If you constantly feel unmotivated, tired, weak, stressed, anxious, forgetful, and unfulfilled, you may have some hormone balancing to do. The word hormones sounds so scientific, but really, there are some things we can do to fundamentally improve their balance. These are habits within our control that you can start trying today.
🍲 Balance blood sugar (eat enough and often)
☀️ Get sunshine (Vitamin D) first thing in the morning
🍵 Drink non-caffeinated tea/warm lemon water
🏋️ Exercise often
🛌 Sleep well (7-9hrs)
To have a successful, rejuvenating morning, we must first address sleep. Hormones affected by sleep include cortisol (the stress hormone), melatonin (the sleep hormone), growth hormone (the recovery hormone), ghrelin and leptin (the hunger hormones).1 Sleep is not a task, but a valued process that is required for healthy regulation of hormones that affect our every waking moment. We often take advantage of sleep hoping that if we shut our eyes, it will just happen. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to sleep. I’m sure we can all guess what the unhealthy ways are (night caps/alcohol, sleeping pills, overworking, overindulging, stress, pushing to the brink of exhaustion). Guarantee you won’t wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to seize the day.
Think of sleep as your most valued client. You don’t neglect him, you don’t disrespect his time, and you certainly don’t sell him a lesser, knock-off product. You build value, exceed expectations, treat him with respect, and give him the time he deserves. Let’s take a closer look at how to make sleep your most valued client:
Have a plan. The goal is 7-9 hours of sleep. No more, no less. 10+/6- hours of sleep result in confusion, exhaustion, insulin resistance, weak immunity, depression, and cravings. 7-9 hours result in sharp focus, high energy, stable blood sugar, optimal muscle growth, and good mood. Plan to start getting ready for bed 30mins-1hr prior to ideal sleep time.
Set your cues. Cues are triggers to habits you’d like to form. We need conscious reminders to get to bed at a decent time. My favorites are “Night Shift” on my cell phone and a reminder chime.
Set your habits. Habits are acts that happen after the cue to get you ready for the result (great sleep). My favorites are hot decaf tea, breath work, reading, and gratitude journaling.
Goal is to wake up at 5:30am. Count backwards 8 hours to 9:30pm. This means you have fallen asleep by 9:30p, not getting ready for bed at this time. Pro tip: The bedroom is ONLY for sleeping. Leave work and productivity to another room in the house.
- (Automatic Cue) Start reducing blue light exposure on all devices at 8:30pm. Set automatic night shift on phone (Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Night Shift) to automatically switch to red light from 8:00pm-6:00am.
- (Automatic Cue) Schedule a recurring alarm/sound on your phone (calendar/reminders/alarm) to notify you of when to start getting ready for bed at 8:30pm.
- (Habit) Turn on teapot and start breath work while the water is heating up. For guided breathing, visit xhalr.com and set counts to 4s Breathe In, 7s Hold Breath, 8s Breathe Out, 3s Hold Breath. Goal should be 2-5 minutes of breathing. This promotes relaxation and decreases stress and anxiety before bed.
- (Habit) Set thermostat temperature to 68 degrees or lower or if you have a smart thermostat, have it set to automatically lower at 8pm. Shut all curtains (blackouts are the best).
- (Habit) Sip tea while reading or journaling in bed. Set alarm and then shut phone to mute and turn it over so you do not feel compelled to check email/text/social. You should be in bed by 9:00pm now. Read/journal until 9:15pm, then shut off all lights and get cozy. If you cannot fall asleep, continue practicing breath work and relaxing each muscle in your body.
- (Result) Rejuvenating sleep.
Wake up on time or limit to one snooze. We’re trying to reset your circadian rhythm, so sleep and wake times need to be consistent. Absolutely no social media until after your morning routine. Social media can instantly ruin the start of a good day (subconscious comparison is an instant negativity trigger). Start with some warm lemon water to detox the liver and a hit of natural energy. Eat a breakfast full of high quality protein, healthy fats, and fibrous berries and veggies. If the sun is up/rising, eat your breakfast outside for some vitamin D and instant mood boost. Make a plan for your day, read, and/or practice more breath work. Whatever is going to set you up for joy and productivity.
Repeat Consistently Every Day & Night
1 Kim, Tae Won, et al. “The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism.” International Journal of Endocrinology, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377487/.