize these large subsections of foods — sweeping them all into one bucket. But not all carbohydrates are created equal and, honestly, not all of them are bad. When you become metabolically flexible, you can partake in any kind of food your heart desires and have the peace-of-mind that your body can handle it.