Insomnia is the WORST!
Everyone knows the stress of getting enough quality sleep. We know we NEED sleep to function, but sometimes that stress alone can keep us awake for hours at night. There are so many factors that can contribute to insomnia so it is hard to pinpoint anyone *one* major cause. I want to go over some common cause of insomnia and what you can do to help yourself get the sleep you so desperately need.
Reason 1: Deficiencies and Imbalances
Here are just a few of the possible nutritional reasons why those precious zzzz’s can be alluding you:
- Magnesium Deficiency
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Copper Imbalance
- Zinc deficiency
- Low bioavailable calcium
- B complex Deficiency
The best way to determine if any of these issues are plaguing you is to test for them. You can get blood tests for Magnesium, potassium, and sodium (all RBC!), as well as zinc, copper, and ceruloplasmin. The hair tissue mineral analysis will also give you a great guideline on what is going on with your personal mineral status, which could be affecting your sleeping situation.
Reason 2: Food Sensitivities
So many people suffer from multiple food sensitivities nowadays. Nearly everyone suffers from leaky gut and mineral imbalances to some degree, so we’ve become less tolerant to certain foods. Here are the biggest offenders:
- Dairy (usually quality matters for dairy- lots of people can tolerate raw, grass-fed dairy products but not conventional)
- Oxalates (raw leafy greens are a big source)
- Artificial colors and flavors (these are linked to behavior issues in children)
- MSG ( we all know what this junk does!)
Trying to find the food item that affects you the most can take some time, but it really could help improve your sleep quality.
Reason 3: STRESS
Almost everyone is under some sort of stress. Whether it is chronic or acute, this can have a huge impact on our sleep. Stress can negatively impact our gut, out adrenals, and it can deplete us of crucial nutrients like magnesium and zinc. Here are a few ways that you can help lower your stress levels so you can get quality sleep:
- Yoga- everyone knows about yoga, but not everyone likes doing it. Yoga has been one of the most popular ways to help de-stress for a long time. Even finding a few yoga positions that help you can help immensely. I like legs-on-the-wall, child’s pose, cat-and-cow, and corpse pose
- EFT (aka Tapping)- Emotional Freedom technique is not new, but it has been garnering a lot of attention over the last few years in the natural health field. This method used meridian tapping to harness your body’s energy to heal itself
- Buteyko breathing- A friend introduced me to this method this year, and I will forever be grateful. It truly is a great way to calm yourself down before bed, or if you wake up in the middle of the night. It actually helps the healing of a lot of different ailments as well!
- Find a hobby- this is probably the simplest method to help stress, but it is the most overlooked. Find something that you love to do and try to do it daily. Reading, writing, drawing, painting, walking, bike riding, photography, anything you can think of that will get you away from the TV and off of the couch.
Reason 4: Sluggish Liver
Our livers work at night so a sluggish liver is one of the BIGGEST causes of insomnia. When our livers can’t keep up with filtering our toxins, those toxins tend to recirculate which keeps us in a constant state of feeling “blah”. This then leads to insomnia because when the liver is working its hardest, it cannot completely filter these toxins. So we end up with night sweats, racing minds, liver pain, trouble falling or staying asleep. There are many ways to improve our liver help in order to get our sleep back!
- Milk Thistle- one of the most used liver helpers
- Dandelion- you can make dandelion root tea or even eat dandelion greens
- Castor oil packs ( see my post on these here)
- Sulfur- there are sulfur supplements but foods work well too: garlic, broccoli, and eggs are decent sources
- Turmeric and ginger
- Apple Cider Vinegar (especially right before bed)
These are just some of the well-known ways to improve liver health. We have to figure out why our livers are so sluggish to begin with- reducing environmental toxins is a must, as well as balancing minerals since excess copper and iron can really be detrimental to our livers.
Reason 5: Low Blood Sugar
We need energy to sleep! Sounds strange but it is true. If we are running on empty, our bodies can’t even muster up enough energy to help us regulate our sleep. Some great ways to help our blood sugar our before bed are:
- Raw honey- honey is packed with minerals and can help supply our livers with a healthy sugar so it can have the energy to induce sleep
- A good snack: full-fat organic yogurt, an apple with nut butter, some almonds, etc
- “Sleepy Dust”- you can read about this on Butter Believer’s page
- Tart Cherry Juice- this is actually a great source of natural melatonin, but also is a sugar source. I have personally had great success with tart cherry juice to help with insomnia.
These are just some of the reasons why insomnia could be plaguing you! It is so important to get individualized testing to see what is going on in your body before trying out different supplements, especially vitamins and minerals.