“Why Can’t I Sleep At Night?”
You don’t need to see statistics to know that insomnia is an epidemic. Based on feedback in the last 2 months, that number has increased significantly along with the amount of anxiety and depression people are experiencing with the current global environment. When people ask me about diet, exercise, and supplements for their health, I always tell them none of that does any good if you are not sleeping.
Sleep is the most important biohack that we can do for our bodies physically, mentally, and spiritually. Good sleep has been proven to improve memory, regulate cortisol and stress, improve metabolism, and improve mental function. I know personally when I don’t sleep, I’m anxious, emotional, and my family members are the ones that suffer the most.
Side Effects of Poor Sleep
One side effect of a lack of sleep is weight gain! It’s a vicious cycle where stress levels cause insomnia and the lack of sleep causes stress. That cycle wreaks havoc on all of your hormones – testosterone, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and the most important, insulin. As it affects your hormones, it affects your blood sugar without taking into account what you are eating during the day. In fact, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating, taking for supplements, or doing for exercise if you are not sleeping.
Most people suffering from insomnia end up reaching for prescription sleep aids like Ambien, Lunesta, or Xanax. The typical sleep aids are not only addictive but they don’t deliver restorative sleep; studies show, according to Dr. Chin, they only increase natural sleep by 8 minutes. Instead, they produce a type of sleep amnesia and you forget that you had a bad night of sleep.
Furthermore, some medications like Xanax that are prescribed for insomnia are only supposed to be used short term. If they are taken longer than that, they can be as addictive as opioids. Weaning off of Xanax and Ambien can take up to a year because of the severe withdrawal symptoms.
So what can we do about it? Let’s first look at the reasons you’re not sleeping.
The Top Ten Reasons You Can’t Sleep
Now more than ever we are all under extra stress due to being locked down, possibly having financial strains or health stress, and you are too stressed to sleep. When the body is stressed you increase your cortisol production which can deplete your adrenals, causing your blood sugar to spike and drop. Restless sleep is one of the Adrenal Burnout symptoms. As your body can’t stabilize blood sugar, it will wake you up.
Coffee, tea, and chocolate are all stimulants that affect everybody differently and can increase cortisol, the stress hormone which will disrupt your sleep. I would recommend cutting it out and seeing if you see an improvement or making sure that you only consume these things before 12 pm.
One sign of overtraining is if you lay down at night and you can hear your pulse rate beating, especially if you work out too close to bedtime. Exercise improves sleep, but overtraining can disrupt it. I recommend incorporating walking at night. Not only will it settle down your nervous system and help get you into parasympathetic mode, but it also will stabilize your blood sugar which is one cause of not sleeping or disrupted sleep at night.
4. Too much exposure to Wi-Fi and Technology
When your body is exposed to the frequency of Wi-Fi, also known as EMF’s or electromagnetic fields, your brain is trying to sync up with that frequency coming from your smartphone or your computer in addition to the stressful response of the blue light emitted from technology. It is not on a relaxed frequency level, especially if you’re on the computer or your electronics all day long which many of us are during this quarantine. Furthermore, the blue light effects on sleep is detrimental; it disrupts the production of melatonin, your sleep hormone. When you keep WiFi on during sleep or sleep with your cell phone next to your bed, the negative effects on sleep increase significantly.
5. Low Potassium
Insomnia is one of the side effects of low potassium. Potassium acts like a tranquilizer; it calms down the nervous system. It works in conjunction with sodium and magnesium. This can cause your pulse rate to increase at night.
One cause of low potassium is eating too many refined carbs like breads, pastas, and sugars that drain potassium out of the body. Potassium will not only lower the pulse rate, but will also help lower blood pressure. Low potassium also may lead to muscle cramps that can wake you up in the middle of the night.
6. Eating Carbs at Night
When you eat too many carbs from refined sugars at night, it raises your blood sugar and makes you feel satisfied. But then insulin is released out of the pancreas, pulls that sugar out of the blood into the cells, and stores it as fat. Two to three hours after you have eaten the carbs, your blood sugar drops too low and will wake you up in the middle of the night.
A blood sugar crash alerts the adrenals there is an emergency, so your body secretes cortisol, the stress hormone. When this happens frequently, your adrenals will become exhausted, leading to adrenal fatigue, inflammation throughout the body, and a weakened digestive system. Blood sugar instability is the number one cause of insomnia. This can also lead to binge eating at night for some, and even “sleep eating”.
Furthermore, consuming drinks or foods that are too acidic close to bedtime they can increase your pulse rate which will keep you awake. Acidic foods include sugar, alcohol, and carbs. The best foods to eat at night are low in carbohydrates and high protein and fat, like a spoonful of guacamole, a hard boiled egg, or a slice of turkey. The best thing to do is have a hot cup of relaxing tea to suppress your hunger, abstain from eating 3 hours before bedtime, and get you out of the stressed or “sympathetic” state.
7. Eating Too Much Fat Close to Bedtime
This can irritate your gallbladder and your digestion as you’re trying to go to bed. Many people on a ketogenic diet think they can eat unlimited amounts of fat, and this is not true. Regardless of what you are eating, eating too close to bedtime will result in sleep disruption.
If you are sleeping with lights on, or your room is too light at bedtime, that can keep you awake. Darkness induces the melatonin in your body to be released. Without it being dark, this mechanism doesn’t work. It is the same reason that when you wake up, you want to look at the morning sun to get that natural circadian rhythm activated and to trigger cortisol and serotonin to be released; this triggers an increase in your energy.
There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when you are bloated. There are many causes of bloat, and any of these issues can keep you up at night.
10. Your Bladder
If you are having to wake up at night to go to the bathroom it is probably due to insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant or diabetic, you tend to drink more than normal and then, of course, need to urinate during the night.
My Top 10 Ways to Improve Sleep
1. Increase Your Electrolytes
By taking Ola Loa you are taking your potassium, magnesium, and other essential electrolytes in addition to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that help balance your nutrition and lower your pulse rate so you can sleep. You can also increase your potassium and magnesium intake through green leafy vegetables and animal proteins. In addition to calming your nervous system down, magnesium helps with maintaining GABA, the neurotransmitter responsible for turning off your alertness that prevents you from falling asleep. It can also help increase the dopamine, leading to an increase in mood.
2. Follow a Ketogenic Diet
By following a low carb diet, you help stabilize your blood sugar 24 hours a day. What you eat in the morning does affect you at night. If you start your day off with Accelerated Keto pills and follow the day with low-carb and higher fat and protein foods, your blood sugar and insulin levels will stabilize, eliminating the cravings and allowing for good quality sleep. It will also help with reducing your stress, which increases Gaba in the brain and calms it down, allowing you to relax and get out of the fight or flight state that many suffer from which causes insomnia in the first place. When you eat sugar and carbs, it causes a leaky gut compromising the production of the relaxing and happy hormones in the gut including dopamine and Gaba.
3. CBD oil
CBD works on the sympathetic nervous system or the “fight or flight”, and relaxes the body’s muscles and the brain. It increases Gaba, mitigates stress and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. It has been proven to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, in addition to decreasing overall body inflammation.
4. MyVitalC ESS60
Taking ESS60 in MyVitalC (Carbon 60 that has been made specifically for human consumption) is not only one of my top ways to improve sleep, but it improves the quality of sleep, boosts the immune system, and has many anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to increase lifespan by 90 percent, and part of that is the induction of improved restorative sleep.
5. Don’t Eat Before Bedtime
Even if you are eating a ketogenic meal, eating too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep as your gallbladder might be irritated by too much fat and be difficult to digest as you were trying to lay down. As I mentioned before, eating sugars and carbs before bed is going to put your blood sugar on a roller coaster causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Limiting your eating window through Intermittent Fasting, where you squeeze your eating window into a 4-12 hour period, can help with sleep.
If you focus on your breath and slow down your breathing in and out as you are going to bed it will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system to help relax you. I recommend counting to 5 as you breathe in and another 5 as you breathe out.
7. Take a Detox Powder
Taking Accelerated Cellular Detox powder before bedtime helps soak up the toxins from the day and balances the digestive system. As it is helping with inflammation and balancing the digestive tract, it helps put you to sleep.
8. Put On a Silent Nights Sleep Patch.
Silent Nights improves quality and length of sleep without causing that groggy feeling the next day. You’ll wake up feeling well rested, more energetic and better prepared to make the most out of life. They are free of drugs, chemicals or stimulants.
9. Sleep on Your Right Side & Go to Bed by 10:30
When you have a fatty liver, and you sleep on your left side, that liver puts weight on your heart which could increase your heart rate and cause it to keep you awake. By sleeping on your right side your heart is not pressured. Furthermore, if you wait after 10:30PM it may be harder to fall asleep as your body has missed a window that is natural for the Circadian rhythm.
10. Eat Salt
Salt and sleep are related: salt is essential to stabilize blood sugar, support the adrenals, and balance your electrolytes. As I mentioned above, blood sugar, adrenals and electrolytes are all imperative factors for good sleep.