I was having a chat with my brother-in-law after dinner one night and he said he has been consistently waking up at 2 am and not able to fall back asleep for a while... does this sound like you too?!
You probably aren't alone!
Typically between 2 am and 4 am, your liver is cleansing and we have a low blood sugar drop during that time. When your blood sugar drops, your body is like “omg, we’re in danger!" and so naturally, our body increases cortisol to give us energy and this is what wakes you up.
But the good news, it doesn't have to be this way!!
Plus sleep is an integral part of our health and how we feel so its critical to support it as best as possible. Interrupted sleep can lead to a reduced ability to think and remember in healthy individuals.
Once you start to understand how to balance your blood sugar, it can start to influence your sleeping through the night. Balancing your blood sugar helps more than just sleep too!
-it keeps your brain healthy (bye-bye brain fog!)
-it keeps your energy levels stable throughout the day
-it keeps your mood balanced
-it helps stabilize your cortisol levels during the night
-it support healthy weight management
+ so much more!
If you eat a snack or meal right before bed that's high in protein with healthy fat, this can help stabilize your blood sugar and make your body feel "safe" before bed. This can stabilize blood sugar and reduce cortisol for many to fall back asleep. Pro tip - try to avoid eating something sugary at this time as you'll spike blood sugar and then it will drop again....and the same thing will happen an hour or two later.
Cortisol is the stress hormone that gets spiked to naturally wake you up in the morning with your circadian rhythm. And stress is triggered by different things for different people, other than just blood sugar. So a few of the things that could be compounding together for your middle of the night wakeup could be:
- caffeine later in the day
- having high cortisol before bed from stress from the day or evening activities (watching a scary movie for example can lead to a cortisol spike, your body doesn't know its not real!)
- Exposure to bright lights throwing off your body's natural clock of what time it is
So here are a couple of things to try:
- Make sure you have a blood sugar balancing meal at dinner (making sure you have a protein+fat+fiber)
- Eat a snack with protein or fat before bed (such as macadamia nuts, a spoonful or two of nut butter, coconut butter, hard boiled eggs, pistachios, etc.)
- Enjoy your last cup of caffeine 10 hours before bed (yup, it can last that long in your system. Everyone's sensitivity to caffeine is different but as a general guideline to start) Try switching to half-caf, decaf, or even better an adrenal cocktail in the afternoon instead!
- Stress management practices and reducing cortisol levels (try having a wind-down routine to prep your body for a state of relaxation remove any screens from the bedroom, read a good book before bed),
Have questions about balancing your blood sugar or looking for support on this journey - this is great for 1:1 coaching support .
*Disclaimer: Not medical advice, just what I personally do that helps me so much!
Balancing blood sugar has worked wonders for not only myself, but for my clients.