Categories
Big Picture Sleep Symptoms

Battling Deep Insomnia?

Persistent insomnia can feel like a prison.

You just want relief from being awake. Why can’t I fall asleep? What’s wrong with me?

Maybe a sleep supplement solves the problem for a while. That is, until the solution wears off as the body builds tolerance and becomes resistant to it.

The body creates new cells that have fewer chemical receptors for the supplement’s active compound that induces sleep.

Sleep doesn’t need to be induced, though. It’s a natural process or, at least, it can be.

Maybe it’s the unnatural stuff — or even the unnatural way we do/take natural stuff — that prevents the body from being able to sleep.

Get To The Root Cause

Anxiety about insomnia can certainly make the situation worse.

That’s why it’s so important to understand what is at the root cause of poor sleep.

There’s not as much room for anxiety about poor sleep if we have a deep understanding of our body — what works for us and the general factors that improve or harm sleep.

If you find yourself struggling with insomnia, look at this list of potential causes. If you recognize something on this list, you’ll have identified a potential cause of your insomnia. Which means it can be fixed holistically.

Let’s clear some things up, and hopefully reduce anxiety about sleep.

Deep Causes Of Insomnia

Sleeping In

Perhaps the premier cause of insomnia is sleeping in late.

Sleeping in throws off the circadian rhythm so deeply that, without doing anything else “wrong,” sleep can become extremely difficult.

Some folks are able to overcome the negative impact of sleeping in by being extremely active during the day — athletic types and performers can sometimes appear to “get away with” a later circadian rhythm. These people are typically younger and haven’t faced the scourge of debilitating health problems, and live on the high of sheer exhaustion. They may be able to “pass out” at night, but this is certainly a recipe for future insomnia.

For the rest of us, sleeping in greatly disrupts the ability to fall and stay asleep the following night. The circadian rhythm is delayed, meaning melatonin simply won’t rise the next evening.

Serotonin is created by morning light and, without this light stimulus, evening melatonin will not be adequately created from that serotonin.

For those folks interested in the ill effects of high serotonin, perhaps the most reasonable way to fight back is bright sunlight — which balances serotonin by raising dopamine during the day and lowers serotonin at night by properly converting it to melatonin.

Sleeping in robs the body of the necessary morning light stimulus, sets the circadian clock backward several hours and harms the efficiency and inevitability of sleep the following evening.

Insulin sensitivity (a marker of diabetes) is also impaired by sleeping in, which could directly lead to a metabolic energy deficit at night. Needing to eat late at night to induce sleep, or waking up hungry? Sleeping in could be impairing your glucose metabolism all day, destabilizing your blood sugar, and making it harder to stay asleep through the night.

On the other end, staying up late at night will contribute to insomnia, mostly because it makes sleeping in more likely. Late nights also introduce bright light at night (this is correlated with nearly every disease risk factor) which makes sleep less efficient, and thus further impairs an early rise the next morning.

When staying up late for any reason — whether socially or otherwise — it’s still best to follow natural light cycles to some extent. Better light cycles certainly make it more easy to wake up early after a late night.

If sleeping in has become the norm, the answer is to simply wake up early while supporting this change with simple circadian hygiene steps.

When shifting to earlier mornings, it will be necessary to endure one or multiple short nights of sleep. The days following short nights of sleep don’t have to miserable. The beauty of being awake early, even if tired, can shine through the temporary challenge of resetting the circadian rhythm.

Again, when coupled with other pro-circadian habits — proper light cycles, daily movement, meal timing, etc — forcing an early rise can invite exhaustion and “sleep pressure.” This sleep pressure, when coupled with better circadian habits can lead to an excellent reset of the circadian rhythm after long periods of sleeping in.

These tenets of good sleep hygiene — waking up early, being active, eating on time, and moving a little — are incredibly effective at restoring sleep in their own right and represent the solution to the type of insomnia that occurs as a result of sleeping in.

Unfortunately, there are some situations that can derail sleep to its core — on their own — and, when these situations become bad enough, sleep hygiene is not enough to overcome them. Let’s explore some of them:

Nutrient Imbalances

Nutrient imbalances are becoming exceedingly common in the modern health world, especially in the groups dedicated to boosting metabolism and hormone production/manipulation.

Decades of science have provided studies demonstrating the pro-metabolic and prohormone effects of nearly every substance and chemical on the planet.

It only takes a little research to find lists of biochemicals, vitamins, and hormones that research suggests will boost or block a desired biological activity.

Unfortunately, this method of supplementation may be pyrite — fool’s gold.

While a young and healthy person may be able to take hormones and nutrients without apparent harm — for instance, a college-aged fitness enthusiast taking steroids, stimulants, estrogen blockers, or high doses of nutrients to increase lean muscle and burn fat — for folks who aren’t already extremely healthy this approach can be a disaster, and sleep is often where the negative symptomology is ultimately displayed.

For folks who have been battling chronic illness for several years, this “metabolic boosting” and “hormonal manipulation” can lead directly to a no man’s land of severe insomnia with no clear path out of it.

Supplemental hormones can use up nutrients, leading to depletion of minerals and vitamins.

Hormone-blockers can lead to depletion of certain hormones — and then cause the body to create new cells that are hypersensitive to the hormone being blocked. This is especially common with estrogen-blocking supplements like DIM and calcium d-glutarate, along with cortisol blockers like Seriphos (and cortisol-lowering herbs, to a lesser extent).

Over time, supplemental vitamins and minerals can cause severe nutritional imbalances, especially when focusing on boosting desired biological results. Nutrients should rarely or never be taken for their drug-like effect — whether it’s to induce sleep, alter the metabolism, nudge hormone balance, or elevate performance — and especially not long-term and in doses that far exceed 100% of the recommended daily value.

The fat-soluble vitamins (D, A, E & K) are especially known to cause sleep disturbances when levels are imbalanced or too high in the system.

The fat-solubles are incredibly powerful at boosting the immune system (they are quite antimicrobial) and are equally pro-metabolic. This means they are essential for health. It also means they can produce excellent results upon initial supplementation — with a happy honeymoon period of solid results — only to be followed by worsening symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the nutrient supplementation ceases.

When Vitamin D levels have become too high, it may even be necessary to avoid UVB light frequencies from the sun (from midday, summer light) until Vitamin D levels can return to a healthy level.

Vitamin A is a double-edged sword, much like Vitamin D. Much of the population will be deficient in both D & A, and yet some will be dangerously high in one or both (usually after supplementation). If one is low, that deficiency alone can wreck sleep. If one is high, that excess (or “vitamin toxicity”) can equally disrupt sleep.

Vitamin A & Vitamin D are just as likely to ruin sleep in excess as they are to restore sleep in deficiency.

Additionally, of particular importance is one’s sodium and potassium balance.

In chronic illness and hypothyroidism, sodium levels are often depleted, so adequate daily sodium intake can be incredibly pertinent for sleep. Any nutrient — when too low or too high — will raise levels of cortisol, and this is true of sodium in particular as a primary electrolyte.

Many folks will need to restrict sodium intake and balance it with potassium.

For instance, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is especially related to sodium/potassium balance. Monitor this critical, fragile ratio daily, doubly-so if insomnia is a recurring issue. RLS is also linked to Vitamin D/A balance, as well as calcium/magnesium balance. If any nutrient is low or high, restless legs can present.

All in all, any nutrient, when out of balance with its cofactors (read: all other nutrients), can cause persistent insomnia until supplementation has stopped and the body can balance itself once again.

It can take weeks for sleep to return when nutrients and hormones have been thrown out of whack, although improvements can be noticed within mere nights of stopping the offensive supplementation.

Low Calories

Insomnia can certainly be caused when too-few calories are eaten, or when calories are eaten too late in the day.

Glucose tolerance is lower at night and higher in the morning.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dom.13391

When calories aren’t eaten early, they are less efficiently metabolize later in the day — leading to an energy deficit that can only be ameliorated by further, excessive caloric intake.

Simply put, eating too little early means even more calories must be eaten later in the day to compensate — to keep up with energy requirements of the body.

Especially in cases of long-term malnutrition and chronic illness (due to extreme dieting or even poor gut health), the body is in a perpetual state of energetic deficit.

In this state, adequate caloric intake may become essential to facilitate sleep. Erratic blood sugar (possibly as a result of a disrupted circadian rhythm or low-grade infection) can directly cause insomnia. The obsession with caloric restriction as a path to longevity can directly impair health, particularly if it disrupts quality sleep.

When blood sugar regulation is a concern, it’s increasingly important to 1) eat enough calories and 2) eat those calories on time: early and not late.

The caveat: if you find yourself unable to sleep due to insufficient calories during the day — there may be no other choice but to get up and eat sufficient calories to induce sleep.

Snacking at night isn’t ideal (poor glucose metabolism, eating signals “daytime” to the brain), but insomnia is easily a worse outcome. Eat what’s needed for the night, and get back on track in the morning and over time.

Sedentarism

Daily movement is a major component of good sleep.

Movement reinforces the circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin and signaling daytime to the brain’s clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus).

Additionally, movement burns through glutamate stores, allowing for a more appropriate GABA-glutamate balance in the evening which facilitates better relaxation of the nervous system.

Exercise also improves liver bile flow and digestive wellness, allowing for more efficient absorption of nutrients and, therefore, improved metabolic function.

The lymph system is nourished by daily exercise and, when sleep cycles have been impaired, the lymph system depends upon movement even more to clear lymph and the toxins housed inside it. This increased reliance on movement is because the circadian rhythm is critical for lymph function. In circadian disruption, movement is all that remains to stimulate lymph flow (along with, potentially, manual lymph drainage, massage and infrared light).

Some well-intentioned health advice recommends extreme resting and avoidance of exercise. While this advice is based on some measure of truth (long-term overexertion can harm health), it mustn’t ignore the fact that daily, tolerable levels of movement are critical to preventing insomnia, digestive motility, and lymph function.

Nightly Hydration

Bodily hydration is a major challenge in chronic illness.

It can be a struggle to maintain homeostasis and fluid balance due to chronic inflammation and poor nutrient absorption.

Monitoring fluid intake — as well as water quality — is important when sleep is a challenge.

There’s certainly a “Goldilocks zone” for each person when it comes to fluid intake.

The amount of water required will vary depending on the diet and intake of minerals. Sunlight, light therapy, heat therapy, exercise, and mineral intake will all greatly increase daily water needs.

In hypothyroidism, it’s common for folks to restrict water intake and increase sodium consumption. This improves fluid balance due to hyponatremia as a result of various health challenges: low hormone levels, high inflammation, poor gut health, and poor nutrient absorption.

Increasing this sodium-to-water balance may help sleep. However, it’s possible to go too far in either direction: You may find water to impede sleep during the night, and sodium induces sleep. You may wake up a few hours later dehydrated (from the sodium), and need more water.

Ultimately, this is a sign of severe fluid imbalance. Frequent night urination can be a sign of many things: diabetes, mold toxicity, high EMF exposure, and high inflammation. The root causes of fragile fluid balance need to be addressed going forward, rather than merely addressed through intense sodium/water balancing.

Poor Gut Health

Poor gut health can cause each bite of food eaten to turn into endotoxin in the gut.

In dysbiosis of the gut, nutrients will be poorly absorbed and, when absorbed, will not reach cells efficiently due to inflammation.

Pathogens become comfortable in the gut, eating food and causing inflammation. They’ll even enter the bloodstream — a place they certainly don’t belong — and trigger a strong immune response (more inflammation).

Some folks are able to find some spotty relief by removing problematic foods from the diet (such as grains, fibers, or animal products). However, this does not totally address the underlying health problems and may cause imbalances over time (due to an imbalanced diet).

If insomnia is truly persistent, it’s certainly possible gut health is a root-cause factor.

Of course, the circadian rhythm is a primary controller of overall gut health. Therefore, attacking both the gut and sleep simultaneously through great sleep hygiene and a solid gut health regimen may present a valid approach.

Sick Buildings

There’s no reason to go in-depth on this topic, here.

However, if you’re really struggling with insomnia and absolutely nothing else is helping, you might want to explore your building — and see if it’s a sick building.

When water damage grows significant mold — or air conditioning units go unmaintained and grow mold — this can cause insomnia all by itself.

Mold releases toxins called mycotoxins which directly cause inflammation. Its spores can also be allergenic and even become lodged in the mouth and nose and grow fungal colonies (possibly the gut, too). The scent of mold (technically “volatile organic compounds” or VOCs) is particularly disruptive to the sensitive body, too.

EMF, on the other hand, doesn’t affect everyone equally — but if you’re someone who is affected by it, it can cause sleep to flatline on its own, as well.

Get to know your sleeping domain — is it within high-risk distances for any of the EMF-emitting sources in this chart?

It’s an ongoing process to understanding mold and EMF in the environment.

Mold is becoming a modern epidemic as buildings are built with cheaper materials and tighter envelopes (less air exchange), and modern inhabitants and landlords who are too busy, ignorant, or financially limited to properly maintain their premises.

EMF prevalence is rising exponentially, with current 2020 average exposure levels most likely exceeding previous decades’ average exposure levels on a magnitude of millions of times more radiation — and that’s just the wireless component of EMF, not magnetic and electric fields, which may have remained more constant. One thing is for certain: EMFs are biologically active and not completely inert.

Conclusion

If you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s most important to understand why it’s happening rather than look for a quick fix.

As tempting as it is to find a quick solution — and as sweet a relief a few decent hours of sleep might be — in the long run, the only thing worse than having insomnia now is still having chronic insomnia in the distant future.

Instead of searching for random, fleeting fixes, it’s best to see if we can analyze our situation and remove the common major obstacles that are capable of — on their own — causing debilitating, unrelenting insomnia, the kind that can occur despite even the best of sleep hygiene habits.

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Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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Categories
Big Picture Nutrients Sleep

3 Rules Of Nutrient Supplementation

1

No Single Nutrient Is Safe To Supplement Every Day

Nutrients interact With and Oppose each other.

How common is it to supplement with a nutrient on a daily basis?

It’s extremely frequent.

Across health groups and modalities, each approach often has “favorite” nutrients, which are sometimes taken too frequently, too consistently — and for too long.

It’s a problem on its own, but it’s compounded by the tendency to demonize the very nutrients that might balance out this preferential supplementation. This is often done in hopes of “nudging” hormonal balance in a preferred direction.

Over time this supplementation approach leads to potentially-severe imbalances between various nutrients in the body.

Supplemented nutrients stand the risk of rising too high, while the neglected ones fall too low.

The problem, here, is that all nutrients have myriad interactions with other nutrients — throughout the body. 

In a manner of speaking, all nutrients oppose each other, either competing for absorption or “using up” each other. There are some exceptions (mostly in times of relative deficiency), but even with the exceptions, the general rule still applies: increasing levels of a nutrient ultimately works to deplete other nutrients.

The question, then, is: How long does it take to cause an imbalance between nutrients?

The answer: Not that long — especially when chronic illness is in play.

In chronic illness, there’s a shortage of energy supplied to the body. Related are poor gut health and, with it, poor nutrient absorption. This leads to widespread nutrient deficiency — across the board.

An imbalance between nutrients is easy to create via uneven supplementation when the body is somewhat deficient in all nutrients. It often doesn’t take long for any particular nutrient to cause problems. It may only take a few months or, sometimes, (much) less.

Additionally, widespread nutrient deficiency can be made worse by exogenously pushing the metabolism faster than a compromised gut can absorb nutrients. Elevated toxicity due to mold, chemical exposure, and/or endotoxin creates inflammation that blunts nutrient absorption into both the bloodstream and individual cells.

2

Most Nutritional Supplements Are Only Safe 1-2x/Week

Most individual nutrient supplements provide 100-300% of the recommended daily value.

Some are much higher than that.

These products should almost never be taken daily.

Even a low-dose — say, 100% RDV — will create an imbalance over time if supporting nutrients are not also supplemented at a similar rate. This can happen in mere weeks in the chronically ill. Doses higher than 100% will only hasten the imbalance.

Imbalances happen because each nutrient exists within a family of other nutrients. For example: Minerals interact tremendously with each other. Each mineral has a major partner, with whom powerful interactions, synergy, and opposition are in play.

The ratios of each mineral with A) its partner and B) other cofactor nutrients deeply matter for human health, and the body struggles to keep these ratios in balance during illness — due to aforementioned reasons.

The same is true for the fat-soluble vitamins and B-vitamins, two additional “nutrient families” for whom balance between nutrients is critical. There are even endless interactions between nutrients of different families — too many to properly be aware of on a day-to-day basis.

To supplement one nutrient, while avoiding a partner nutrient or other cofactors, will skew the ratios between nutrients over time.

These imbalances can be theoretically avoided by taking a blend of all nutrients in a family (or simply, all nutrients — as in a multivitamin) in a dosage around 100% of the RDV.

However, problems arise even with multivitamins: Very few multivitamins limit their dosages to around 100% RDV. In fact, most advertise their super-high doses as a selling point. There are other problems with most multi-vitamins, as well, including ingredient quality and imbalanced ingredients in the product, itself. It’s not uncommon to see 150% of one nutrient and 1100% of a partner nutrient.

On the other hand, if we supplement a nutrient at a moderate dose (around 100% RDV), we can usually take that nutrient about twice per week without causing terrible imbalances, provided there are no pre-existing nutrient imbalances (usually caused by uneven supplementation practices).

A twice-per-week dose of any nutrient allows for the benefits of said nutrient to be enjoyed while minimizing the risks of imbalance.

However, two things must be noted about thE 1-2x/week schedule:
  • Over time, imbalances can still occur at this low-dose schedule.
  • At some point, cofactors and supporting nutrients must be considered. We cannot supplement a single nutrient — even at 2x/week — while ignoring its relationships with other nutrients.

Many factors will determine how well a twice-per-week dose improves your health: body size, nutrition in the diet, digestive health, and current nutritional status. It is possible to require weeks or months of ongoing supplementation with a nutrient to iron out pre-existing imbalances. This may continue for a few weeks or months until the imbalance is corrected. However, this can easily result in a “false-positive” as the new nutrient improves symptoms for weeks or months (as an old imbalance is corrected), only to “stop working” and begin to cause problems (as a new imbalance is created). This false positive is also observed in the first-time supplement-taker: Any single nutrient will almost certainly yield noticeable results until problems are created and the product is (hopefully) discontinued.

The most common symptoms of nutrient imbalance as a result of improper, unsafe supplementation are insomnia and fatigue. Dysregulated cognitive and emotional function can also present, as will digestive disturbances such as constipation, diarrhea, or food sensitivities. Nearly any nutrient, when too-high or too-low can and will cause these symptoms.

To maintain already-existing nutrient balance: A low-and-slow regimen is suggested, with infrequent, balanced supplementation of all nutrients. This can be achieved via low-dose multivitamin blends and wise individual nutrient supplementation — keeping in mind the 1-2x/week rule.

Low-dose multivitamins should not be taken daily to A) avoid over-supplementation and B) to allow the body to balance itself without the influx of supplemental nutrition. Perhaps most importantly, regular days off from nutritional products can provide an opportunity for observation of how one feels without the influence of supplements.

3

If A Nutrient Becomes Elevated

You Can Lower It To SAFER LEVELS

The way nutrient interactions work, it’s very possible to overdose on a single nutrient using common supplementation practices.

Just take one or multiple daily doses of a nutrient for weeks or months. Voila — levels in the body will likely become too high.

However, this is partly a “relative” imbalance, meaning an imbalance between one nutrient and its cofactors. This nutrient’s levels may not be terribly high yet, but if the cofactors’ levels are low in the body, we observe all the symptoms of moderate or major overdose.

When the cofactors’ levels are brought up, the oversupplied nutrient levels can begin to fall toward normal as the body metabolizes the excess nutrient.

(How badly a new imbalance affects you will depend on how strong or weak your body is — and whether you’re taking few enough supplements to notice why and when you start feeling worse).

To correct a relative imbalance, you must know which nutrients are needed — which nutrients are the main cofactors of your problem nutrient.

You should also know if you’ve taken any cofactors in excess in the past. If a cofactor nutrient has also already been supplemented in excess, taking more of it will not help, and will only make matters worse.

It requires a wise understanding of nutrient interactions to safely and properly lower an elevated level of any nutrient.

Of course, by far the simplest path is to avoid over-supplementation in the first place.


Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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Categories
Big Picture Sleep

Sleep Checklist

The daily formula for quality, nightly sleep.


Sleep Checklist

Item #1

Light is the premier signal to the brain that it is daytime.

Nothing signals daytime like bright sunlight. Heat lamps can be an incredible supplement on:

  • Cloudy days
  • Days where you’re stuck indoors
  • Even sunny days.

Get one 20-minute session of very bright light therapy (providing strong infrared & red) every day. This is especially necessary on days of little sunlight exposure.

Clear heat lamps are the superior artificial source of red & infrared — they’re cheap and provide optimal light frequencies.

Sunlight, of course, is the original, best source of infrared light — just don’t sunburn.

To reduce light at night is the partner of bright morning light.

The most harmful wavelengths at night? Blue light — which floods our modern world.

The darker your room, the higher your melatonin rises — ensuring better sleep.


Sleep Checklist

Item #2

Inadequate caloric intake leads directly to insomnia.

It’s super important to know your daily caloric needs — and meet them. Every day!

If you’re lying in bed and unable to sleep — with a history of undereating or hypothyroidism — it’s extremely unlikely you will fall asleep until you get up and eat. In nearly all situations like this, I recommend getting up and eating enough calories to enable you to sleep. Sometimes, this means you’re eating a very large late-night snack.

While eating at night isn’t optimal for health, when you’re behind on calories, you may not have a choice other than to catch up at night. Eat the calories tonight you need to promote sleep — but make it a point to eat early meals tomorrow so you don’t have to eat all night again.


Sleep Checklist

Item #3

Eating tells the brain “It’s daytime!”

Therefore, eating early in the day sends proper signals to the brain about when day/night is.

By contrast, eating late in the day does the opposite — and lowers melatonin at night.

Stay “ahead” of your calories! Late meals can be very problematic for restoring good sleep — so eat adequately for breakfast and lunch! Do not resort to “making up” for missed breakfast and lunchtime calories in the evening. Eat early, timely meals.


Sleep Checklist

Item #4

In addition to eating enough calories and timing meals properly, balanced meals are extra important when our digestion is weakened.

Carbs-to-Protein

Balancing carbohydrates and protein is of first importance (2:1 = a solid middle-ground) . You also need to know whether you’re eating high/low fat — and how much fiber your gut can handle.

Also: Sugar vs Starch

Many people are avoiding one or both. This may work for some, but if you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s possible you’d benefit from some of both. There are some exceptions to this, especially when gut health is extremely troubled.


Sleep Checklist

Item #5

Movement Signals “Daytime”

Movement teaches the brain that “it is currently daytime” — and, therefore, during daytime exercise and movement, melatonin is properly lowered.

Get exercise while the sun is still up — not late in the evening, or before bed. Midday is best: mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Move All Day Long

Move in various natural ways all day rather than being sedentary most of the day. This further connects your brain to the natural circadian rhythm.

Movement Burns Up Glutamate

Movement also has the powerful effect to “burn up” glutamate in the body. High glutamate is nearly ubiquitous in poor gut health. Movement reduces it greatly.

Sedentary Jobs/School

If you find yourself at a job or in school, sitting much of the day, you need to make concerted effort to counter the lack of movement.

Make the most of any break time to move, stretch, and flex your muscles — sending signals to the brain that “we’re moving the body — it’s daytime.” Even standing while class or meetings are commencing can give you a chance to “move” when you’d otherwise be sitting.

A quick, 5-10 minute “exercise” session might be even more important if you’re sedentary most of the day.


Explore deeper.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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Categories
Big Picture

The Beginning Blueprint

1

First, Begin With Light

Proper, therapeutic light will improve every facet of your health, but especially your circadian rhythm, digestion, inflammation, and hormonal balance.

Infrared is super critical for thyroid health (metabolism), as well as boosting energy levels and hormone production.

Make this first step: Get daily supplemental infrared light (15-30 minutes).

Artificial blue light during the day is harmful to the skin, eyes, and brain chemistry. However, blue light at night (from any source) is infinitely more harmful — and, therefore, important to monitor and reduce.

Even small amounts of blue light at night harm your melatonin levels throughout the night, wrecking your gut health, immunity, metabolism, and… everything.


2

Next, Focus On Your Circadian Rhythm

Along with severely reducing bright light at night, getting bright morning light is among the most critical steps you can take for your circadian health.

Meal timing sends strong signals to your brain about the time of day. Eat early meals (especially breakfast and lunch) to cement your circadian rhythm.

Bright daylight midday reinforces the circadian rhythm.

Brightness by day, darkness by night = circadian bliss.

Movement is also incredibly important for the circadian rhythm. Try to get some light-or-moderate exercise most days, around midday. Late morning or mid-afternoon is perfect.


3

Third: Food or Gut Health?

Which makes more sense for you to focus on?


4

Then, Notice Your Environment

Environmental toxins are becoming much too prevalent in the modern world.

Begin noticing your environment — and whether it improves your health or detracts from it.

Living in a clean space is quite impactful to your health, especially in the “built” indoor world.

Not much time for cleaning? A simple trick is to own fewer possessions.


5

Last, Let’s Calm The Mind

Some things we can change — others we cannot.

A calm, clear mind will serve us in whatever direction our path takes us.

You don’t have to be perfect. Give yourself permission to be calm — even for one minute.

A Path For Your Journey.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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Categories
Big Picture

What Is Illness?

To Reverse Illness, Let’s Understand What It Is.

Fatigue, sleep problems, inflammatory issues, and digestive troubles are springing up, and they’re happening to people at shockingly younger and younger ages.

The markers of aging are arriving earlier than expected for a substantial portion of the population.

To reverse this, is it necessary to become an expert about every facet of the human body?

Must we deeply understand the interactions between nutrients, hormones, and physiology to restore our health?

When I was hyperfocused on smaller variables, my health did not improve so much. But when I looked at the big picture, my health returned. Dramatically.

Yours can, too.

Let’s look at the big picture of illness.


1

Four Stressors Of Illness

Stress is the fundamental name for any phenomenon that harms the body.

Small, acute stresses are normal and part of healthy living: moderate exercise, daily disappointments & challenges, competitive games, limited fasting, and short illnesses, for example.

In the proper context, acute stressors can even provide some benefit to the body — these are known as “hormetic” benefits.

Stress is only truly manageable by the body when acute: The challenge arises, the body meets the challenge, then we rest and recuperate. When stressors become continuous — or, chronic — the body has little defense.

There are four important “stressors of illness” — that appear to be primary contributors to the onset of disease.

For the time being, we will exclude emotional stress, though it is certainly as important a factor as any when discussing the onset of, and recovery from, disease.

The Four Stressors Of Illness

Pathogenic Infection

The world is full of countless pathogens, bombarding us daily from sick people and sick buildings. They are linked to many diseases.

Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is surprisingly common. It’s caused by poor diet, soil quality, pathogenic infections, and poor gut health.

Toxicity

Toxins abound in the modern world — and we also are exposed to them by pathogens inside the body (these toxins are called “endotoxins”).

Circadian Disruption

Every aspect of modern life has the potential to be disruptive to the circadian rhythm.

Let’s dive into the four stressors of illness, see how they all work together to degrade our health, and learn what we can do about it.

After all, to reverse illness, we’ve got to understand what it is.


Cause #1


Pathogenic Infection

Pathogens Are Active

Pathogens bombard our bodies every single day.

The skin is well-suited to repel most pathogens (though microbes do live on the skin), but the mouth, ears, nose, and throat represent excellent opportunities for pathogens to enter the body.

When a pathogen gets inside our body, the immune system should quickly identify it and kill or deactivate it. The pathogen may then disappear or, more likely, go dormant until a more opportune time appears.

A strong immune system can ward off invading pathogens, rendering their infectious capabilities, at best, acute.

Immunosuppression

When the immune system is compromised (as is commonly the case in chronic illness and aging), pathogens are not readily killed and deactivated. Therefore, various microbial species become resilient, at home in the body.

When this happens, outward signs of infection are often absent, with — instead — elevated markers of inflammation and/or white blood cell counts and, over time, the development of symptoms of chronic illness: fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, and poor digestion.

How do these low-grade chronic infections by these pathogens (mainly: bacteria, fungus, viruses) affect your health?

  • Cause nutrient deficiency.
  • Cause toxicity.
  • Cause inflammation.
  • Cause circadian disruption.

It is through these means that pathogens can harm major organs and affect day-to-day quality of life — even in chronic, low-grade infections.

These low-grade infections are usually undetectable by medical tests and direct observation by a doctor.

However, inflammation will almost certainly be high and, again, signs of elevated immune activity can appear in labs, though they likely won’t raise alarms for most doctors — when perhaps they should be.

The Hidden Infection

Harmful pathogens typically “hide” in various microbiomes around the body: The gut, nose, ears, and vagina.

Medical science is taking the first steps to understand the world of the “gut microbiome.”

Being a completely new field, a person with severe dysbiosis will likely test negative for an infection — even though their gut health is wrecked.

Unfortunately, this new field will require much more research to truly understand it and therefore manipulate it with medical precision. At this time, microbiome tests are becoming able to identify the species in your gut — but we don’t really know what to do about those findings, yet. Not from a medical standpoint, at least. What seems best is to treat “general dysbiosis” of the gut — using all tactics available to boost the immune system, including proper circadian rhythm practices, foods, supplements, photobiomodulation, sunlight, and improving one’s environment.

In the immune-compromised, infections are rarely of a single pathogen. Instead, multiple “co-infections” exist, each affecting the body simultaneously.

MARCoNS

The acronym stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. This bacteria is highly pathogenic and resistant to antibiotics because of a powerful biofilm which protects it from potential threats.

This is a newly-discovered kind of infection, typically residing in the nasal passages — although it’s being found in the mouth as well.

Dental Mistakes

Questionable dental practices can lead to persistent, low-grade, hidden infections in and around teeth that can escape the notice of dentists. These infections can send a constant 24/7 drip of metabolic toxicity and pathogenic attackers into the bloodstream and into the digestive system — causing chronic inflammation and dysbiosis.

Pathogenic Toxicity Can Cause Every Component Of Disease

An infection (in the mouth, gut, nose, or elsewhere) supplies your body with a steady stream of “endo”-toxins.

As a result, the body will spend vast resources to detoxify the endotoxins and kill off the hosts. Nutrients will be “used up” rapidly to meet the demands of an overburdened liver. The endotoxins from maldigestion (gut pathogens) and other local, hidden infections can cause rampant, widespread issues.

The body will also ramp up inflammation round-the-clock, and this will cause overall digestion and absorption of nutrients to plummet. Hence, chronic, low-grade infections cause nutrient deficiency for two reasons: both depletion of nutrients for detox, as well as interference with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Nutrient deficiency and toxicity cause inflammation, and all three will eventually affect sleep quality — as the immunocompromised body descends into chronic illness.


Cause #2


Nutrient Deficiency

A Common Issue

Low nutrient levels are actually common — even in the first world. But when health is suffering, the become a big cause of further issues.

Poor diet can result in nutrient deficiency on its own. Eating lots of refined grains can result in B-Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Modern industrial farming practices have resulted in falling soil quality — and the mineral quality of our food has suffered in response.

Too much time indoors can result in a Vitamin D deficiency. Food has very, very little Vitamin D.

Eating little vegetables and no organ meats can result in a Vitamin A deficiency. An overburdened liver may have a hard time converting carotenes to Vitamin A, too (genetics can cause this as well).

Poor gut health can result in poor nutrient absorption across the board. Low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut can lead to deficiency in B-vitamins and other nutrients and compounds such as butyric acid and Vitamin K2.

Last, we’ve already seen the two ways pathogenic infections can bring about nutrient deficiencies.

For most people strugling with illness, most or all of these factors are affecting their nutritional health.

How Does Nutrient Deficiency Cause Disease?

When nutrients are low (due to elevated detoxification requirements or poor absorption), virtually every system in the body suffers: Metabolism drops, energy storage drops, immunity drops, digestion worsens, sleep plummets, and inflammation rises.

The body adapts to fuel and nutrient shortages by slowing the metabolism — to use nutrients less rapidly. This is also known as hypothyroidism.

This is the body’s response to famine or starvation — “starvation mode” — the body will slow down its metabolic (energetic) processes to avoid churning through limited reserves and supply.

When the metabolism is slowed (hypothyroidism) the body will not be able to adapt to normal pathogenic exposure. The body’s defenses against daily pathogenic bombardment will be less effective during nutrient scarcity. In fact, the body will even try to sequester nutrients away from pathogens — to starve them out. Unfortunately this leaves your own body starving for nutrients, too.

In chronic illness, nutritional immunity doesn’t lead to recovery, it means pathogens will survive longer in a weakened body. Pathogens will always opportunistically find a place to call home, if available, and when the immune system is compromised, the body is a ready host.

Chronic nutrient deficiency will also undermine sleep, hormone production, and even mental performance and emotional regulation. This can — over time — lead to a compounding situation where things just aren’t working correctly, pathogens multiply in the body, and medical tests still may not be able to find anything wrong — besides, perhaps, irregular WBC counts.


Cause #3


Toxicity

Environmental Toxins

Toxins also include the more everyday-varieties we often hear about: heavy metals, industrial chemicals in our food supply our sprayed on our new products, VOC’s in new homes, and even mold in sick buildings.

Exposure to environmental chemicals is increasing globally… Toxicants are present at all stages of development, potentially accumulating to cause a lifetime of ill health. 

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/12/2794/4670095

The accumulative nature of toxicity in the body should be alarming.

We simply have no idea how our collective and personal health will fare after decades of daily exposure to the tens of thousands of untested synthetic chemicals present in modern life. What little we do know about our environmental toxin exposure isn’t very promising.

Endotoxin

Toxicity doesn’t merely appear in the environment.

One of the most important toxins to address is endotoxin from pathogens living in the gut (or mouth, nose, ear, and vagina). The endotoxins released when these pathogens eat your food is tremendously disruptive to the body’s function — and because the toxins are released whenever YOU eat, it can make your life a living hell.

“The liver is the major source of the acute phase proteins, and it is constantly burdened by toxins absorbed from the bowel; disinfection of the bowel is known to accelerate recovery from stress.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Another quote from Peat, partially in reference to endotoxin:

“When estrogen overlaps with endotoxin (as it tends to do), multiple organ failure is the result.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Toxicity, in all forms, overburdens the organs.

Gut Health

The gut has two main functions:

  • Absorb nutrients
  • Transport toxins out of the body (via bowel movements)

When the microbiome goes bad, it becomes home to plentiful harmful pathogens. These pathogens release toxins into the blood stream — especially when they digest your food after you eat. These, of course, are called endotoxin.

If there’s any reason to improve your gut health, it’s to reduce the toxic load on your body that pathogens create via endotoxin.


Cause #4


Circadian Disruption

Disruptions of circadian rhythms have been associated with many diseases, including metabolic disorders and cancer.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684296/

Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm is a slow-moving disaster for health.

Nearly every aspect of modern life works to undermine our circadian rhythm. Further, an overemphasis on “hours of sleep per night” has distracted from what actually makes for a restorative and optimal night’s sleep.

Syncing The Circadian Clocks

The body is full of circadian clock genes — each organ has clock genes, and they are tied to the brain’s central clock: the SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus).

One of the major keys to restoring health is to get ALL of these clock genes synced up.

When that happens, each organ performs its functions in concert — and the body becomes a free-flowing highway instead of a traffic jam.

It really is this critical — studies have found nearly every single marker of health worsen due to worsened sleep. Even small, temporary shifts in sleep quality can have deep impacts on health markers. It’s no secret that most chronic illness sufferers struggle with sleep and their circadian rhythm.

Poor sleep (and poor circadian rhythm) is no benign symptom — it’s a direct cause of illness and disease. Fixing it at all costs must be priority number one to improve health.


2

Stressors Cause Each Other

Any stressor experienced, once it becomes chronic, will develop into other stressors of illness.

Each stressor also causes inflammation.

Pathogenic Infection

Will Cause

Nutrient Deficiency

Will Cause

Toxicity

Will Cause

Circadian Disruption

Will Cause

3

Is Inflammation A Cause Of Illness?

Mostly, No

Inflammation is most likely not the root cause of your health issues. By contrast, inflammation is most likely a symptom of the four stressors of illness.

Chronic Inflammation Does Cause Damage

When inflammation remains high for long periods of time, it causes many other problems, too. Therefore, even though inflammation is only a symptom it will begin to cause other downstream problems over time.

Acutely, [the stress] response is adaptive; however, chronic elevation of inflammatory proteins can contribute to health problems including cardiovascular, endocrine, mood, and sleep disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

If your body is always inflamed, there’s a cause — and that cause needs to be corrected, rather than merely “fighting inflammation.”


4

Inflammation Is A Response To… Stressors

Inflammation is meant to be temporary. It responds when tissue has been damaged — to clean away damaged (dead) tissues so healing can occur.

But what if inflammation is always high? Possibly due to chronic low-grade infection?

If there’s inflammation, there’s a cause.

“Inflammatory cytokines are released in response to stress, tissue damage, and infection.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

When chronic inflammation is present, nutrients won’t get absorbed. Inflammation interferes with insulin’s driving of sugar molecules and nutrients into cells. Inflammation essentially can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to absorb all nutrients.

“Independent of the cause and location, inflammation – even when minimal – has clear effects on gastrointestinal morphology and function. These result in altered digestion, absorption and barrier function. There is evidence of reduced villus height and crypt depth, increased permeability, as well as altered sugar and peptide absorption in the small intestine after induction of inflammation in experimental models…”

“Even Low-Grade Inflammation Impacts On Small Intestinal Function”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835780/

Another quote from the same study:

“Inflammation may influence the intestinal absorptive area, epithelial cells, and barrier function via released inflammatory mediators and… activated immune cells.”

These quotes are pointing, also, to an increase in intestinal permeability when inflammation is present. High intestinal permeability (leaky gut) allow pathogens from the gut access to the bloodstream — and therefore the rest of the body, where they can wreak more havoc and cause more inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can also result from injuries that aren’t healing properly (due to re-aggravation or infection) as well as any other ongoing stress that isn’t resolved.


5

How Does Mold Fit Into All This?

Toxicity

First: Mold supplies toxicity.

Mold releases toxic VOC’s (mycotoxins) into the air. These VOC’s are fat-soluble and become stored in our body. They overwhelm the liver and cause inflammation. This causes the digestive process to shut down and — between poor digestion and overburdened liver detox — the body becomes deficient in nutrients. Toxicity and malnutrition disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to compromised immunity. Ultimately, infection is the next logical step in the. process.

Infection

There has long been plenty of evidence throughout the animal kingdom that fungal species can live “inside” their animal hosts — and quite a few common diseases around the world are caused by fungi.

Here’s a passage from an article about how fungi are beginning to deeply threaten the health of indoor pets:

“Spores of these moulds spread aerially. If inhaled by those with weak immune system, they can overcome the body’s defences and start growing inside the nasal passage, sinuses and lungs. The moulds may even spread to the brain and other organs through blood.”

https://theconversation.com/brace-yourself-internet-cats-and-dogs-at-risk-from-new-fungus-15498

There also may be a simple reason antifungal drugs seem to help diseases like MS.

There could very well be a fungal (or other pathogenic) component to many of the “big” diseases. It’s possible a large component of aging is a process of slowly losing the battle to pathogens, toxicity, and nutrient deficiency — rather than mere hardwired genetic programming.

As mold (and sick building syndrome) becomes a larger and larger epidemic, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if these diseases continue to become more prevalent.


6

What About EMF?

A Complicated Subject

The simplest way to think about EMF is that it scrambles your body’s internal processes via pulsed electromagnetic signals.

It’s similar to the way a strobe light can greatly harm some people (“Flicker Vertigo” — which occurs when a strobe light flashes at 1Hz to 20Hz, which is in the frequency range of brain waves).

Wireless pulses are much more rapid than a strobe light, and they pulse in the frequency range that cellular processes occur, causing serious issues with their function over time. In other words, we don’t consciously think 100,000x times per second, but our cellular processes are happening at that speed.

The body’s nervous system and cells communicate via extremely low-intensity electrical signals. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that rapid electromagnetic pulses impact the function of our cells and nervous system.

Studies have shown EMFs effects on the body include:

EMFs can penetrate all the way into and through our tissues — thereby potentially affecting every cell in our body.

EMFs come in various types (wireless pulses, magnetic fields, and electric fields), but these all negatively impact the body by sneakily interrupting or interfering with the body’s processes.

The greatest harm from EMFs is to people who already have weakened health status.

Therefore, EMF can be a major source of the factors that cause disease. It’s important that people take at least modest steps to reduce EMF exposure.

As the 4G network grows and 5G networks go live around the world, it’s important to understand what these technologies are doing, how they behave, and what you can do about it.


7

How Do We Improve?

Remove the bad, add the good.

Address The Four Stressors

Of the four stressors, rank each in order of how much they hold you back. Then, pick one to address.

Is your circadian rhythm clearly weak? Start here!

Is your gut health struggling? If so, it’s causing toxicity, harming sleep, compromising your immunity, and causing nutrient deficiency. Start here!

As you strengthen one area, your knowledge will grow and you can improve the other stressors, as well.

Add Good Habits

To improve your health, you’ll have to add good habits into your life.

What are those good habits?

  • Getting daily sunlight and additional infrared light.
  • Cleaning up sick buildings (or getting out of them).
  • Caring for our digestive health.
  • Eating meals at the proper times.
  • Caring for our circadian rhythm.
  • Moving a little bit every day.
  • Addressing nutrient deficiencies safely and wisely.

When we understand the stressors and add these good habits, it’s incredible what we can achieve for our health, no matter the severity of the situation.


8

The Big Picture

One Step At A Time

We don’t change our life all at once.

When we take one step at a time, we can begin to build a truly restorative life.

One that includes healthy light habits, sleep habits, digestive health, food choices, and environmental health.


Light boosts immunity, improves digestion, breaks down toxins in the bloodstream, and is #1 factor in sleep quality.

Light also improves mood, brain chemistry, and thyroid health.


Sleep is the backbone of immunity and gut health, the frontlines of improving nutrient absorption, the realm of autophagy (a partner of detox).

Melatonin is anti-cancer and restorative to the gut.


Gut health affects pathogenic load (70% of the immune system is in the gut), nutrient absorption, toxicity (waste is removed via the gut), & sleep (if your gut is poor, sleep will likely suffer).


Mold can cause pathogenic fungal infection in the gut, nose, and mouth (and possibly elsewhere around the body).

Mold impairs nutrient absorption (worsened gut health), produces toxic byproducts (mycotoxins and other VOCs) in buildings.


Food matters for:

  • Immunity against pathogens
  • Nutrients provided to the body
  • Exposure to endo- & exo-toxins
  • Sleep quality. Food must be well-digested.


Nutrient balance affects:

  • Immunity (minerals & fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin C)
  • Optimal detoxification
  • Sleep quality (via vitamins & minerals)

The thyroid does have an indirect effect on:

  • Immunity
  • Nutrient levels
  • Toxicity
  • Sleep (especially)

This is because the rate of metabolism controls how much energy is available for all biological functions. Less energy means weakness, system-wide.


Here’s how your location can affect you:

  • Immunity. Through exposure to toxins & pathogens.
  • Nutrient levels. Via poor gut health
  • Toxicity. Through exposure to, pollution, environmental toxins or endotoxin from worse gut health.
  • Heavy mold or EMF exposure can seriously impair sleep in some people.

<– BACK to Articles

Categories
Big Picture

9 Concepts

Focus your energy on what really matters.


What Matters Most For Your Health?

In a world of too-many-options, and a thousand social media figures clamoring for your attention, which paths make the most sense?

Whichever path we choose, it’s best to keep an eye on simplicity, sustainability, and what is going to deliver us true results — even after the initial excitement wears off.

If your goal is to truly improve or recover your health, here are some fantastic places to build from.


1

Blue Light

Why Is Blue Light Bad?

Blue light is rapidly becoming a hot-button issue in the health world.

Its effects on brain chemistry, stress hormones, the thyroid, and — most of all — sleep, are quickly moving this issue from a “fringe topic” to a mainstream concept.

The most direct negative effect blue light has on your health is on sleep quality. Why? Your body needs darkness at night for melatonin to rise properly.

Bright light — and especially blue light — instantly lowers melatonin levels in the brain. Exposure to blue light at night — when melatonin needs to rise to initiate sleep — will disturb your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and (most of all) wake up feeling refreshed.

Blue light impacts people of all ages but is most harmful to those struggling with health challenges.


How To Reduce Blue Light At Night

Reducing blue light involves several steps:

  • SCREENS — Dim your screens: TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets
  • INDOOR LIGHTS — Choose low-wattage incandescent bulbs, amber bulbs, or red LED bulbs. Around 8pm, lower the lighting around the house. Wear yellow, orange, or red glasses before bed to block blue light.
  • BEDROOM — Use blackout curtains to block light from LED streetlights, and don’t allow electronics in the bedroom that have bright lights.

SUMMARY

When melatonin is low, your sleep WILL suffer. The best way to crash your melatonin? Bright light at night.


Read More



2

Morning Light


The partner to evening darkness.

Morning sunlight is one of the most healing habits you will find.

The circadian rhythm is being proven to control nearly every function and organ in the human body.

Morning light revs your circadian rhythm exactly as nature intended it to: by lowering your melatonin at the beginning of the 24-hour wake/sleep cycle.

Morning sunlight is much brighter than indoor light, yet gentle and rich in healthy red spectrums. This wakes you up, and signals to your brain the precise time of day.

Studies show bright morning light is healthy for many reasons (even for weight loss), but its effects on the circadian rhythm are certainly the most profound. Researchers who found morning light to be effective for weight loss suggested even this result was due to the light’s circadian rhythm benefits.

The circadian rhythm impacts every single aspect of the body. If you want to fix your health, fix your circadian rhythm.

Morning light also tops the list for its impact on your mood and mental health. Who wouldn’t benefit from a better mental state as we improve and recover our health? Of course, there are also additional benefits from merely being outside in the fresh air.


How To Get Daily Morning Light

Follow these steps for great morning light:

  • OUTSIDE — Get outside within the first 2-3 hours after sunrise. Heat lamps are a viable alternative when sunlight isn’t available due to weather or your schedule.
  • SIT OR STAND — Grounding via hands or feet is superior. Grounding in water is optimal.
  • GAZE — Gaze at the horizon, in the direction of the sun.
  • DURATION — The longer you take in the sunrise, the greater the effect on your circadian rhythm — but even a few minutes is highly beneficial.

SUMMARY

Morning light has immense benefits for the body and mind, and there’s no better way to start each day. With daily morning sunlight, we give our body its best chance for a robust sleep cycle — and robust health.


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3

Meal Timing

When I was ill, I didn’t digest food very well.

As such, my eating habits were haphazard and unstructured.

If that sounds like you: don’t make this mistake any longer.

Why? When you eat is possibly more important than what you eat (and what you eat is pretty important).

There are many common mistakes concerning meal timing:

  • Eating too late in the day.
  • Skipping meals.
  • Eating ALL day.

Eating at the right times also locks in your circadian rhythm even deeper. When combined with wise light habits (morning light + reduce blue light at night), smart meal timing will set the stage for deeper sleep.

Getting a proper feeding schedule back is critical to improving and recovering your health.


Our Bodily Rhythm Should Look Like This:

Eat, then digest.
Eat, then digest.
Eat, then digest.
Sleep.

Every day!


How To Time Your Meals

With some slight wiggle room, the best times for meals are:

  • BREAKFAST — 7AM — Or, within 30 minutes of waking. (6:30-7:00AM is the optimal wake-up time).
  • LUNCH — Noon (or slightly before)
  • DINNER — Finishing before 7PM.

Not hungry at the appropriate time? Try to eat at the proper time anyway — it will further establish the correct meal times in your body’s clock. Sleep will improve, digestion will improve, and you’ll enjoy benefits along the way. After a while, eating at the right times gets easier.

SUMMARY:

The body runs on a schedule — every cell, every organ, including the digestive system. Optimize your digestion, heal your gut, and fix your circadian rhythm by eating at the right times, every day.


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4

Sleep & Wake Time

Consistently wake up — and go to bed –early.

Late nights can be fun and absolutely worth the time spent deepening friendships and making memories.

However, what are you doing with your typical evenings?

When chronic, late bedtimes and wake-up times are certainly harming your health. The circadian rhythm is among the most important regulators of your body, controlling digestion, inflammation, immunity, mental acuity — and more. You’ve got to protect sleep and wake times with every bit of energy you have — especially when trying to recover or improve your health.

The reason? You’ll have WAY more energy, digestive health, immunity, and brain function — just by shifting your sleeping hours forward.

The Perfect Sleep Schedule For Optimal Health

SLEEP: 9:30PM
WAKE: 6:30AM (or sunrise)

SUMMARY

If you’re concerned about your sleep, start sleeping on this schedule. Just give it a few weeks. You WILL see the difference — especially when you add the other steps in the Sleep section.


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5

Macro Ratio

So many diets ignore the macronutrient ratio.

The “macro ratio” refers to the amounts of carbs, protein & fat eaten in a day (or in a meal).

Why Is Balancing “Macros” Important?

Well, for starters, we need all three macros to make hormones (which affects sleep, digestion, immunity, and energy levels).

Your body is actually made of all three macros, too: Many people might know the body is made of fat and protein, but even carbohydratess are utilized in cell membranes to keep the cell stable in solution.

We need all three “macros” — and for them to be in balance.

The Best Macronutrient Ratio?

A 2:1:1 ratio (carbs : protein : fat).

The 2:1 Carb-to-Protein Ratio

This is a perfect middle-ground ratio that can support the metabolism, optimize gut health, and supply proper nutrition.

Highly active folks may need more carbs — perhaps a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

After you’ve explored your carb-to-protein ratio, figure out how fat you need per day. Low fat might be under 50-60g per day, while “high fat” might be doubling that (this will vary based on your body size).


SUMMARY

If you don’t have a “macro ratio” nailed down, you may be skipping a huge step in your health journey.

Track your calories for a few days (using Cronometer) — and then figure out if you need to improve your ratios to something like 2:1:1.


Read More

6

The Big Nutrients


Ultimately, all nutrients matter — a lot.

However, not all are equally important, right now.

Here are three big nutrients you need to figure out before you worry about other things.

Vitamin D

Chances are strong that if you don’t feel so well, your Vitamin D is low. Perhaps you stay indoors most of the time and wear sunscreen when outdoors. If so, your Vitamin D is probably low (barring higher-dose supplementation, which can cause problems).

How To Fix Low Vitamin D

UV LIGHT

Vitamin D is created from UV-B light.

SUNSHINE — Get UV-B light via sunshine!

  • 20 minutes every day with skin exposed) weather
  • Minimum: 2x/week

TANNING DEVICE — at home or a salon

  • (1x/week — bed must contain both UV-A and UV-B).

SUPPLEMENT

Low-dose Vitamin D supplements (2000-4000 IU/day for 1-2 months).

  • Supplements are inferior to sunlight for vitamin D, for many reasons
  • Overdosing on Vitamin D is common and harmful

Sodium/Potassium

Sodium is NOT bad — it’s an essential nutrient that most people need more of. How is this possible? Most people who limit sodium intake actually just need to increase potassium (and magnesium, calcium, etc). It’s being low in these other minerals that makes sodium relatively high. Sodium is high in relation to its partner minerals, and bringing levels up of those partner minerals will bring sodium back into balance.

And those of us who are struggling to recover our health? We often need EXTRA sodium. This is because the body wastes sodium (among other nutrients) in hypothyroidism. My experience has found that MOST people with health issues are low in ALL nutrients — and we can’t bring levels up for all nutrients until we bring sodium levels up, first.

A more healthy person will need to bring up your potassium levels, first. Most young and/or healthy folks should make their first step to raise potassium levels via their diet.

And yes — there are many (around 30) other nutrients to think about. But you’ve got to bring up these big nutrients, first, and then bring up the rest.


SUMMARY

Trying any health approach without first understanding (and mastering) your Vitamin D, Sodium, and Potassium levels most likely will amount to wasting your time and energy.

Read More

7

Your Environment

The modern indoor environment is a smorgasbord of variables that can negatively affect your health.

Here are the three ways your indoor environment(s) might make your health worse:

  1. Air Quality
  2. EMF
  3. Light

#1 — Air Quality In Your Home

Air quality suffers because modern buildings are trapped spaces with little air flow from outside (where air is almost always MUCH cleaner).

Trapped air means that chemicals on new products (flame retardants, etc), and cleaning agents remain in the house for long periods of time instead of dissipating.

Trapped air means mold issues get worse. VOC’s, mycotoxins, and spores given off by mold growing (in walls or in HVAC systems) builds up over time — causing your body to become more and more sensitive to these harmful compounds.

Trapped air means humidity can rise in your home. Trapped air can also mean radon can build up over time. Really, trapped air means any levels of anything troubling can rise — air turnover is what protects against this.

Unfortunately, oxygen levels will never rise inside your home from trapped air. Oxygen is depleted as inhabitants breathe — and the highest concentrations of oxygen are in outdoor air.


AIR QUALITY SUMMARY:

Use your nose. Notice air quality as you go about your day. Clean regularly, maintain building systems, never let water damage your home, and use your nose to smell for musty smells.


#2 — EMF In Your Home

Cell towers within 1000 feet of your home can present a problem, too.

EMFs are fields around electronics. Radio-frequency fields are emitted from all wireless devices — you should limit your use of this technology. Become aware of WIFI routers, bluetooth emitters, and smart devices. Either disable their wireless functionality, or turn them off completely. This is particularly important at night, during sleep.

Ungrounded electrical wiring also presents a large risk to your health — as do grounded wiring that wasn’t installed correctly. You’ll need an EMF meter to adequately test fields in your home or work, and I highly recommend you purchase on. The Cornet d88t is the best meter without spending over a thousand dollars.

Make sure you aren’t sleeping close to EMF emitters — including electrical outlets, wireless devices, and breaker boxes.

EMF SUMMARY

Sleeping or working next to strong EMF sources may crash your blood sugar, lower melatonin, cause inflammation, and cause more metabolic stress. Put distance between EMF sources and your bed — and learn to disable wireless functionality when not in use.


#3 — Light In Your Home

The ideal living space would have lots and lots of natural sunshine pouring in all day. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to get incandescent and halogen bulbs rather than LEDs and fluorescent bulbs — which are very harmful to sleep, the brain, the eyes, and hormone balance.

The older types of lamps (incandescent & halogen) are truly full spectrum and emit lots of healing, soothing infrared light. The newer bulbs do not.

Remember to make your home dim before bedtime. Bright light in the eyes directly inhibits deep restorative sleep.

LIGHT SUMMARY:

The light in your buildings can promote health, or harm it. Take steps to ADD to your health via your indoor light sources.


SUMMARY:

Sick buildings make people less healthy. Become educated about buildings and their health. Sleep, thyroid, gut health, blood sugar, and more are affected by building health.


READ MORE


8

Gut Health

Is Now A Good Time To Improve Gut Health?

In the worst cases, gut health can be tricky and addressing it can be uncomfortable.

But for most people, improving gut health can be as simple as take 1-3 proven supplements, cleaning up your diet, and improving the circadian rhythm!

What’s Happening In The Gut

When the symbiotic relationship in our gut microbiome begins to fail, it can be very, very uncomfortable. These are living organisms living inside us, digesting our food, and affecting our tissues, nervous system, hormones, and even emotions.

Improving the health of your gut is incredibly important for long-term health.


SUMMARY:

Don’t wait to address your gut health. You can 1) incorporate gut supplements, 2) improve your diet, or 3) focus on elements that indirectly improve gut health (light, sleep, movement, environment).


Read More

9

Daily Infrared

Infrared is one of the most healing practices we’ve found in health science.

Infrared stimulates, soothes and protects every cell and function in the body.

Digestion, sleep, energy, metabolism, mood, wound healing and more are improved by infrared light.

If you haven’t experienced just how incredible infrared light can be, I urge you to find out soon. Make it one of the first steps you take.


SUMMARY:

There are few things as important for recovering health as daily infrared light exposure.


We feel most infrared wavelengths as heat.

Learn more about the best sources of infrared light — in the Light section.


10

Discussion

Endless Paths To Follow

In your health journey, there are so many different directions you could go.

It’s possible some ideas will bring you progress and relief. Unfortunately, it’s also possible some will be a waste of time — or worse — cloud the picture with incomplete ideas that will be hard to let go of.

Ultimately, what matters is what works in the long run. To find that path, it helps to know what helps most people and, ultimately, what works for you.

These 9 Concepts Are Compatible With Any Approach

The 9 Concepts will fit with nearly any health approach.

Make these nine steps the foundation of your sustained improvement.

To ignore these critical steps could hold back your recovery. So many folks don’t know about these truly foundational concepts — and continue to wonder why their sleep, digestion, mental health, and energy levels aren’t improving.

Finally, these steps can certainly kick start your progress, pushing you further along your path than you’d achieve without them.