Healthy Hormone Hacks continues…
Have you been missing out on my simple tips to keep your hormones balanced during the holidays?
I’ve been giving away all kinds of knowledge goodies over the past week in regards to practical things you can do to keep hormones (such as cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, melatonin, insulin and leptin) balanced during the holiday season.
The holidays can wreak havoc on your hormones as you tend to focus SO much on giving to others this time of year and not so much on giving to yourself as you run around from holiday parties, last minute gift shopping and visiting family or friends.
By the end of it all, I bet you usually feel wiped out and wondering why you feel so fat, tired and sick all the time – it’s because your hormones took a hit!
Over the next 12 days on Facebook and Instagram, catch my videos and posts where I’ll be delivering simple tips for practical things you can do to keep your hormones balanced while you enjoy the holiday season!
Here’s what you might have missed so far…
Day 6: Bank Some Sleep
Sleep is the first thing to go out the window during the holiday season. We stay up late doing a variety of things this time of year…
- Burning the midnight oil to meet last minute work deadlines
- Wrapping presents when our kids or loved ones are asleep
- Dancing or socializing the night away at holiday parties
- Waiting for Santa or loved ones to arrive
- Or by taking red-eye flights to save a few bucks
But you might have noticed that even when you get 8 hours of sleep or allow yourself to sleep in after a late night, you just don’t seem to wake up feeling as rested as you could if you had gone to bed at a more reasonable time.
That’s because every 1 hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours of rest!
Our body is on an internal time clock according to the sun and moon cycles. Based on this internal timer, our body has specific times of day when it does some really critical functions to help keep our hormones in balance.
For example, in the window of 10pm-2am, the body releases human growth hormone which helps to repair damaged tissues or cells, and create new cells. During this time is also when cortisol levels are supposed to be at their lowest and melatonin hormone is at its peak to support restful sleep. And during the window of 2am-4am is when the liver and gallbladder get to work cleansing and detoxifying to release toxins which promotes hormone balance.
If we miss these windows of sleep, our body does not shift its internal clock on our behalf, we simply miss out on these important functions being performed as they should be, and our hormones take a hit as a result. Constantly staying up late can completely flip your cortisol rhythm, mess with melatonin production and disrupt the rest of your hormones as a result.
Obviously there are some very fun-filled and valid reasons to maybe miss some shut eye this time of year, but you can make up for lost time by banking your sleep on the days that you are able to get to bed at a more reasonable hour.
Remember that every 1 hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours of rest!
So on the nights when you don’t have holiday obligations or commitments, aim to be in bed by 10pm or earlier to bank some sleep for late nights you might have ahead or to make up for the ones you already have.
Getting in good quality sleep at the optimal times as much as you can will help to keep your cortisol and melatonin in sync, and allow human growth hormone to get to work on your behalf so you can wake up feeling rested and make it through the holidays without your hormones getting completely out of whack.
Day 5: Crush Some Cruciferous Veggies
It’s the last full weekend before Christmas and all through the town, christmas cocktails are flowing… meaning estrogen levels are on the rise.
One alcoholic beverage can increase estrogen levels in the body for up to 24 hours, but this time of year there’s bound to be more than one drink had and with back-to-back holiday festivities, our bodies may not get a full 24 hour break for estrogen levels to fall back to normal.
Aside from alcohol, there is a whole category of toxins called xenoestrogens, such as certain plastics, that we are likely to come in contact with more frequently this time of year.
Alcohol and plastic can increase estrogen.
Constantly elevated estrogen levels from alcohol consumption or toxin exposures can lead to estrogen dominance which can in turn trigger thyroid imbalances, sleep issues and mood swings.
But don’t worry, you can still indulge this holiday season and not worry about every plastic you touch if you focus on crushing some cruciferous veggies when you sit down to eat.
Cruciferous vegetables are a staple in an anti-estrogenic type of diet or lifestyle. They contain a compound called DIM (3’3 diindolylmethane) which helps your body to remove estrogen through the liver.
DIM isn’t the only reason why cruciferous veggies are anti-estrogenic. Most of them also contain chlorophyll (found in the green leaves) which is also aids in reducing estrogen through improved liver health.
Next time you go out to eat or cook at home, see where you can incorporate some of these cruciferous veggies…
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard greens
Some of my favorite holiday side dishes include different styles of roasted Brussels sprouts and kale salads. Brussels sprouts in general are a big trend these days for appetizers, so look to add them to your meal when eating out. Or double the benefits with some sauerkraut to get in your cabbage to lower estrogen AND promote better gut health.
Keep that estrogen in check by crushing some cruciferous veggies as we wind down the year!
Day 4: Wake Up with Warm Water
Baby, it’s cold outside ❄️ so why wouldn’t you want to start your day off with some warm lemon-salted water while you wait to brew your usual cup of joe or tea?
Beyond just warming you up, your hormones can hugely benefit by starting your day off with warm water enhanced with a slice of lemon and pinch of Himalayan or sea salt.
Lemons have been shown to help detoxify the liver, and the liver is where we either convert hormones (such as thyroid T4 to T3) or excrete excess hormones (such as estrogen) which can lead to weight gain, sleep and mood issues if it builds up.
A pinch of Himalayan or sea salt promotes better hydration and electrolyte balance which is important for hormone and bodily functions. Plus, the magnesium, sodium and potassium in the salt nourishes the adrenal glands which largely produce cortisol and DHEA hormone and also contribute to the production of adrenaline, estrogen and other hormones as well.
Warm or room temperature water aids in the absorption of the lemon and salt nutrients into the body in addition to promoting digestive function and bowel movements (which is how we excrete toxins that can impact hormone balance or excess hormones themselves). Essentially, warm water gives the insides of your body a gentle nudge to get going instead of a cold electric shock to get out of bed – warm water sound much more pleasing, right?
During the craziness of the holidays, we are more likely to forget to drink water throughout the day and then we indulge in other activities such as drinking alcohol, extra coffee and traveling, which dehydrate and rob us of nutrients even more.
I always aim to drink at least 20-32 ounces of warm, lemon-salted water before 10am. This wasn’t easy at first because I was so attached to my morning coffee, but little by little I made the switch and now I wake up craving my warm water and have no need for coffee anymore.
This holiday season, see if you can add in a cup of warm, lemon-salted water to your morning to give your hormones a healthy boost to start your day!
P.S. Turn on your notifications so you don’t miss a single simple tip to keep your hormones intact this holiday season, AND remember to save the posts for future reference!