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Eat Your Way to Better Sleep

Best-selling author, Dr. Josh Axe shares how foods we eat affect sleep. Read Transcript

- [Narrator] Dr. JoshAxe is a certified Doctor

of Natural Medicine anda Clinical Nutritionist.

His video posts reach morethan 2.7 million followers

on Facebook and he saysmillions of Americans

are lacking sleep.

- If somebody is in generally cranky,

if people have bags under their eyes,

those are warning signs that externally,

that people aren't getting enough sleep.

- [Narrator] Dr. Axe believeswhat we eat equals how we sleep

and says the answer tosleeping better in the bedroom

lies in the kitchen.

- With us now is Dr. OfNatural Medicine, Dr. Josh Axe,

and it's great to have you with us.

- Hey thanks, great to be here, Gordon.

- What's wrong with our culture today?

It seems like,

I don't know if it's just'cause I've reached that age,

but everywhere I go now,

I'm talking with peopleabout sleep and the number

of insomniacs we havejust seems to be growing.

Why, what's the problem?

- Yeah, I think there's afew big things to look at.

One is we have so manystimulants around us all the time

from driving cars andpeople cutting us off,

to cell phones, to computerscreens and actually,

a lot of these deviceswe use, cellular phones,

TVs, computer screens,

give off blue light similar to the sun,

which tells our brains,cortisol needs to be high,

we need to be very alert and active.

But if that stays up fora long period of time,

it wears out our bodies, ouradrenal glands, our thyroid,

and it could even causemajor sleep issues later on.

- Okay, you say one ofthe main things we need

to pay attention to is our diet.

- Yes.- Why?

What's so important about what we take in?

- Yeah, so the foods weeat really dictate a lot

about our hormones.

So there are a couple hormonesthat are really important

for sleep, cortisol and melatonin.

When cortisol is high, yourbody's not prepared to sleep.

When melatonin is high though,

it allows your body to geta deeper night's sleep.

Let's start with carbs, proteins and fats.

If we're over consumingcarbohydrates, or think about this,

before you'd go and run likea 10k, or any type of race,

they'll tell you to carb upright, get a lot of carbs.

- [Gordon] Carb load.

- Well, carbs tell your body,

okay you're about to go expend energy.

Now a lot of people,especially at night before bed,

are getting a lot of carbsand their bodies say,

okay, I'm ready to go expend energy,

but then we go to sleep at night

and then your body's juststoring those carbs as fat.

Those carbs are keeping cortisol high,

versus if at night, before we go to sleep,

we consume, or just atdinner, we cut the carbs,

we consume more healthyfats, protein and fiber,

grass fed beef, wildsalmon, chicken, turkey,

and loads of vegetables.

If we can do that before we sleep,

those proteins and those fats really work

with our nervous system andour brain to balance hormones,

raise melatonin, lower cortisol,

to help us get a better night's sleep.

- What's probably theworst thing you can eat

before you go to bed?

- Ah, man, it's sugar, hands down, sugar.

Candy bar, ice cream, it's the sugar.

- The piece of cake or the ice cream is--

- Yeah, a little bit ofdark chocolate, 70% plus.

Something like that is totally okay,

but yeah, it's the sugarthat'll really do you in.

- What is it, what is it withthe cycle that sugar does,

that gets you, I guess, excited,that you wanna do things?

- Yeah, so a few things happen.

One, a lot of it has to do with your gut.

Now people don't realize this,

consuming sugar really changesthe probiotics in your gut.

In fact, it causes yeastand candida overgrowth

in our system, which thenactually causes gut inflammation.

When you have inflammationin your digestive tract,

here's something peopledon't know of, serotonin,

sort of your good mood hormone,

you've heard of getting a runner's high.

When you're out thererunning, you feel good.

Well, that's actually 90%of that hormone's produced

in your gut, so your gut and the bacteria

and probiotics in your gut,if those get imbalanced,

it actually will throwoff serotonin, melatonin,

cortisol, insulin, all of these hormones.

So that's really whysugar is so destructive,

even to our sleep.

- All right, you've got somethings here that you recommend.

One is lavender, the oilthat I'm familiar with.

Why are these so important to sleep?

What triggers do they send?

- Well, the thing thatI love, for starters,

about essential oils is they're referenced

more than 300 times in theBible and we know lavender oil

is actually, according to scientists,

it's actually very similar,if not the same as spikenard,

that was consumed in the Bibleor that was used in the Bible

that Mary used on Jesus' feet.

But lavender is the mostcalming of all the oils.

It helps lower cortisol.

Actually, there's medical studies showing

it improves heart health,blood sugar levels,

even depression, a lot ofemotional issues, anxiety.

So lavender oil, just takingabout three to five drops,

rubbing it on the neck and head,

is great for a night's sleep,

or getting a diffuser anddiffusing that before bed.

Also frankincense oil, anotherone referenced in the Bible.

Frankincense is great for helping balance

out inflammation levels in the body.

It's great for inflammation,it's also great for sleep.

These two oils,

that one-two punch oflavender and frankincense,

two of my favorites to useboth topically and diffusing,

to help everyone get abetter night's sleep.

And it's important whenbuying essential oils,

buying a good brand, looking for organic,

that type of thing.

But essential oils are really amazing.

- You recommend a couple ofother things that I think

are sort of out of the box,

that people may not be exposed to.

One is, why is it walking barefoot?

What is it about that?

- We are meant to beconnected to the Earth,

and actually there are studies showing,

if you walk barefoot onthe grass, on the beach,

it actually reduces inflammation as well

and it does something that'sknown in Chinese medicine

as grounding, it helps ground our body,

preparing our body fora good night's sleep.

Again, there is somescience to prove that.

There's also a lot ofjust historic evidence

and Ayurveda and Chinesemedicine, Biblical medicine,

that really supports that as well.

And I think everybody realizes this.

You and I have taken vacations before

and you kick off yourshoes and walk barefoot

on the grass or on a beach,

there's just somethingthat is just calming

about it too that I justfeel like we can feel.

- Can you get the sameeffect from swimming?

- Yeah, and I thinkthere's lots of benefits

of swimming in terms of justhow it improves circulation

in your body, it kindof wears out your body,

to the point to where itprepares your body for sleep

and that brings up exercise.

Moving in general,

absolutely does promotea better night's sleep.

- Okay, well those areall the insider tricks.

You can find out more about how to get

a great night's sleep from Dr. Axe.

We've got other expertsin our sleep series,

Protect Your Sleep.

It's available DVD or booklet,and it's absolutely free.

To get your copy, all youhave to do is call us.

Toll free, 1-800-700-7000 oryou can log on to

Thanks for being with us.

- [Josh] Awesome, hey thanks.

- [Gordon] All right.


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