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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Hagan

What's Keeping You Awake At Night?

There is a lot of talk lately about folks wondering why they cannot fall asleep at night, or stay asleep. I have nothing but empathy, as I know firsthand, if I don’t my coveted 7 or 8 hours of sleep, I’m irritable and I just don’t feel great. Not feeling great and feeling extra tired the next day, can easily open up the urge to consume sugar or caffeine just to be able to get through the day. Although I don’t have a set answer to this seemingly common problem, (as each person has their own unique situation), I’ll offer a few thoughts for you to research further, if you are so inclined.

My first thought is stress. Who doesn’t have this? We run full speed all day long, experience stressful situations and either deal with them, or tuck them away to decompress later. More often than not, we choose the latter. What we end up with is high cortisol levels and difficulty falling asleep. Many folks have shared with me that this almost always leads to cravings of processed carbohydrates, which easily can lead to binge eating. Results, as you can probably imagine, can be an even more intense insomnia problem, as well as feelings of shame, and honestly a new cyclical and habitual routine. I completely understand how easy it is to fall into this unwanted pattern, and I want to help you figure out a solution.

My second thought is daily food intake. Are you eating enough quality and nutritionally dense foods throughout the day? Are you consuming the right energy producing foods during the day, and then consciously switching to less sugary foods and beverages to allow your body to naturally wind down, in the evening? Do you need help planning out your daily food choices to better serve you and your needs?

My third thought is what does your exercise routine look like? Do you know how to incorporate the right kinds of exercises to meet your personal lifestyle goals? Equally as important, do you know how to incorporate these routines with parasympathetic activities? These are still forms of exercises or activities that you can do, except they actually bring a calming sensation back to your body, thus leading to reduced stress. Do you need suggestions or help discovering a new fail-proof plan?

Last, if you are doing all of the suggestions above, have you thought about supplements? Absolutely consult with your primary health care provider first, but I am curious if you would want to try out supplementing with phosphatidylserine or a calcium-magnesium supplement.

Phosphatidylserine is known to reduce evening cortisol, which can lead to less binge eating and carbohydrate cravings. According to Pubmed studies, “Supplementations with the phospholipid phosphatidylserine, together with omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, 3 times a day, for 12 weeks, were shown to reduce cortisol basal concentrations and to regulate circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol, reducing insomnia symptoms.”

Magnesium deficiency, also known as hypomagnesemia, is an on-going and quite common problem. A study in Medical News Today, found that around 48% of Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Pubmed research has proven, “Magnesium deficiency is strongly correlated with insomnia, and deficit of magnesium, coupled with excess of calcium, which can cause major depression and mental health problems.”

I hope I was able to shed a little light or get you a little closer to discovering what you may not have been aware of before reading this. I am here to guide and support you, if you would like help in any of the areas addressed above.


Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses 2006;67:362–70. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Komori T. The Effects of Phosphatidylserine and Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Containing Supplement on Late Life Depression. Ment Illn 2015;7:5647. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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