Are you wondering yet how much more I can talk about sleep. Well, for those of you that know me, and I know a couple of you do, I can talk quite a bit about certain subjects. Health, being healthy, lifestyle improvements, etc. are definitely on my list of rambling subjects. And I’m going to ramble on a little more about sleep and sleep quality so keep reading.
In the earlier blogs on sleep, which you can find here, here, and here, I have talked a lot about melatonin but what is it? Melatonin is a hormone that helps you control the circadian rhythms in your body. Essentially it helps you control your sleep and your wake cycles. Production of melatonin is made by the pineal gland and starts about mid- to late evening. Of course, around sunset to help your body prepare for sleeping. And as the sun begins its rising cycle, the light in the morning signals the slowing down and ceasing production of melatonin so you can wake up and get your day started.
Amazing isn’t it. Well, melatonin as I have mentioned in previous blogs, is made in your gut. And guess what, if 85% of Western society is struggling with leaky gut, that means only about 15% of us are likely producing melatonin properly.
I have also talked about leaky gut at nauseum, but what if you are a first timer. Hmmm. So I have to, I’m sorry.
The term leaky gut is referring to the dysfunction that happens specifically in the small intestine which has two functions.
- Absorption of nutrients from our food
- Protection of the inside of the body, particularly the blood stream from toxins and foreign particles.
Once the walls of the small intestine, which are only one cell thick and is not actually a continuous lining. No, it is made up of many small cells that are packed in tight together. The space or lack of space between the cells is called a “tight-junction”. Go figure. When dysfunction sets in, these tight junctions open up and let the bad stuff in. That is the cliff notes version of leaky gut.
Dysfunction in the gut also causes other things.
- Chronic infections
- Lower stomach acid meaning you are losing help to break down your food.
- Heartburn and reflux
- Lowered production of serotonin – hello depression and anxiety
- Lowered production of guess what? – yep, Melatonin. No good sleep for you.
You might be asking right about now, why this isn’t talked about more. Well, the reality is that the medical community is about 15 years behind the functional medicine community. And there is money in the medications. Just sayin. And that is all I have to say on that. You can figure that one out.
What causes the gut to be distressed, creating gut dysfunction and leaky gut.
The reality is that many of the things that dysfunction can create, also causes gut dysfunction so you are going to see a few things on this list that I listed above.
- Chronic infections – these are parasites, bacteria, and fungus (I will have a blog on these soon)
- Inflammation – can be caused by a lot of things
- Poor food choices
- Stress – internal and external
- Chemical and environmental toxins
- Gluten – look for my video on gluten soon on my video page.
- Food sensitivities – much different than allergies
- Antibiotics – can be very good but your gut does take a toll
That is a list isn’t it. Yep. It is hard to pinpoint just one thing that contributes to the reduced melatonin production however, it is very likely one or more things from that list.
Most people can improve their sleep by just cleaning up their eating.
What little gremlins just popped into your head when you read that. Haha. It is amazing how much your body will love you for eating the right way. And what is the right way of eating? Come on all you people that follow me. That’s right. Paleo and guess what, I have written on that at nauseum too. You can find those articles here and here.
Now, if improving your eating isn’t really working, that doesn’t mean you stop eating that way. Your body will always need you to eat this way. It might be that it is going to take your body a bit longer to heal or that you might have some investigative work to do. The next place to tackle is your food sensitivities and that is where I come in. Most doctors don’t test for food sensitivities. But I can. So, keep me in mind if you need some help.
After that, if you are still struggling, it is time to dive into the hidden opportunities that you are facing. There might be something more significant going on that would require some testing and supplemental support. It is just going to take a little digging. And again, I am like Sherlock Holmes. There are always clues and with time, improvements can be made with time and consistent effort.
It always comes down to that doesn’t it. Dammit. Time and effort. You just can’t get away from it. There is no magic pill, sorry. So worth it tho.
Have a great rest of your week. Ciao.