Sleepless during isolation? Struggling with insomnia, anxiety, or racing thoughts? Learn how to support your brain and sleep with these easy tips!


Podcast Transcript:

Hello and welcome everyone. I am Dr. Alison DiBarto Goggin with little black bag medicine. And today we’re going to be talking about sleeping during quarantine.

So I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to figure out how to rearrange my schedule, add in schooling, keep working, and the temptation to stay up late and watch more shows, drink more coffee because we’re definitely trying to keep going during the day and then keep everybody in the house healthy and happy. It can be really overwhelming and top of that all of the stress, the worry, the fear that’s going on in the world right now, I know that it can be really, really difficult to sleep. So today we’re going to give you a couple tips to help you make it through the day so you can sleep really well at night.

The first thing that I want to tell you about is focusing on your circadian rhythm.

Now your schedule during the day has changed, but it would be really important for you to focus on going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day. So that way at least your body’s getting the same amount of sleep and knows when it’s going to bed. It knows when it’s waking up. It knows what to expect so that way you can sleep a little bit better at night. So stick to that schedule as much as you can. Now, when you wake up in the morning and first thing you should do and when possible, and I roll my eyes because I know I’m not very good at this, but don’t hit snooze.

Get out of bed right away and then go outside or go to the window. Look outside at the sun, get some sunlight on your eyes, great time of year to start doing that because that is going to wake up not only your brain, but also your adrenals to support a healthy, higher level of cortisol, to give you energy to give you momentum throughout the day and really get everything in the body working in.

The more consistently you do this, the more awake you’re going to feel during the day, the better you’re actually going to sleep at night. And then the next thing I want you to do is do either a minute or two of quick stretching, yoga poses or high intensity exercise like 30 seconds of squats. 30 seconds of push up, something to get your heart rate up again, gets your cortisol moving, cause that’s gonna give you more energy, is going to help reset your adrenals, your brain, and your circadian rhythm so you feel better.

And then at night when you’re going to the sleep try to go to sleep, try to go to sleep the same time every night. Do some stretching, some calming things before bed. If you can put your phone down at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep at best an hour because we want you off the social media. We don’t want you looking for those dopamine hits. We want to off of screens so your melatonin can go up to go to sleep if you need to buy some blue blocking light glasses off of Amazon. They range all kinds of different prices, but it will help you not mess up your rain and your hormones because you’re looking at this blue light, which lowers your melatonin. And that’s why so many people have trouble sleeping when we’re looking at screens, especially right now, if now you’re on screens all day long because you’re home when you’re not used to that. So get some glasses. Use those throughout the day and that will help your brain make the right amount of melatonin, melatonin so you can go to sleep at night.

All right, so let’s talk about stress and coping skills. So stress keeping you up all night, right?

Your mind’s running, enrolling, you can’t control it. That’s okay. It’s totally normal. So try out some different coping skills right now. You can try out mindfulness, meditation, guided meditation. I always tell people to go to YouTube and type in 10 minute guided meditation so that way it’s done. It’s time. You’re not spending hours trying to do this.

The amazing thing that just happened day like an hour ago is that doTERRA launch their adaptive app. It’s a the (adaptiv) adaptiv, so I have horrible handwriting. I can’t even read my own handwriting. So I’m sorry. Adaptiv, and what it does, it’s a mindfulness meditation that uses voice as a biofeedback, which is so interesting. I’ve never even heard of this before. It’s a five year old company that they’ve paired with to help you manage your stress level. See where they are, do affirmations, journal. This whole thing is all combined in one. It’s amazing. So I’ll post the link to that in this podcast and video for you. So that’s a great way to get started with mindfulness meditation if you’re new to it.

Journaling is incredibly important right now. Make all of your lists talk about your future in a positive way is a great way to do it. Body scanning to see what’s going on in your body. Just releasing tension is also a great coping skill. Now I know for me it’s like three o’clock hits and I’m done. So that’s my time. I usually need, when I call my mommy time out, where I either put headphones in, I listen to some music, go sit in your car. Maybe you drive your car down the street and go sit somewhere out of the house by yourself just for a few minutes.

If you can’t do that, hide in the closet. Hide in the pantry. Give yourself some breathing time, some space alone. Even for introverts right now, like myself, we’re still around people 24 seven there’s constant noise. Nothing is getting shut off like, Oh my goodness. It’s overwhelming. So finding those places in your house where you’re not as overwhelmed. When you feel your worst, when you feel you’re most overwhelmed, this is the time to do your best coping skills. So when your most overwhelmed, meditate. When you’re most overwhelmed, go be alone. So don’t hesitate to say, Hey, I need a timeout. Whenever that time is during your day, and right now is the most important time to be present and breathe because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

We are in this limbo state where we can’t plan. We can’t say, Oh, I’ll see you next week. We have to cancel our activities. We don’t know when the shelter in place is going to be lifted. In many of our cities and states and it keeps getting extended. So being present, taking some deep breaths will help you be in the moment and take some of that pressure off of you. So now that we’re talking back to sleep exercise, exercise, exercise, exercise, we want to start burning out your energy. There’s just a lot pent up and just some movement. It can be a walk around your cul-de-sac. So if you don’t want to go walking out with a bunch of other people doing sprints to the stop sign, you’re doing simple yoga stretches, just doing five minutes of squats, lunges, push something to get your heart rate up, can help start slow, start simple. But the more you exercise, the easier you’re going to have falling asleep at night. I promise you.

Now when it comes to food, this is a great time to experiment to see what helps you improve your energy and improve your sleep. So consistently is number one, don’t skip meals and don’t binge, because this is all about keeping your blood sugar stable. So when you go to sleep at night, you have enough sugar stored for your brain. So your brain keeps working all night. I talk about this in all of my podcasts. So at night your brain is still working as keeping you alive. It doesn’t want to wake you up necessarily to go eat. So it talks to the adrenals. The adrenals release cortisol. Cortisol goes to the liver, the liver releases sugar, and this happens all night. So if you don’t have consistent blood sugar throughout the day, your liver doesn’t have good storage systems set up. Your adrenals will not release cortisol.

They’re going to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, and that is excitatory. It’s going to wake you up. So if you’re constantly waking up, tossing and turning, waking up every night at three, this is a blood sugar problem. So eat consistently is the key to sleeping all night. Isn’t that interesting?

So the other thing with this is now that we’re home and you might be home or you might be stress eating, and that’s okay. Give yourself a break. Just start tracking what’s going on and really tracking your intake of coffee, soda, alcohol is really important. I know that I’m drinking a lot more coffee because it’s just what we’re doing right now and that’s not good because it’s keeping me up is upsetting my digestive track. Coffee actually decreases your blood flow to your hippocampus and your memory. So we need to really cut down on coffee.

Cut down on alcohol right now. So that doesn’t mean you have to go cold Turkey. But if you’re drinking five cups of coffee a day, go down to four if you’re drinking four glasses of wine at night, go down to three and really start alternating and seeing what affects you because we have the time to play.

We have this open time where our bodies are going to be adaptive. So experiment with food, experiment with eating different things throughout the day, eating different things every day, especially if you’re not sleeping, you have some gut disruption. Your stress is really high, that sugar, that coffee, the alcohol might be upping your stress level in your body, increasing your cortisol, messing with your brain balance, and then you can’t sleep at night. So just start by tracking and seeing what’s going on and get out a piece of paper. Use an Excel sheet, Google drive. You can use an app. I don’t care what you use, just start figuring out what you’re eating and how it’s affecting you, because you might not notice, Oh, that three o’clock cup of coffee actually really kept you up all night. Or that soda that you drink with dinner really must do up. So really just start focusing on your food, tracking it and your symptoms and your sleep, and figuring out what’s going on for you.

All right, so some resources for you for sleep. My Pinterest at little black bag medicine has tons of oil recipes, essential oils to put in your diffuser, to put on your feet to print, spray in your pillow, so tons of ideas for you there. Okay, I’m also starting the mombie survival guide that is launching in two days on Wednesday for you. So that way you can learn absolutely more techniques to help yourself recover throughout the day, Sleep better and feel good.

And as always, I always offer a free introductory consultation for you so we can understand exactly what’s going on with your body. Get to know each other, decide if testing is needed, maybe we need to do an a dry adrenal saliva tests or food sensitivity tests. All of these things could be driving your brain to not be able to shut down and sleep the way you need it to. So let’s figure that out together. I hope you stay safe and healthy and get some good restful sleep. And if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook at little black bag medicine and we will see you next time. Thanks.

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