Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sleep and Supplements

Ok, so I have not been sleeping well for weeks now! I can't understand why, although I have a suspicion that it's due to the dairy I have been eating to try to wean myself back on dairy.

Let me back up - I became lactose intolerant after doing the low-iodine diet for my cancer treatment where I couldn't eat any dairy. That means I probably was lactose intolerant or had a mild allergy to lactose all along, I had just gotten used to it. And since I ate dairy before, I figured if I could reintroduce small portions, I could get used to it again. It's not been so bad. I have some gastro-intestinal issues, but I really love yogurt and cottage cheese so I am willing to live with it to some extent.

But I am beginning to suspect that it is keeping me awake at night. I am not eating any dairy today to see if I am able to sleep better tonight. For the last few weeks, I haven't been able to sleep more than about 5 hours M-F and then catch up on the weekends because I am not able to fall and stay asleep! It's the weirdest thing, I am tired at the appropriate time, I get in bed and feel sleepy, then as soon as I get relaxed, I feel restless. I toss and turn for hours. Then when I finally fall asleep I wake again easily. The footsteps of a flea could wake me. And of course that starts the whole evil process over again.

In case it's not the dairy, I'm also doing a couple of things to try to manage my stress better. I'm committed to limiting TV and computer time in the evenings, as those have stimulant effects. I'm going to try it out and see if it has any effect on the sleep disturbance - it hasn't so far.

I'm also adding two herbs to my supplement regime - rhodiola and ashwagandha. These are adatogens that help the body deal with stress. Given my job and living in an urban environment and trying to keep up with my workouts, I figure I have a fair amount of stress even if I don't necessarily feel overly stressed. I'm also going to add ZMA (Zinc and Magnesium supplement) before bed, but I haven't ordered it yet from bodybuilding.com - it's supposed to help with the sleep issues. In fact, it's supposed to knock you out! From what I've read, most athletes are deficient in magnesium.

I used to scoff at supplements, but now I'm really on the bandwagon! My current supplements are:

  • Whey protein (I'm hooked right now on Dymatize Elite Dark Chocolate)
  • Greens+ (Berry flavor)
  • Fish oil (Kirkland's brand from Costco, 6 caps per day)
  • Probiotic (Vitamin Shoppe brand)
  • Multivitamin
  • Calcium
  • Flax oil and Udo's Choice (rotating between them)
  • Rhodiola in the morning
  • Ashwagandha in the evening as it has a calming effect
  • ZMA coming soon...

Every man, woman and child should be taking fish oil, at a minimum, but I'm reading more about the importance of probiotics too. That's for another post, maybe when I write about detox.....

Hope everyone is having a great week! Mine would be better if I could get some zzzzz's!!


Visionquester said...

I don't know why, but if I take a Calcium supplement at night I can't sleep.


I heard great things about ZMA as well... might have to give it a go this season if need be.


Lindsey said...

ZMA is the BEST...most women are deficient in magnesium..that's why a lot of us CRAVE chocolate. My OB actually recommended ZMA to me while I was pregnant with Layla...it worked wonders!

HA wouldn't you know that Layla and I both take probiotics and fish oil...she LOVES it--strange little thing

Good luck...

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle - from the TT challenge and checking out your blog - wanted to add that ZMA ALSO is supposed to give you better, more vivid dreams (and some report naughty dreams) - my husband and I both SWEAR by it as a full night sleep aid - doesn't knock you out so much as give you really good sleep. Anyway, watching your journey - thought I would say hi!

"Karla's Rock Hard Revolution" on TT!