HELP! I CAN’T SLEEP (Part 3)
This is a guest post from my dear IG friend, Nancy Webster, mom to 8 and grandma to 3.5 so far, who has been homeschooling herself since high school about all things alternative health-related. Now, at age 60, she’s studying for official certification in functional health so she can help more people with the years she has left on earth.
Part 3 of this post digs into what often turns out to be the root cause of most insomnia sufferers. Please also read Part 1 & Part 2.
Often, our sleep problems trace back to those temperamental little glands which work in tandem to keep us balanced and, among many other functions, sleeping well: our adrenal glands (they look like kidney beans and one sits above each of our kidneys) and our thyroid gland (this looks like a butterfly and sits in our neck, at our throat).
Stressed Out Glands
Adrenal glands produce our stress hormone (cortisol), the one that helps us run fast from danger and even to cope well with a hard day. When they get called on too much (due to a trauma, long-term stress, a junky diet), they get their timing all confused and will start releasing that stress hormone at the wrong times – like during the night when your bed feels like a jail cell bed. Your mind starts racing with anxious or even creative thoughts and relaxing is impossible.
There are specific herbs (like ashwaganda, rhodiola, grains of paradise) which boost adrenal health. Lots of sleep (ha!) and rest from stress is needed for adrenal healing, too.
The thyroid, cohort to the adrenals, can also be over or under-functioning, adding to your anxiety, sometimes joint pain, temperature extremes (especially when “The Change” is long past), headaches and more.
A little secret that often helps in cases of low adrenal/thyroid function is to keep on the nightstand a little easy-to-reach-into container of a 1 part Himalayan pink (mineral-rich) salt: 2 parts cane or coconut sugar. When you wake during the night and your thoughts start racing, put just a pinch of this mixture under your tongue, letting it slowly dissolve. The salt will feed your adrenals and the sugar will bring back up your crashed blood sugar.
Ultimately, low thyroid function (& pretty much ALL other health problems) is related to candida yeast overgrowth. We only need a tiny bit of candida yeast in our gut to help us decompose when our time comes. However, candida is an opportunistic fungus. When we’ve eaten junky, taken antibiotics and other medicines, been stressed, etc., it will overgrow, actually eat holes inside our digestive track, get in our bloodstream, and go settle wherever it’s most comfy in our body, often in places we may be genetically weak.
So along with learning about hydrochloric acid (which kills candida in your gut before it can set up shop elsewhere in your body), learn about natural anti-fungals. There is natural thyroid help, too, so, in conjunction with a health professional, consider trying it before jumping on prescription thyroid meds. I highly recommend a quality probiotic in most cases, too.
Remember: your gut health impacts your hormone and digestive health and therefore your sleep!
One more note… Scientists have noted that, as we age, the receptors in our body that help melatonin (the sleep hormone) do its magic may “calcify.” I believe that process can be slowed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but aging still happens to all of us. Try to keep your body and mind active and your life socially engaged. That will help you not “nap unawares.” I see my elderly father sitting for hours in front of boring TV shows, napping much of the time. Then, sleep at night eludes him. If you nap, try to schedule it. Keep naps less than an hour by setting your alarm.
If you’ve not gotten sleepy while reading this article, I hope you’ll follow up on the information it contains, because better sleep truly can be yours! I am happy to try to help you further via email.