“Why Can’t I Sleep At Night?”
You don’t need to see statistics to know that insomnia is an epidemic.
Over the last few years, the number of people suffering from insomnia has increased significantly along with the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression.
When people ask me about diet, exercise, and supplements for their health, I tell them none of it does any good if they are not sleeping well.
Sleep is the most important activity 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 well, I’m anxious and emotional, and my family members are the ones that suffer the most.
Side Effects of Poor Sleep
Did you know that a 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 most importantly, insulin. As it affects your hormones, it affects your blood sugar without considering what you are eating during the day. In fact, it doesn’t really matter what you’re eating, which supplements you are taking, or what you are doing for exercise if you are not sleeping.
The most common side effects from poor sleep include:
- Weight Gain
- Brain fog
- Accelerated aging
- Disrupted hormones
- Depression and anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Insulin resistance
- Low Testosterone and Growth Hormone
- Inability to lose body fat
- Increased risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Higher risks of accidents
- Lower performance at work or school
- Slowed reaction time while driving
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension
- Increased risk of obesity and diabetes
- Lowered fertility
- Weakened immune system
Side Effects of Sleep Aids
Some 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 prescription sleep aids 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 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.
Top Ten Reasons You Can’t Sleep
Now more than ever, we are all under extra stress due to isolation, new addictive behaviors, financial strains, or health stress. As a result, you could be too stressed to sleep, and without sleep, stress can increase, creating a vicious cycle. In addition to that stress, addictions to “free” and easily accessible behaviors like social media, food, pornography, gambling, and sex have lowered dopamine, which then leads to depression and increased “perceived” stress. Additionally, the level of financial stress and chronic health conditions are higher than ever before, leading to feelings of helplessness and increased stress. All of these factors compound each other and lead to even worse sleep.
When the body is stressed, cortisol production increases from the 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 wakes 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 recommend cutting these out and seeing if you see an improvement, or making sure that you only consume these stimulants before 12 pm.
One sign of overtraining is if you lay down at night and can hear your pulse rate beating, especially if you work out too close to bedtime. Exercise improves sleep, but overtraining can disrupt it. Incorporating walking at dusk will not only settle down your nervous system and help get you into parasympathetic mode, but it also will set the natural circadian rhythm, and stabilize blood sugar which is one cause of not sleeping or disrupted sleep at night.
4. Exposure to Wi-Fi and Technology
When your body is exposed to the frequency of Wi-Fi, also known as EMFs or electromagnetic fields, your brain is trying to sync up with that frequency coming from your device in addition to the stressful response of the blue light emitted from technology. It is not on a relaxed frequency level, especially if the body is exposed to these EMFs for hours during the day. Furthermore, the blue light effects on sleep are 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 bread, pasta, and sugars that drain potassium out of the body. Potassium will not only lower 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 Too Close to Bedtime
Eating too many carbs from refined sugars at night raises blood sugar and makes the body feel satisfied temporarily. 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 consuming the carbs, blood sugar drops too low and can wake the body up in the middle of the night.
A blood sugar crash alerts the adrenals there is an emergency, so the body secretes cortisol, the stress hormone. When this happens frequently, the adrenals 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, and even “sleep eating”.
Furthermore, consuming drinks or foods that are too acidic close to bedtime can increase your pulse rate which can keep you awake. Acidic foods include sugar, alcohol, and carbs. The best foods to eat at night are low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat, like a spoonful of guacamole, a hard boiled egg, or a few bites of animal protein. The best thing to do is have a hot cup of relaxing tea to suppress hunger, abstain from eating 3 hours before bedtime, and get the body out of the stressed or “sympathetic” state.
7. Eating Too Much Fat Close to Bedtime
Eating too much fat close to bedtime can irritate the gallbladder and digestion. 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 can result in sleep disruption.
Sleeping with lights on or having the room too light at bedtime can disrupt sleep. Darkness induces the melatonin in the body to be released. Without it being dark, this mechanism doesn’t work. It is the same reason that upon waking, looking at the morning sun triggers the natural circadian rhythm and triggers cortisol and serotonin to be released. As a result, energy will increase during the day and cause sleepiness at night.
There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when you are bloated or full. There are many causes of bloat, and any of these issues can cause insomnia.
10. Your Bladder
Waking up at night to go to the bathroom is probably due to insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance or diabetes tend to drink more than normal and then, of course, need to urinate during the night.
Best Ways to Improve Sleep
Increase Your Electrolytes
By taking Ola Loa, Quintessential .9, and Accelerated Ancient Salt, 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 vegetables and animal proteins. In addition to calming your nervous system down, magnesium helps with maintaining GABA, the neurotransmitter responsible for turning off the alertness that prevents you from falling asleep. It can also help increase dopamine, leading to an increase in mood.
Directions: Utilize any of the above solutions throughout the day for sufficient nutrition.
Accelerated Keto®™ helps lower insulin resistance, blood sugar, and cleanse the liver on a daily basis; all three of these factors improve sleep.
By following a low-carb diet and prioritizing wild animal protein, you help stabilize your blood sugar 24 hours a day. Furthermore, Accelerated Keto®™ gives you stable, non-jittery energy throughout the day, so you abstain from an afternoon stimulant that could be disrupting your sleep. It will also help with reducing your stress, which increases GABA in the brain and calms it down. This allows you to relax and get out of the “fight or flight” state that many suffer from. 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.
Directions: Take 3-4 Capsules in the morning on an empty stomach. Intermittent fast until you are hungry. For best results, break the fast with protein meal to increase fat burning.
LifeWave Dream Aromatherapy Mists
LifeWave Dream Aromatherapy Mists are made with proprietary energized and structured water for rapid absorption and delivery of key ingredients to induce healthy sleep. This new health technology heightens the benefits of our all-natural ingredient panel so you feel the energy when you need it most and can unwind when it’s time to relax before bedtime.
Directions: Spray 2-3 sprays on your wrists and breathe in the aroma before bed.
Taking ESS60 in MyVitalC is not only one of the 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 in a rat study, and part of that is the induction of improved restorative sleep.
Directions: Take 1-2 tsp during the day.
LifeWave Alavida Patch
The LifeWave Alavida Patch is a skin and body regenerating system that works through the elevation of the epithalamin peptide. In addition to inducing better sleep, it also increases mental clarity and focus, stimulates frontal lobe and pineal gland activation, and regulates hormones. It increases organ function, reduces oxidative stress, and increases antioxidants. It lengthens telomeres for longevity and improves soft skin.
Directions: Wear nightly, preferably on the third eye in the middle of the forehead.
LifeWave Y-age Aeon Patch
The LifeWave Aeon Patch is an anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, happy patch that takes the body from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest”. As a result, it helps induce relaxation for better sleep. Furthermore, it raises Antineoplastons (a peptide that is known to be used as an alternative to cancer treatments). It is brain-balancing and calming, reduces cortisol and c reactive proteins, and elevates Dhea. It balances our autonomic nervous system: heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and respiration.
Directions: Wear 7 days per week, day or night 2 inches below the belly button or at the base of the neck.
LifeWave X39 Patch
The LifeWave X39 Patch is a STEM CELL patch that activates our own stem cell production by elevating GHK-cu peptide for regeneration and repair. This peptide resets over 4000 genes to a younger state, helps repair collagen in all tissues, activates stem cell production, encourages apoptosis of cancer cells, and discourages metastatic cancer cells. People report improved sleep, mental clarity, pain and inflammation reduction, faster wound healing, more joy, youthful energy, soft skin, wrinkle reduction, hair growth, enhanced sports performance, faster recovery, and reversed cellular aging.
Directions: Wear during the day for 12 hours at the base of the neck.
LifeWave Silent Nights Patch
LifeWave Silent Nights Patch helps regulate sleep by inducing your body’s own melatonin production. It also helps with oxidative stress as melatonin is an antioxidant and helps prevent cancer.
Directions: Wear during the night behind the right ear or on top of the right foot.
Biooptimizers Sleep Breakthrough
BiOptimizers Sleep Breakthrough is a pre-bed drink designed to maximize sleep efficiency without melatonin. It stimulates the body’s natural melatonin production, activates the GABA neurotransmitter, quiets the “monkey brain”, maximizes deep sleep by stimulating delta, and improves deep sleep cycles. Sleep Breakthrough doesn’t cause grogginess like many other sleep supplements.
Directions: Drink 2-4 scoops in water 30 minutes before bedtime.
BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough
Magnesium is an essential mineral for the body and is used for over 600 biochemical reactions; yet 80 percent of the population is deficient. BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough helps induce sleep, reduce stress levels, improve deep sleep, boost the immune system, and help with normal heart rhythm.
Directions: Take 2-6 pills before bedtime.
Accelerated Cellular 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.
Directions: Take 1-2 tsp at night before bed in water or juice. Best to mix with a little apple cider vinegar or lemon, stevia, and water over ice.
If you are waking up at 3-4 AM in the morning, that could be your liver showing signs of being backed up. Doing a Liver Flush three to four times a year helps not only improve sleep, but also improves metabolism, increases fat burning, improves thyroid health, and improves detoxification.
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.
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.
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.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.