023 // How your sleep can be a trigger for Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune diseases & how to sleep better
Health with Hashimoto’s is the free weekly podcast where the exhausted mom can find a path to whole health.
Poor sleep can be both a cause and effect of autoimmune problems. In this episode, you will learn about what happens in your body during sleep, sleep as a trigger for autoimmune problems, and what you can do to improve your sleep.
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This transcript is auto-generated and may have slight errors.
Poor Sleep Can seem to be both a cause and an effect of Hashimotos or actually any autoimmune condition. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about sleep as one of the triggers of Hashimotos. And what you can do about it, you are here listening to help with Hashimotos because you want to discover a true, simple, and sustainable path to Whole Health. And that’s what I’m here to help you do. I am Esther, I am a registered nurse I help women diagnosed with Hashimotos find hope, healing, and energy without becoming overwhelmed with all the shoulds of an autoimmune disease. So let’s talk about sleep. Too much sleep or too little sleep can both mess up your TSH as the first lab that they typically look at when they’re assessing your thyroid function. And TSH is actually your brain telling your thyroid gland we need more or we need less of the thyroid hormone, but too much sleep can cause an irregularity in your TSH. And too little sleep can cause that. We don’t want either. Your body is designed to be in balance. Too much of anything is not usually good too little of anything is not usually good. So when this when it comes to sleep, typically you are looking for between seven and eight hours. Now that’s on average, everybody is individual. And perhaps you need a bit more perhaps you don’t feel like you need as much, but we know that everybody needs sleep, and seven to eight hours seems to be about average. Or what you need.
And what is your body do during sleep or why do you need sleep? Is it true? I can sleep when I’m dead? Well, if you live by that motto, you will actually die earlier. So don’t do that. We need to prioritize sleep every single night at least as much as possible. Now there are seasons of life where sleep is very difficult. As a mom of four boys, I know how pregnancy can be for sleep. I know how pregnancy with a toddler can be and of course the newborn stage and just you know all of childhood actually, when you’re a mom, or when you’re a dad, your sleep can be interrupted. And so I recognize that and I affirm how much you’re trying to do well for your own sleep. All we can do is the best we can do today. As we’ve talked about on this podcast several times before. To develop an autoimmune condition. You have three things you have a genetic component, you have a gut component and then you have a trigger. Now sleep. Some people put it in the trigger category and some people put asleep as a stressor on your body and then stress is a trigger. Either way we need to address sleep. What does your body do during sleep? Let’s talk about that first. Number one. It cleans things out. When you are sleeping your brain actually runs a dishwasher cycle. During the day. You are up and walking around and while you’re doing that your lymphatic system it’s like the garbage disposal system of your body. It is removing the trash from everywhere except your brain. When you’re sleeping your glymphatic system which is in your brain that helps clean out the brain. It only happens while you’re sleeping. Your body also does some cleaning while you’re sleeping when you are in your deep sleep cycle. That is when your body prioritizes healing, repair and detox during the deep sleep. Your T cells those are the ones that go out. They’re the fighters. They’re the bodyguards of your immune system. They actually like go into your lymph nodes and they get really sticky because when they’re fighting during the day, they need to stick to the bad stuff and destroy it. This crazy thing happens during your sleep that your body like re energizes the T cells. And quite honestly when I was looking at the research, the scientists don’t quite understand what’s happening. They just know that when you sleep better your T cells which they can’t find that night so they’re assuming they’re hiding in the lymph nodes. Your T cells work better during the day. So when you are sleeping, that is when your body is doing its healing. It’s repairing its detoxifying, and it’s maintaining the effectiveness of your T cells. So if you want a well functioning immune system, which of course we do, that’s what we’re seeking after, as somebody with an autoimmune disease. If you want a well functioning immune system, prioritizing healthy sleep has to be at the top of your list of things to do, right. Another thing that your immune system does during deep sleep is just like the brain creates memories while you’re sleeping. It processes the things that you did during the day and it creates memories. Your immune system does the same thing. Now, I don’t know how you feel about vaccines, but they have studied people who have gotten vaccines over the years and those who sleep well after a vaccine. Their body creates a better memory for those vaccines. Now I’m talking traditional vaccines. I’m not talking about gene therapy mRNA talking about traditional vaccines, your body will create memory to that toxin and you’ll be able to better respond in the future. People who received vaccines and who did not sleep very well after that had a poor immune response to that vaccine. So sleep is very important for your immune system. It’s important for a lot of stuff. And of course, I’ve talked about asleep quite a bit on this podcast because it’s one of the things that you can prioritize the most to help your body. So what does an ideal might asleep look like? Well, like I said, it’s about seven to eight hours. As you sleep you go through sleep cycles, and each of those cycles takes around an hour and a half and that can be a little more or a little less. Within that sleep cycle. There’s four stages and they range from just dozing off to really deep sleep. And then in between, there’s the rapid eye movement. Sleep that’s when you dream that’s typically called REM asleep, and then there’s no light sleep. Those are the four stages of sleep. Earlier in the night. You have more deep sleep, and later in the night or towards the morning you typically have more REM asleep. It is important to get all four stages and it is important to get enough of each stage because your brain and your body are doing important things during each stage of sleep. If you have something to track your sleep stages I use an aura ring. I really like it. I know there’s other wearables on the market that also help you track your stages of sleep. If you’re tracking it, you’re looking for about 20% of your total night’s sleep, to be spent in deep sleep and about 20% to be spent in REM sleep. So if you sleep for eight hours, that would be about an hour and a half of each of those. And I wish I could tell you one specific thing that would help your deep sleep and one specific thing that would help your REM sleep, but it is so specific to you. If you are struggling with sleep sleeping too much and not feeling alert or not able to sleep very well.
Or if you’re sleeping a solid eight hours and your deep sleep is just teeny tiny or your REM sleep is teeny tiny. I wish there was something I can say that you do this and you will have great sleep. But that’s not how it is because you are a unique human being. And each one of us has our own path to health. I can tell you some things that work across the board. In generality. But I cannot tell you exactly what works for you. And that’s why you have to be the CEO of your own health. You have to look and see. This is what I’ve tried and this is what happened and this is how I’m going to adjust. That’s just your job as the CEO of your own health. So some of the things that can generally help would be expose yourself to bright light in the morning. Of course when you’re sleeping that’s related to your circadian rhythm. It’s the waking up and then going to sleep rhythm of each day. So exposing yourself to bright light first thing in the morning can help with all of this. We talked a couple episodes ago about seasonal effects and depression or disorder when you need that light. So turn on your light box first thing in the morning get that morning sun exposure if it’s in the summertime or the light exposure from air box in the wintertime, that light first thing in the morning can really help all stages of sleep and it can help your overall quality of sleep. So that is important in general. Also exercising in the morning typically helps your stress level. Now if you have a wearable like an aura ring or a watch or something that tracks your heart rate variability, that’s the HRV that is an indication of your parasympathetic nervous system or that rest and digest phase of your nervous system. It’s the opposite of fight and flight. So when your HRV is higher, that means that your stress response is doing better. Your parasympathetic, your parasympathetic nervous system is functioning more than your stress response. exercising in the morning, typically helps your HRV or heart rate variability improve overnight so it helps your stress response over a night. So that’s going to be a good thing to do if you can, if you can’t, so then you’ll want to have a really good cooldown after your exercise. Try to get it as early in the day as you can, you know early afternoon or right after work if you work up until separate time, the later you exercise in the day, the more that impacts your sleep, both the quality of overall sleep, but also your stress response during sleep and your heart rate your heart rate is typically higher at night. If you exercise later in the day and your HRV is typically lower meaning your body is under more stress and of course, stress is one of the biggest triggers for autoimmune problems. So we want to minimize stress, especially during the time of day when our body is trying to heal and repair and detoxify. Other things you can do for sleep that we’ve talked about. In the past is minimize the blue light as much as you can. If you have any screens they are emitting some sort of blue light on that spectrum. So limit screens as much as you can get some amber colored blue blocker glasses if you see me on any zooms or anything and then evening I typically will have my amber colored blue blocker glasses on I look like a dork but I don’t care because I well I care a little bit but I need good sleep, and I need good asleep more than I care about what the other person on that Zoom cares about what I’m wearing. So prioritize what you can do to improve your sleep quality. So minimize that blue light. Another thing that really helps and it’s very difficult is take your thoughts captive in my free five day email course jumpstart into refreshing sleep and rest. I talk to you about the two trains that your mind can jump on and how to get off of them. The two trains are the overthinking the what ifs and then also the I have too much to do. Either one of those when you’re jumping on that thought train, it can totally derail your sleep in the email series. I help you get off of those trains. But taking your thoughts captive is what we have to learn to do. And I have learned this the hard way. I thought I was doing okay. And then I realized, like for a couple of weeks my HRV overnight was really low meaning that I was stressed. And so I started to analyze what are my first thoughts upon waking my very first thoughts in the morning when I wake up or in the middle of the night when I woke up were what I needed to get done to make things secure for my family finances at that time were very tight, and I realized I was waking up immediately thinking about finances and what I needed to do that day to help my family be in a secure place for our budget. Once I realized that, then I had the work of taking those thoughts captive. I had to decide this is what I want to focus on in the morning or this is what I want to focus on when I wake up and when I go to sleep.
That’s all for me. I chose first I chose I’m going to listen to this soothing Irish voice reading the Psalms to me. And I tried that. And then I realized that wasn’t working because I needed something that was short like a mantra that I was saying. So I chose for myself one Bible verse. And every time my thoughts started to wander into that stress mode, whatever it was that was stressing me out. I pulled them back in and I repeated that one Bible verse. Taking your thoughts captive can be difficult because your brain likes to have repetitive thoughts because it’s easy. I’m sorry to tell you this. Your brain is lazy. My brain is lazy. All of us have lazy brains. Our brains want to do what they’re used to doing. So getting them on a new path of thinking can be difficult, but it’s worth the difficulty to figure out what you want to be thinking about what mantra or what Bible verse or what thoughts do you want to be thinking? What do you want to be focused on while you’re falling asleep? If you wake up in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning, and then work on taking your thoughts captive and redirecting them in a direction that is not going to cause increased stress. We’ve talked a lot about gratitude on this podcast, because keeping a gratitude journal can direct your thoughts into positive areas. And it does help with sleep quality and quantity. So keeping a gratitude journal is one of the things that you can do it to help keep your thoughts captive and to help your sleep. I have other ways to do that also in that jumpstart into refreshing sleep and rest and the links of course are in the show notes. Sometimes our sleep can be interrupted due to nutrients. And quite honestly there are so many different nutrients that can interrupt sleep that I cannot go through all of them. The biggest one is magnesium. In fact, people who are looking for a sleep medication, who don’t really want the medication. The first thing that the doctor will often talk to them about is magnesium because magnesium works so well on sleep it helps our muscles relax. Magnesium helps with sleep for both quality and quantity. And of course when you’re looking at sleep, you want both you need enough sleep but not a crazy amount and you need good asleep. So magnesium is one thing to look into. First. Magnesium is one of the biggest mineral deficiencies that we face as a world. And yes, if you live in the United States, if you live in Australia, if you live in Europe, wherever you’re listening from, there is a very high chance that you could be short on magnesium. I know we tend to want to think that nutrient deficiencies only affect people in other places. We never want to think that we have a nutrient deficiency quite honestly, according to the research. Most of us have at least one nutrient deficiency, if not many. So magnesium is something to try just a heads up flooding your body with a whole bunch of magnesium. You know I said that it helps relax muscles. Well it also helps relax the smooth muscles in your gut. So if you have too much it can lead to some loose stool. The 20 minute bath right before bed can help soothe you and if you put some Epsom salt in it Epsom salts, I don’t know why they’re called Epsom salts. They are just magnesium. So that can help with some better sleep if you want to do a bath right before bed. Otherwise you can obviously take magnesium as a supplement as well. I’m super excited about one pair of nutritional supports that just hit the market. So it’s called a rise and reset system and what it is it’s not necessarily a supplement, but it’s micronutrient foundations that work with your body’s circadian rhythm. I love that. So you have the right nutrients and the right amount at the right time to support what you’re going to be doing during the day. Those adaptogens to help your body reacts to stress you need those during the day. And then you need the right things at night to help you sleep. I’m really intrigued by these especially the evening one, since it helps deliver calm and relaxation is what it says it does have magnesium in it, as well as other things that help you sleep better things like L theanine and passionflower cam Emile and one thing I love about these is that it helps your body do what it’s supposed to do. Now melatonin is something I’m sure you’ve heard of. We’ve talked about it on this podcast before. Melatonin is a hormone that your body creates when you’re sleeping and it helps with sleep. If you’re not creating enough melatonin on your own, you can always supplement with that. But with any hormone we always worry, you know if I supplement it consistently is my body gonna say oh, we’re just getting it from that source so I don’t need to make my own. It’s a valid concern with melatonin. There are researchers that come out on both sides. Some say it’s fine to supplement with melatonin every single night and others say not so fine. So you have to make that decision on your own. What I like about this rise and reset is that it doesn’t contain any melatonin or any hormones instead it helps your body do what your body is designed to do. Personally, I have been taking CBD with CBG and CBN for several months because I have noticed that that combination helps my deep sleep this rise and the reset just hit the market and I’m really looking forward to seeing what that does for my deep sleep. Because again, it’s supporting all of my own body’s processes. I’m really hoping that it will help my body do what my body is supposed to do. Because personally, I have noticed that I do not get enough deep sleep I can be getting seven, eight, even nine hours of sleep. And before I started working on my deep sleep, I was getting 20 to 30 minutes of deep sleep. Now I am up to around an hour to maybe an hour 15 minutes of deep sleep. And I am continuing to work on that. Because just like you I am the CEO of my own health. So I have to look at the data and say what’s working what did I try and how am I going to shift and how is my body going to respond and then how am I going to adapt to that? I’m always on a path to better health, just like you are and one of the things that I have been focused on for over a year now is better quality sleep because I know that that is one huge thing that I can do and that you can do to create better overall health. That’s the goal is to have better overall health. We all want to feel like we used to feel we want to have the energy and the mental focus and just the vitality that we used to have 510 years ago. We want to feel like ourselves again, you know that I have Hashimotos health sessions available so that you can work with me and figuring out what is going to be your next step on your own path to health. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. Please be sure to discuss any concerns and plans with your trusted healthcare professional
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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