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How to transition to autumn

Published 7 months ago • 5 min read

Dear Reader,

Hello September!

This month our newsletter is dedicated to helping you ease into the transition from summer to autumn. We’ll explore ways to harmonize with nature's rhythm, nurture your well-being, and feel grounded in the ebb and flow of seasonal changes.

Each month, we'll take turns appearing as the Editor, providing you with specialist knowledge, different perspectives, and of course... our unique personalities, albeit with a united voice promoting women's sleep health and wellness.

This Month's Editor: Nishi Bhopal, MD

For me, September has always represented a time of transition. Its essence is change - the leaves are changing colour, students are starting a new school year, and bright sun-kissed days yield to a cooler, earthier tone. It’s also my birth month, so, for Virgos, September symbolizes a period of introspection, reflection, and growth.

As a sleep physician and psychiatrist, I’m also mindful about how the seasons impact sleep. Unfortunately, most physicians receive only 2 hours of sleep education during medical training - but everybody has to sleep!

That’s why I created a YouTube channel teaching physicians and therapists the fundamentals of clinical sleep medicine.

I also have a private practice in California called Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, where we combine the best tools from Eastern and Western medicine to offer a holistic approach to sleep and mental health.

To learn more about Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, visit our website and follow us on Instagram @pacificintegrativepsych

Thank you for continuing to support the Women's Sleep Summit! We have been sending monthly newsletters since our first annual Women's Sleep Summit this past March! Stay tuned for an exciting educational event about daylight savings time coming to you this October...

As we wind down summer travels, work and school are ramping up…and the holidays are just around the corner! As we get older, it feels like time is going at warp speed. So let’s take a cue from mother nature - and from Ayurveda - to allow a gradual transition into the next season.

Ayurveda is the ancient system of healing from India…and it’s over 5,000 years old.

In Ayurveda, it’s said that seasonal transitions are the most important times to take care of your mind and body, as the shifting climate can contribute to changes in sleep, immunity, digestion, mood, and various other aspects of health.

Indeed, modern circadian science is reflecting what has been known in Ayurveda for millennia.

While the seasons have different qualities in different parts of the globe (hello to our sleep specialist Amanda in Australia!), autumn is the classic “vata” season.

Vata is characterized by these qualities: dry, rough, windy, erratic, and cool.

Take note of how you feel during this seasonal transition. Do you notice more erratic or lighter sleep? Dry skin? Bloating?

Take a few minutes to check-in with yourself.

Then, here are 3 ways to feel balanced and grounded as we head into autumn:

1️⃣ Maintain a consistent daily routine by waking up at the same time daily, exercising and having your meals at roughly the same time each day.

  • The goal is not perfection but self-care.

2️⃣ Eat local, seasonal foods. This is a great time to lean into the locavore lifestyle and visit a farmer’s market.

  • Foods during the “vata” months should be moist and easy to digest - think soups, stews, steamed vegetables, lentils, etc.

3️⃣ Bring gentle, grounding practices into your day, like breathwork, yoga, meditation, mindful walking. Even just a few minutes can make a difference.

  • These practices also support restful sleep by calming the nervous system.

Monthly Q&A

This month's pick: What supplements would you recommend for sleep and why?

Supplements are exactly that - a supplement to a holistic approach. They’re not a replacement for medical treatment or lifestyle practices, but can be helpful as an additional support. When considering a supplement, quality matters. Look for brands that are 3rd party tested.

Keep in mind that just because something is “natural” or over the counter, it doesn’t make it safe. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before taking any supplements, as there can be drug interactions and other unwanted effects.

Here are 4 supplements that may help with sleep:

🍃 Ashwagandha: an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years. It is classified as an adaptogen, which is a class of herbs that regulate hormones involved in the stress response. Adaptogens have been shown to support adrenal health and improve sleep. Its scientific name “somnifera” means “sleep-inducer” in Latin.

  • Studies show that ashwagandha improves sleep quality, reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, and improves daytime fatigue.

🍃 Lavender: has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, depression, and sleep issues, among many other conditions. It may be used in aromatherapy, taken orally as a dietary supplement, applied topically, or brewed into a tea.

  • A study of an oral lavender supplement showed that it was as effective as the benzodiazepine lorazapem (Ativan) at reducing anxiety.
  • Other studies have shown that lavender improves sleep quality, reduces sleep disturbance, and may enhance deep, slow-wave sleep.

🍃 L-theanine: an amino acid found in tea and in certain mushrooms. L-theanine in tea leaves balances out the effects of caffeine. L-theanine promotes a sense of calm, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves cognition without causing sedation.

  • Research shows that L-theanine can help people fall asleep more quickly and improve sleep quality.

🍃 Magnesium: an essential mineral obtained through diet. Nearly 70% of American adults do not receive enough magnesium. Deficiencies can contribute to poor sleep, along with anxiety, depression, and metabolic diseases.

  • Research has shown that taking magnesium may help improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and improve daytime functioning.
  • It may also reduce excessive daytime sleepiness in adults.

Wishing you deep rest as we transition into the autumn season!

In health,

Nishi Bhopal MD, Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physician and Psychiatrist


From The Women Who Love Sleep

What's in my sleep kit?

As the seasons change, I’m mindful of getting too hot or too cold. That’s why I’m a stickler about what I wear to bed.

One of my favorite companies for sleepwear is Dagsmejan. Not only are their pyjamas thermoregulating, they’re also eco-friendly and super stylish (I may have been known to wear them during daylight hours as well…😆).

Click this link and use coupon code SleepKit.20 for a 20% discount.

What's in your sleep kit?


Poll

Help to choose next month's Q&A topic! There are three options to choose from. Click the link to make your selection.

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👉 Forwarded this email from a sleep-loving friend? The Power of Rest: A Sleep Summit for Women was founded by 8 women physicians, psychologists, and sleep specialists who are on a mission to change the lives of women through quality sleep. Learn practical tools and strategies to improve your sleep + stay up to date here.

Disclaimer: The information provided by The Women Who Love Sleep is for educational and informational purposes only and is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider.

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