EPISODE #01 – THE STRESS BIBLE & WHY YOU’RE EXHAUSTED – optimizing sleep, melatonin, brain detox, and your adrenals
- Published on: 08 January, 2020
- Last update: 31 March, 2021
Hello and welcome to the first official episode of What’s The Juice.
While the pilot was a candid conversation about our mission and who we are, class is officially in session with Episode #01 where you’ll learn the foundation of everything else we talk about on this show. Grab your notebook and get ready for a jam-packed episode all about STRESS and your adrenals.
We often hear that “stress” and “inflammation” are the puzzle pieces to most illness, and that’s why we believe there’s power in learning the actual mechanisms by which they affect us. When we know what stress actually is and how to recognize it in the body, we can start to understand the steps needed to flip the script. Wellness doesn’t need to be expensive, and more often than not, we need to change the way we treat ourselves.
This episode is my love letter to sleep and adaptogens… and how these two things can simplify and take the pressure off of *everything* else you’re working so hard on for your health.
I recorded this episode in Venice, CA with my producer, Jess, and my creative director, Nasya. You’ll hear them pop in with a couple of questions throughout the show. In my day to day world, whenever I learn something life-changing in school or make a breakthrough connection, I talk their ears off about it and they come back to me with thoughtfulness that adds to my philosophy. That’s one of the benefits of surrounding myself with like-minded women, and a major goal with this podcast is to share my community with you. I figured it was only fitting that you get a taste of genuine back and forth on my show from the people who are my real life sounding board.
We cover: sleep, thyroid labs, HPA axis and so much more. We also talk about melatonin production, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, brain detox via the glymphatic system, inflammation, and a lot more.
One more thing, in this episode I highlight the four (4) triggers that can chronically overactive your adrenals and HPA axis:
- 1. perceived (!) stress – this is key and you have the power to flip the script in your mind…
- 2. circadian rhythm disruption – WHY you may want to go to bed early tonight
- 3. blood sugar highs and lows – the importance of balanced fat/carbs/protein at meals and snacks
- 4. inflammation – the umbrella that isn’t the root
So, What’s the Juice?
- Your HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) is your stress response system. It’s a glandular communication network—a feedback loop where every piece is constantly speaking to each other and adjusting. When it’s over-stimulated (or stimulated at the wrong time i.e. insomnia), it can throw off other systems. This is why stress may be linked to everything from obesity to Alzheimer’s. HPA(OT) takes our learning one step further = Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal, Ovary, Thyroid.
- Let’s talk about your hypothalamus (the H in HPA). Each night, there’s a cascade involving the hypothalamus that helps you to release something called growth hormone. Release of growth hormone prompts autophagy, which is a process where the body cleans up cancer cells and waste while we sleep. 70% of your daily pulses of growth hormone happen during slow-wave, deep sleep. That’s when your melatonin is pumping strongggg. It’s important to facilitate deep sleep for yourself every night, because if your melatonin production isn’t optimized, obviously autophagy isn’t optimized.
- We spend way too much time being stressed and stimulated. It may feel like we’re addicted to adrenaline. And I mean it— stress is like an addiction… there can even be a withdrawal period before you feel comfortable being in a more consistent state of parasympathetic “rest and digest” mode. This is why our generation has so much trouble sitting still without a phone and why so many of us get restless if we feel we’re not being productive. Think about it, when was the last time you were board?
- Chronic HPA activation aka sympathetic dominance. This is when someone is always in fight or flight. This can lead to a state where the body cannot properly secrete. “Secrete” refers to everything from digestive juices like hydrochloric acid, bile acids, digestive enzymes, sexual fluids, melatonin, and even saliva. A huge part of our health puzzle is knowing what to do when the stress switch gets stuck on the “on mode.” We need to switch it back down to parasympathetic mode so that we can get our juices flowing and digest, love, and sleep again!
- How does self-care impact stress? Sometimes self-care needs to be a little spicier than a face mask…it means knowing what’s good for you, and being disciplined enough to stay committed even when it’s hard. Sometimes it means being silent and listening to the voice in our head that we’re trying to avoid by falling asleep with the TV on. Sometimes it means doing chores, or something else you’re procrastinating because you know it’s the right thing to do, not because you necessarily want to do it.
More Quick Bites:
- Did you know? The herb Vitex used to be used in low doses to suppress sex drive in monks. In higher, more therapeutic doses, it’s a powerful herb that may regulate the hypothalamus.
- So you think you’re a night owl? Look more closely at your circadian clock. Nourishing the Lung and Spleen Qi with adaptogenic herbs may actually help us become morning people again.
- Remember: caffeine-based stimulants are different from an adaptogenic tonic stimulant like Panax Ginseng!
- Overnight fasting/detoxing may help you take advantage of the autophagy process. It’s important to go at least 13 hours between your final bite of dinner and your first bite of breakfast. Overnight fasting is more aligned with our circadian rhythm than fasting throughout the day. Keep in mind that blood sugar highs and lows are another form of stress on the body.
- BDNF, a protein we make in the brain, is like miracle grow for your neurons.
- Melatonin has been shown to strengthen the blood-brain barrier (super important in our era of heavy metals and glyphosate).
- Try to break-up with your sunglasses and expose your eyes to early morning sunlight as often as you can. Early morning sun exposure *could* be linked to a lower BMI.
In this episode, we touched on the glymphatic system: a brain detox network that clears waste away while we sleep. We only just discovered this in 2015 (anatomy textbooks had to be updated!) and I for one am fascinated with how we can support and work with it to keep our brains healthier for longer.
This type of information is what personally motivates me to practice sleep hygiene, and I feel like it’s most important for me to share because people will never change their habits until they understand WHY they’re working so hard to rewire their lives. It’s my mission to keep people motivated with the power of knowledge and it’s an honor to be able to do that through this podcast.
- The Brain That Changes Itself
- My teacher, the incredible Claudia Keel: http://www.earthflower.org/
- My articles about the brain’s growth hormone and how to support brain health:
- 9 Ways To Naturally Increase Your Brain’s Growth Hormone
- How Leg Muscle Protects Your Brain via BDNF
- Brain detox & jaw clenching connection: DR. SARAH CARNES on Brain Detox via Melatonin
- My favorite blue-light-blocking glasses: Swanwick Sleep
- Blue Light Blocking Phone Screen
- Flux Software for your computer to protect your eyes from blue light