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. It’s spores can also be allergic and even become lodged in the mouth and nose and grow fungal colonies (possibly the gut, too). The scent of mold (actually, these are “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?

Understanding mold and EMF in the environment is an ongoing process.

Mold is becoming a modern epidemic as buildings are built with cheaper materials and tighter envelopes (less air exchange), and modern inhabitants and landlords are too busy, ignorant, or financially unable 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, let’s see if we can analyze our situation and remove the common obstacles that are capable of — on their own — causing debilitating, unrelenting insomnia, the kind that can occur despite even the best sleep hygiene habits.

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Let’s Feel Better.

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
Sleep Symptoms

Sleep

Fifty to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and people who use sleeping pills have a 35% higher chance of developing cancer.

What’s going on?

SYMPTOMS OF POOR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling Unrested
  • Fatigue
  • Poor Memory & Cognition
  • Depression
  • Emotional Dysregulation

Build a strong foundation by stacking multiple approaches together to find true, sustainable success with sleep.

SLEEP: Rating Influence

10

9

9

8

10

(if applicable)

6

SLEEP: Discussion

1

Influence on sleep:

10

Use light to reinforce your circadian rhythm — easily.

The most important step for restoring your circadian rhythm is the quality of light you see in the morning, during the day, and at night.

When light hits the retina, melatonin falls — waking you up.  The brighter — and bluer — this light, the greater the effect.

The nature of the light signals to your brain what time of day it is.

Learn about how light — on both your eyes and skin — affects your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested.

2

Influence on sleep:

9

Bad sleep very often reflects poor gut health.

Fixing the circadian rhythm improves the gut, but the opposite is true, too: Bad gut health can make sleep very, very difficult.

Get control of your digestive system — and its microbiome — to lower inflammation, absorb more nutrients, remove more toxins, and improve your immunity.

Improved hormone production will allow your body to settle into repeatable daily patterns. Digestion and sleep are both hormonal patterns that repeat each day at the same times (for ideal health, at least).

Chronic inflammation from poor digestion causes your blood sugar to fall — and this is a disaster for sleeping through the night.

Falling blood sugar will also trigger cortisol — the hormone of stress — waking you up at night or causing insomnia. Cortisol should be at its lowest during the night, only rising to wake you up for breakfast.

When the body has better gut health, immunity is higher, pathogens are less aggressive, toxicity is lower, nutrients are readily absorbed, and blood sugar is more stable.

This is the formula for great sleep: Start with improving the health of your gut.

3

Influence on sleep:

8

Is your bedroom well-suited for sleep?

A room is healthy for sleep when it has good air quality, light quality, temperature, dust, mold, noise, and EMF levels.  

A healthy person may be able to sleep “anywhere” for a while — but over time a poor sleeping environment will take its toll on anyone. 

If you’ve been struggling with sleep for some time, take stock of your current sleeping environment. This could amount to a big step forward — toward recovery.

4

Influence on sleep:

8

Popping vitamins…is the risk low?

Unwise over-supplementation commonly interferes with sleep — especially in those who need sleep the most.

On the other hand, when folks take very few supplements, nutrient deficiencies are all but guaranteed if there are any digestive issues whatsoever.

With up to 90% of Americans having both Vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies, is nutrient balance actually a big deal? Deficiencies in other nutrients are not that uncommon. Can they affect sleep? 

Absolutely.

5

Influence on sleep:

10

(if applicable)

Mold toxicity has the ability to completely destroy sleep.

Mycotoxins produced by mold are neurotoxic and often very inflammatory.

These toxins in the body contribute to rising inflammation and cortisol, falling blood sugar, and depressed thyroid function. All of these make it hard to stay asleep at night.

Mold can also wreak havoc on the gut, causing poor digestion and even acid reflux when you lay down. Restless limbs and other signs of mineral imbalance and dehydration also point to the possibility of toxicity in the body — potentially from mold exposure.

6

Influence on sleep:

6

For folks with chronic issues, too much exercise can make sleep worse.

Poor exercise recovery, unstable blood sugar, and elevated stress hormones are common symptoms for the chronically ill — and, sometimes, intense exercise can make those symptoms even worse.

Therefore, know how much exercise is right for you. For some, adapting to a gentle all-day movement lifestyle can reap rewards for sleep.

Movement gently encourages more blood flow and nutrient delivery to the tissues as well as stimulating lymph flow for detoxification and burning up excess glutamate in the body and brain.

For more healthy folks, daily exercise is a critical element of restorative sleep. It cements the circadian rhythm and enables the body to relax more deeply. It’s also great for digestion, another vital factor in great nightly rest.

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