Why Stress Sugar And Lack Of Sleep Aint Your Friend!

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to a Wellness event here in Perth. The speaker was the lovely Sharon Kolkka – General Manager of the luxury health & lifestyle retreat, Gwinganna. If you haven’t heard of Gwinganna, which is located in the Hinterland of Queensland’s Gold Coast, let me be the first to put it on your radar!

Sharon spoke about the Triple S’ – sleep, sugar, stress – and how to break the unhealthy cycle of insomnia, stress and reaching for sugary foods and restore much needed balance and energy back into your daily routine. Seriously peeps, this powerful change can positively influence other areas of your life and help you find the key to achieving optimal health and vitality!

I took plenty of notes to share with you all, with a few of my own pointers thrown in 🙂


sleep more

  • Between 2-4am is your liver repair. If you wake up between those times, it’s your liver interrupting you from it’s cleansing process. Coffee, alcohol and processed foods will contribute to this.
  • Water, fats, protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals are all needed to support your system to detox effectively and to sleep well.
  • Think about where the source of your food has come from – meat particularly should be organic where possible. Need to keep your ‘house clean’ so to speak so the liver can eliminate toxins and detoxify easily.
  • We all know we make poor choices when we’re sleep deprived! It’s a vicious cycle, as we crave sugar when we’re tired to give us more energy; which sends our blood sugar levels sky high and then it comes crashing down once insulin does it’s job, leaving you feeling even more tired until you do it again. And again. And again. AND THEN, you end up so wired at the end of the day from your caffeine and sugar load, that you struggle to fall asleep or your poor liver wakes you up! Getting the drift? 🙂
  • High cortisol levels (stress hormone) could also be why you’re waking up in the middle of the night. Cortisol interrupts the melatonin cycle. Also having too much light in your room disrupts melatonin production and your circadian rhythm. Make sure you have no alarm clock in sight, laptop on charge and definitely don’t leave your phone on (I put mine on airplane mode)! You want your room to be as dark as possible.
  • Try getting in the routine of switching the tv off at least 1hr before bedtime. Go to bed a little earlier and read a light book – nothing too intellectual! And no emails or facey right before bed!
  • Processed food converts immediately into sugar in your bloodstream. You definitely want to reduce the amount of sugar you have in your diet. Sticking to whole foods and ensuring you eat all 3 macros (protein, fats & carbs) will reduce the glycemic load by releasing slower into your bloodstream than processed foods. Ever had a sugary dessert or alcohol before bed?? Of course you have! How did you sleep? I’m betting not too flash!
  • How’s your performance at work when you don’t get enough sleep? Are you on Struggle Street?



  • Heart disease, auto-immune diseases, diabetes and cancer are ALL affected by stress which is so insidious in our society.
  • Sharon made an excellent point that stress has become like a “badge  of honour”. If you don’t have stress in your life, it’s like it means you’re not working hard enough. Isn’t that the truth?!
  • Stress and sleep are very much linked in with one another. If you don’t sleep well, you won’t manage stress as well. There’s another vicious cycle!
  • There are many perks that come with technology, but unfortunately, the age of technology has taken us too far forward – our bodies weren’t designed for technology and the electromagnetic pollution/radiation emitted from phones and laptops. Our bodies haven’t learned how to process it properly, which causes oxidative stress.
  • Did you know that 80-90% of doctor visits are psycho-social stress related? Now that’s saying somethin’!

Dealing with stress isn’t just about time management…it’s about thought management


  • If you can’t focus your attention when you are still, how can you when you’re stressed?
  • Think of your brain like a muscle – whatever part of the brain you use the most, will become most dominant. For example, we know that the Limbic System part of the brain, releases and deals with all stress and has no ‘social consequences’. Ever been in an argument where you fly off the handle and say things you later regret? That’s the Limbic brain in action. The Prefrontal Cortex on the other hand, understands social consequences. This part of the brain has higher levels of emotion such as gratitude, empathy, love, happiness and compassion. Start thinking and observing your thoughts, as the mind and body are one.

Become the master of attention so you can choose your thoughts. Ask yourself a better question…what’s right with me? Not what’s wrong with me.


If you’d like some more Wellness tips, Gwinganna is offering a ‘Four Week’s of Wellness’ online project for FREE for the month of April. How good! You’ll receive expert tips and delicious recipes to help you live a more balanced, healthy life. Check it out here my dear. And don’t forget to have scope out what amazing packages and retreats Gwinganna has to offer. I can’t wait to visit one day!


Liz xx


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