Sleep and the Autoimmune Protocol, Part 2


Sleep and the Autoimmune Protocol

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The Autoimmune Protocol goes way beyond just food. In these next few posts we’ll dive into the other aspects of the protocol and discuss how it all comes together to create an entire healing lifestyle. If you’re just addressing the food you’re eating, that’s a great first step, but your healing will eventually stall out. First up? Sleep.

Why is sleep important? There are a myriad of reasons. Sleep is a necessary process for the body to restore itself. During sleep, the body is recharging, restoring and recovering from daily activity. The gut is relaxed, inflammation is calmed and hormones are stabilized.

Sleep Deprivation

So what happens when you don’t sleep? Sleep deprivation can cause problems ranging from mild to severe, from yawning to heart issues, and many in between. Recently there have been studies that have shown just how important it is to get enough sleep and what will occur in your body when you don’t get enough, even for one night! These sleep deprivation effects include type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease.

Many people squeak by on 6 or less hours of sleep a night and think that is enough. However, 6 seems to be the magic number, when you cross the line from the ‘healthy range’, into the ‘deprivation range’. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night increases your risk of most ailments, including Type 2 Diabetes. This is due to a number of factors. When you sleep less than 6 hours, your level of glucose tolerance decreases, you can become insulin resistant and this can happen within just a few days of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation definitely puts an individual at risk for autoimmune disease. Even just mild insomnia will increase risk of autoimmune disease by around 50%. Specifically, when dealing with sleep deprivation, the risk of rheumatoid arthritis goes up by 45%, Sjogrens syndrome by 51%, ankylosing spondylitis by 53% and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) goes up by a whopping 81%. Those are pretty incredible statistics.  One study discussed findings that stated when the sleep cycle is disrupted, there is an increase in T cells in the body. T cells are immune cells, and are implicated in many autoimmune disorders. When there are too many T cells, the immune system becomes overactive and starts causing problems, like autoimmune disease.

Ways to Improve Sleep

“Just get more sleep” isn’t as easy as it sounds, however. Various symptoms, stress and depression can all impact quality and quantity of sleep. Finding ways to control the symptoms that disrupt our sleep is key in improving quality of sleep and therefore quality of life. Here are some tips to improve your sleep:

  • Create a Ritual: Having a routine you do before bed helps signal to your body it’s time for rest. Read a book, take a bath or taking a leisure walk with your significant other. Do something that is relaxing to you and that prepares your body for sleep.
  • No tech right before bed: I struggle with this one still, but not looking at technology several hours prior to bedtime can help your brain and eyes shut down and get ready for sleep. Yes, there are blue blocking glasses for the blue light that devices emit, but your brain is still being stimulated by the stories you’re reading. Consider trading in your phone for a book instead!
  • Blue Light: Speaking of blue light, get some blue light blocking glasses, use F.lux on your computer or night shift on your phone. Blue light is what messes with your circadian rhythms and throws them off. So limiting your exposure several hours before bed can be very helpful. (I’ve found this to be VERY helpful, I love my blue blocking glasses!)
  • Pay attention to the environmentIs your bedroom hot and sunny? Or is it dark and cool? These things make a huge difference when you’re trying to sleep well! Light blocking curtains, an AC or Fan might make all the difference in the world.
  • Know your triggers: Drinking caffeine or eating sugar too late in the day can cause trouble when trying to fall asleep. For some people exercising too late a night can be troublesome as well. Knowing what works and doesn’t work for you is essential to getting to sleep quickly.
  • Use the smelly stuff: Scents of lavender and vanilla are calming to the body. Using an essential oil blend around bedtime can be helpful as well.

My Sleep Experience

I’ve been having trouble with sleep for years, it seems almost since I’ve been diagnosed I’ve been struggling to regain a sleep routine. However, after some diligent work and patience, I seem to be turning a corner. I consistently use an essential oil blend on my pillow which is quite nice, I take magnesium at night and I’ve been wearing my blue blockers consistently, which I think has made the biggest difference. I’m still waking up a few times, but I’m able to get back to sleep much faster.

What is your sleep experience? Do you do any of these things now? Have you tried any different ones? Let me know!

 

 

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries 
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini 
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow?? 

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow??

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)
...

13 6
⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link! 
🧡🧡🧡

⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link!
🧡🧡🧡
...

33 23
Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

18 7
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

28 22
I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

40 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

17 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

22 2

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