Few would argue that the length and quality of sleep are what truly sets you up for the success of your day. There are innumerable conditions that can contribute to the inhibition of this success, but when environmental factors seem to be out of our control, you have to focus within. A neglected — but prominent — inhibitor that causes common sleep disruption can be attributed to our adrenals. When our tendency is to attempt a decathlon of a to-do list on a daily basis, our bodies end up depleting their access to our energy-providing adrenals and begin running on our backup source cortisol — aka your stress hormone.
How do you know that your body has made this stress-inducing shift? Waking up between 3 a.m. – 5 a.m. is indicative of our bodies’ oxidative stress. If you pop up in the middle of the night with a stroke of genius about work or start creating a checklist and your mind resists slowing down — or if you are often getting up to go the bathroom — the likelihood is that your cortisol is kicking in and not allowing for your much-needed REM sleep. As adults, our bladders should be able to hold us throughout the night. Although there can be other components to this, a nightly disruption of sleep should not be an acceptable part of your routine!
Then there is the elusive 3 p.m. crash. This is often when we’re gearing up for the very large and strong third coffee of the day, or when we begin to recognize our cravings for the overly salty or sweet snacks within arm’s reach! You are experiencing a chemical reaction similar to when we wake up from our sleep under these conditions. When cortisol takes over, not only does your energy spike and crash but also your emotional and mental stability.
Morning Routine: The Act of Rebalancing
Juice of 1 whole lime
1/4 teaspoon nutritional salt (Himalayan or Celtic)
Glass of water
Every morning, make sure this the first thing that goes into your body. Why the tried-and-true tequila accompaniment first thing in the morning? For the same reason Gatorade is marketed towards athletes; this mix is simply the purest form of electrolyte. It’s common knowledge that citrus is a beneficial first thing in the morning. We detoxify most successfully while we’re sleeping, so hydrating your system first thing helps flush your liver — as well as the citrus acting as a prebiotic digestive enzyme for your gut.
The real gold mine in this solution is the colored salt! Salt feeds your adrenals by providing minerals for your cells and aiding in the avoidance of excess water retention. By addressing this first thing in the morning, you are dampening cortisol (belly fat) and lowering blood pressure, as well as cholesterol. Not only will this natural remedy allow you a full night’s rest and stabilize your daily energy (goodbye 3 p.m. crash), but did I mention I credit my six pack to this delicious, simple solution? Don’t thank me now, let your abs speak for themselves.
I suggest brushing your teeth directly after for two reasons: so the acid from the lime doesn’t create tooth sensitivity (especially as the weather drops) and secondly, as a reminder to drink your lime and salt water. Anytime I am about to brush my teeth in the morning, I make sure it does not happen until after my lime concoction.
Side note: lemon will achieve the same success. I prefer the taste of lime because the portion is consistent, and you never have to deal with sorting the seeds. Yes, warm water is better for your digestive system, but I use cold water because it is more palatable. My primary use of this mix is for my adrenals rather than boosting digestive enzymes, as I generally don’t consume breakfast for another couple hours (work related, not tactical).
Create the routine! Remember, this is not a diet; it doesn’t stop working if you forget for one day. This is about re-stabilizing and bringing your body back into balance. Give yourself two weeks of sticking with it, then check in to see how your body naturally shifts. Once this is part of your daily routine, it will be as instinctual as your morning coffee (which can come after!).