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We live in an era in which extremely high stress loads are being placed upon us simply through the course of daily living. Our lifestyle, diet and environments have been imbued with toxic influences, a high level of stressful demands, and a limited number of natural options.
Our hormonal, digestive, and nervous systems are frequently pushed to a point of critical dysfunction or failure.
For most, the impact of these daily stress loads is also affecting them at one of the most critical times of the day - when it is time to sleep!
For some background on how I came to the following conclusions, let me say that I lived with insomnia my entire life until discovering the causes and solutions to sleeping well. I dealt with difficulty getting to sleep, racing mind, frequent urination, light sleeping, and sluggish mornings even into my 40's (I'm in my 60's now) as I searched for natural answers.
As I began to understand the dynamics of sleep and how my diet, lifestyle. and environment were contributing to my quality of sleep, successful sleeping habits eventually took over.
So, this information is based largely on personal observation & research, common sense, and a vast amount of trial and error which have landed the following conclusions.
Today, even if I break some of the most basic rules outlined below (I still like to push my envelope), I am still able to obtain a sound nights rest, providing I implement most of the 6 Secrets (below) on a near daily basis. Thus, the regeneration of the ability to sleep soundly, and wake up refreshed the next morning, is certainly possible.
By the same token, if I push the envelope too far on any of the following 12 Causes, sleep quality begins to deteriorate, thus indicating to me that it is time to get back on track with my diet or lifestyle, or spend more quiet time resolving internal worry or stress (methods utilized are mentioned below).
In this article I will reveal:
6 Secrets to Sleeping Well (which begin to address the problem at the level of cause).
Fortunately, in spite of the high stress loads daily impacting our ability to sleep, solutions do exist which will counter the stress and rebuild the affected systems of the body.
Yet, for the greatest of success, personal responsibility in the areas of diet and lifestyle will have to be accepted and adjusted if one desires to obtain the most restful sleep possible.
Be prepared to discover some surprising causes of sleep difficulties that are actually built into common health food diets and "natural" recreational practices.
Also be prepared to discover how simple some of the solutions can be.
Armed with the following information you will better be able to adjust any contributing or causal factors to sleep disruption and thereby obtain deep, restful, satisfying sleep more often.
To begin with, it is important to understand that in most instances of insomnia, difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty getting back to sleep when awakened in the night, and with light sleeping, the actual cause is directly associated to hormonal imbalance connected to adrenal fatigue, pushed to an extreme level by diet, natural or allopathic treatments, or life stresses.
1) Hormonal Imbalance or Deficiency
1a) Hormonal Imbalance
1b) Primary Contributing Factors to Adrenal Exhaustion and Hormonal Imbalance:
1c) How the Body Regulates Hormones Affecting Sleep
Note: Cortisol production
3) Mineral or Electrolyte Imbalance
4) Acidic Condition in the Body
5) Kidney Dysfunction
5a) Activities Which Deplete Kidney Jing Essence
6) Spleen Dysfunction
6a) The Three Primary Factors that Cause Spleen Dysfunction
7) A Common Recreational Herb
8) Digestive Weaknesses
9) Respiratory Weaknesses and Oxygen Exchange
10) Home and Environmental Toxins
11) Life Stress and Worry
12) Full Moon
1a) Hormonal Imbalance (usually stemming from adrenal fatigue and spleen dysfunction)
When our diet, lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, or environmental elements fail to live up to the Natural Order of Life for the human being (universally speaking), disruptions of normal hormone production are not only likely - they are unavoidable.
Disruptions to optimal health, and in this case, to quality sleep, is a sign of living outside of the Natural Order. Physical health and sound, uninterrupted sleep is one sign of living closer the Natural Order of Life for the human being.
We do not lose health because we age. We age because of our diet, environmental toxicities, beliefs, and lifestyle that accumulates deteriorating conditions in the body.
Our physical experiences do mirror back to us evidence of how close we are getting to perfect alignment with Nature's intended design for the human being. Perfect health and a long life in a continuous youthful state is evidence of getting it right.
The entire endocrine (hormone producing) system is involved throughout the night in sleep related functions ranging from digestion and toxin removal, to immune system activity, to blood sugar regulation, to body repair, to producing hormones that are directly involved in the production of dreams and depth of rest.
There are four endocrine glands which are directly involved in the production or regulation of sleep hormones:
I will add two more related to sugar levels in the blood which is often a cause of difficult sleep:
The most important of these endocrine glands are the adrenals. The adrenal glands, being the most prolific hormone producers (over 50 different hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands), act as a foundation for the other hormone producing glands. When the adrenals become overworked or depleted, the entire balance of endocrine (hormone) output is disrupted.
Adrenal fatigue is the most common term for this, and it affects the entire endocrine system.
Every organ and gland of the body is intertwined in a complex web of chemical interactions designed to maintain normal body functions throughout both day and night.
Endocrine hormones are constantly about the business of regulating thousands of chemical processes in the body in an effort to maintain homeostasis (balance).
Two hormones are most directly related to sleep: melatonin, naturally produced by your pineal gland (no need for the supplement), and cortisol naturally produced by your adrenal cortex – while many others are indirectly supportive of either energy throughout the day or restful sleep at night.
However, it must be noted here, that a stressor which impacts the production of one hormone (say, cortisol), will also affect, to some degree, all hormones produced by the same gland, and indirectly, other glands. The adrenal glands manufacture 50+ hormones which help regulate a number of vital functions in the body like heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, stress response, inflammation response, allergic response, etc.
Due to the interdependence of organs and glands, the effect of just one stressor, say sugar, as an example, can directly impact both insulin and adrenaline (sugar regulators) and thereby indirectly disrupt hormonal output and chemical stasis in literally hundreds of ways.
Add a second stressor, say coffee with its over-stimulation of the nervous system, and the disruptive side effects are multiplied.
Add a third stressor, say Hormone Replacement Therapy, and the hormonal imbalances compound even further.
Such compounding of disruptive effects on the body, even if enacted only in the early morning, can linger in extreme cases, from early morning to midnight, or even later, causing a series of disruptions to normal sleep cycles.
1. Concentrated sweeteners (even the organic ones, like the stevia drops or white powder concentrate, maple syrup, raw sugar, etc.)
2. Caffeinated beverages (coffee, energy drinks, green & black teas, etc.)
3. Hormone Replacement Therapy (both artificial and natural), birth control, glandulars, bioidenticals, and patches (which result in hormone excesses, a strain on the liver responsible for breaking down hormone excesses, followed by an atrophy of the hormone producing glands due to under use).
4. Recreational herbs (exhausts the kidney jing leading to adrenal exhaustion)
5. Life stress (stimulates a continual production of the fight or flight hormone cortisol, depleting mineral reserves and hormonal production powers)
6. Medical & environmental toxicities
7. Antibiotics and the resultant yeast overgrowth (the body's natural biome plays a role in hormone synthesis related to fat storage, immune powers, and digestion, the absence of which (coupled with hormone-disrupting fungal excess) adds burdens to the adrenals having to cope with the added broad spectrum biological imbalance caused by antibiotics)
8. Grain cereals, breads & starches when combined with fats/oils (which raise blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance followed by fungal overgrowth and digestive problems)
"Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates sleepiness. It is made in the brain, where tryptophan is converted into serotonin and then into melatonin, which is released at night by the pineal gland to induce and maintain sleep."
"Cortisol is produced by the... outer adrenal cortex. This release is controlled by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain... The primary control of cortisol is the pituitary gland peptide, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)... ACTH is in turn controlled by the hypothalamic peptide corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), which is under nervous control." Wikipedia
Notice the interrelationship between several endocrine glands and the nervous system in the regulation of sleep: pineal gland, adrenal cortex, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and the nervous system.
Note: Cortisol production (used by the body to wake us up and during fight-or-flight responses) is under the control of the nervous system.
Stimulants that overexcite the nervous system cause an overuse of cortisol, thus exhausting the adrenal cortex that makes cortisol for the body. Here is the good and the bad in reference to cortisol stimulation:
Cortisol is used to:
Now you can see where the dangers lie when the use of nervous system stimulants (like caffeine) are a regular part of the daily diet.
This chain of endocrine gland activity references just a few of the body systems that combine their functions in order to insure a good night's rest (immune, digestive, splenic, and respiratory systems are a few more).
Any one of the above mentioned stressors on our hormonal system can affect the entire chain reaction of sleep related events resulting in a disturbance to our sleep patterns.
Sleep is normally a time of rest and rebuilding (partly because we are fasting while sleeping, therefore not directly contributing to further disruption of body functions), yet there are numerous daytime activities (like the several mentioned above) that can initiate a cascading series of hormonal irregularities, the effects of which often then linger long into the night.
Here is another daytime activity that affects our nighttime sleep patterns:
Sufficient hydration is essential to good sleep. The body requires a high amount of water to perform its necessary functions of detoxification, cellular rejuvenation, and nutrient/mineral/chemical redistributions, all of which are primary nighttime functions.
The best time to hydrate the body is first thing in the morning, and surprisingly, just before bed. I know there are many who would argue that the more they drink, the more often they pee, and drinking water just before bed would mean numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
I understand completely, having been there at one time myself (at one point I was getting up 4 or 5 times a night). Yet, through numerous experiments I began to see a surprising correlation between a solid 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and a combination of essential factors which made this possible.
One of the most important factors implicated in causing insomnia is dehydration that leads to frequent urination. Proper hydration leads to normal urination and the ability to sleep through the night uninterrupted.
Water dilutes and flushes toxins out of the body. A dehydrated body concentrates toxins in the urine, thus prompting the need for frequent elimination of the toxins due to the harmful effect of their toxic concentration in the kidneys and bladder.
As surprising as it may sound to drink fluids to reduce getting up in the night, there is at least one condition to the procedure of hydrating the body which seems to be an essential component in order to insure greater success.
Large amounts of water alone has never been the answer for me. But mineralized water, on the other hand, produces remarkable results – providing those minerals are derived from whole earthen sources containing 70+ minerals in a naturally-occurring balance, thus the reason our program focuses on full-spectrum mineral sources like Sacred Clay, Ancient Mineral Blend, or Mineral Manna.
This leads us to the third cause of sleep difficulties:
The kidneys, possibly more so than other organs, are extremely dependent on a delicate balance of electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals with available charges to them (meaning ‘available ions’). Ions determine the acidity or alkalinity of various body functions like the blood, the cells, the stomach, the intestines and digestive juices, the kidneys, etc.
Ions (via ionic exchange capability) are also essential to the processes of detoxification, the cell’s ability to assimilate minerals & nutrients, blood pressure, and bladder control.
Certain minerals are recognized as the most abundant forms of electrolytes; these are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), chloride (Cl−), hydrogen phosphate (HPO42−), and hydrogen carbonate (HCO3−).
Electrolyte balance in the body is one of the secrets to kidney health. As the kidneys build in strength, normal urinary function is restored. Getting up in the middle of the night becomes a less and less frequent event.
Consuming earthen mineral sources (containing mineral ratios balanced by Nature, not a laboratory) during the day (and again just before bed) is one of the secrets to balancing electrolytes in the kidneys, and thus reducing the need to get up in the night.
As my adrenals rebuilt and my diet improved, there were times when I have been able to consume a full quart of clay water just before bed and not have to get up once in the middle of the night. Getting to this place requires disciple in the diet and a replacement of caffeinated beverages with adaptogenic herbal tonics, along with an improvement in body pH to its normal level of around 7.4.
An acid condition in the body has numerous side effects which lessen one’s quality of sleep, compounded by the ways already mentioned. The following is a review and summary of additional effects that body acidity has as it relates to sleep quality:
1. Acidity increases body tension making relaxation for sleep more difficult.
2. Acidity thickens the blood, thereby reducing the blood’s oxygen exchange capability, taxing the breathing processes throughout the night.
3. Acidity strains the blood-cleansing functions of the kidneys resulting in greater buildup of toxins, a weakening of the kidneys from the strain, and lowered bladder control (frequent urination)
4. Acidity in the bowels reduces the effectiveness of digestive enzyme activity and the survivability of probiotics for the proper digestion of food. As many know, indigestion can lead to sleep disruptions.
5. Acidity in the body results in the depletion of bone & tooth density, deterioration of tooth enamel, loss of cartilage, and the loss of the lubricating synovial fluids in the joints.
The most effective alkalizing influence I have ever come across is not baking soda (which actually disrupts normal stomach digestive processes that require acidity to be effective), but seaweeds and mineral-dense ocean or land plants. I call these “real food” in contrast to the traditional bulky foods we are known to eat whose nutrient profiles have been seriously diminished over the decades due to today's commercial (and even organic) growing practices. More on this later in the article.
Keeping the body in a slightly alkaline (~7.4 pH) state is a significant key toward reducing the need to get up in the night and in obtaining a quality deep sleep. Yet even with a proper pH, the general strength of the kidneys (and the energetic properties behind them) following years of life stress play a significant role in sleep patterns.
Electrolyte balance alone, while being an essential step in the right direction, is not enough to restore total kidney health and subsequent bladder control. Nature has provided certain herbs which build health in the kidneys (along with other endocrine glands required to support the kidneys).
There are certain herbs which support kidney strength most effectively. Their action is one which builds the kidney jing essence (a subtle energy more foundational than the chi) that is stored by the body in the kidneys.
Practicers of qigong know about this and spend a great deal of time building kidney jing essence, recognizing it to be foundational to physical strength and overall health.
In addition to qigong, specific herbs are commonly employed to support the jing essence and overall health of the endocrine system. One classification of herbs that do so are referred to as “adaptogens” whose primary function is to promote balanced hormone production, whether too high or too low. More will be said on the subject of adaptogens later in this article.
5a) Activities Which Deplete Kidney Jing Essence
For now, it is important to mention just a few of the most common activities which deplete kidney jing essence, weaken kidney function, and diminish bladder control:
1. Concentrated sweeteners tax the hormonal system, acidify the body, and are probably the second (the first being caffeine) most common contributors to insomnia.
2. The combination of starches, grains, sugars, or fruits with fats, proteins, or oils) raise blood sugar levels, and promote yeast overgrowth and body acidity.
3. Recreational herbs have the strongest kidney jing-depleting action (even stronger than sugar), resulting in underlying insomnia, in spite of its use to aid getting to sleep in some instances. More on this below.
4. An acid condition in the body (which thickens the blood and strains the kidneys).
5. Coffee is a prime contributor due to its acidifying nature, dehydrating influence, diuretic property, nervous system depletion effect, and the prolonged raising of cortisol levels (for as much as 12 hours),
6. Black & green teas are also prime contributors due to their strong diuretic action and the raising of cortisol levels. The camellia leaf teas make you pee more often than even coffee.
Black & green teas (hot or iced) are also more complicit in causing insomnia than coffee, not only because of their stronger diuretic action (thereby weakening kidney function), but because the theobromine in teas (a form of caffeine) seems to stimulate the brain for a longer period of time than does coffee, easily extending into the night.
Tannins in the black & green teas, while beneficial for reducing pathogens in the short term, with long term use, can destroy friendly bacteria in the stomach and intestines.
Green & black teas also contribute to acidifying the body. Excessive tannins coupled with an acid condition in the intestines can result in the loss of probiotics (which thrive in a slightly alkaline intestinal environment). Canker sores in the mouth, and tooth infections are often early signs of reduced friendly flora in the gut.
7. Colas, including the "natural" ones, due to their high sugar content, dehydrating effects, and acidifying effects overwork the kidneys.
Most commercial sodas contain phosphoric acid which is used to carbonate the soda, further straining kidney function in an effort to reverse its acidity.
8. Chemical & radiation pollution from the environment and from medical treatment are partially filtered out by the kidneys resulting in additional stress that reduces kidney jing essence.
9. The Kidney & Adrenal Builder formula was designed to include herbs from several healing arts around the world that build kidney jing essence.
The adrenal glands sit directly on top of the kidneys and thereby work together with the kidneys on numerous functions related to maintaining hormonal homeostasis. A stress on one has an indirect effect on the other. So paying close attention to building, rather than depleting, kidney & adrenal strength is primary to improving your ability to sleep soundly through the night.
Once your kidneys & adrenals have strengthened sufficiently, your electrolytes and pH have been restored to balance, diuretic beverages are minimized, and your body is fully hydrated, you will also be able to consume a full quart of mineral-rich water before bed and not have to get up even once in the middle of the night!
The spleen influences or controls numerous functions for the body, among which are several that indirectly influence the quality of our sleep. Here is a short list:
1. Assists in the digestion of mucus-forming foods, thereby reducing swollen or drippy sinuses and lung congestion, thereby improving oxygen exchange and nighttime breathing. Coughing, hacking, and congested sinuses in the mornings are signs of digestive weaknesses caused by a dysfunctional spleen.
2. Snoring and breathing difficulties at night are largely caused by a weakened, overburdened spleen and a diet high in dairy, fats, oils (especially when combined with sugars, fruits, and starches).
The Spleen Builder herbal formula was designed to strengthen spleen functions, thereby facilitating the digestion of fats, oils, cheese, eggs, milk products, nuts, meats, etc. and counter the effects of concentrated sugars, stimulants, alcohol, and/or excessive fruits.
3. A functioning spleen improves the reduction of congesting oils and fats in the body by supplying the liver with bilirubin, a component of bile fluids responsible for the emulsification (digestion) of fats in the small intestines.
4. The spleen counters light-headedness and spaciness by promoting a feeling of groundedness and mental focus (excessive grains, sweets, fruits, alcohol, and stimulants lead to spaciness and loss of concentration).
5. Improves the assimilation of all types of nutrients throughout the body, especially fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, & K.
6. A working spleen counters anxiety, melancholy, loss of ambition, and low energy by improving a person's drive, fortitude, groundedness, mental focus, and physical stamina.
7. An compromised spleen is the primary organ behind the chronic fatigue and anxiety that is so common today.
6a) The Three Primary Factors that Cause Spleen Dysfunction
Given the importance of the spleen’s contribution to physical health and sleep quality, it will be helpful to understand the three primary factors that cause spleen dysfunction:
1. Concentrated sweeteners including fruit juices and “natural” granulated or liquid sweeteners. Licorice root powder, green stevia leaf powder, and yacon root powder are not concentrated, therefore are safe in moderation. Raw honey is high enough in the sugars to act like a concentrate and must be taken away from oils and fats, and only used in moderation.
Excessive amounts of fruit and the consumption of the super sweet fruits like bananas, pears, seedless grapes, etc. also disrupt spleen function when consumed in abundance.
2. Stimulants including coffee, green tea, black tea, puerh, matcha, guarana, yerba mate’, and guayusa will push the spleen out of balance. Daily use of these stimulants cause spleen weaknesses to magnify, ultimately leading to chronic fatigue and immune system suppression.
3. Alcohol including the sugar/honey-based fermented beverages – kombucha, honey mead, and jun (which contain all three of these compromising factors). The simple solution for alcoholism is to rebuild the spleen.
Here are a few insights in each of these three categories that influence spleen function:
Concentrated Sweeteners - like "organic" cane sugar, agave (the worst of the natural sweeteners due to its extreme concentration), artificial sweeteners ('diet' sodas & 'diet' food), xylitol, stevia extracts (the white powder & the liquid) (use only the green leaf powder of stevia), and most other granulated and liquid "natural" sweeteners (honey, while strong in the sugar department, though not manually concentrated, can be used with discretion).
A concentrated sweetener is always harmful to the body (even the "organic" ones).
Licorice root powder, Green Stevia leaf powder, and Yacon root powder are the only three safe sweeteners I am aware of (they are simply ground herbs, not extracts). Of the concentrated sweeteners, coconut nectar appears to be the least compromising to the spleen when used in moderation.
Sweets are best consumed on an empty stomach and away from oils or fats, with licorice and stevia being an exception to this rule due to the lack of glucose and sucrose in them.
All of the other sweeteners have gone though some form of concentration, and cannot be trusted to "do no harm" to your endocrine system.
Moderate amounts of raw honey separated from oils or fats (like early in the morning) and treated like a fruit (eaten alone on an empty stomach) may be helpful to overall health.
Excesses of honey have been known to cause bacterial sepsis (extreme overgrowth) (even though honey reduces bacteria in instances, the sugars in the honey will feed bacteria when taken in excess, especially when consumed with oils/fats).
Stimulants – coffee, energy drinks, black and green tea, matcha, chocolate, cacao, colas, etc., each of which, in quantity or with daily use, over-stimulate the nervous system, exhaust the adrenals, deplete the kidney jing, and weaken critical spleen functions.
Yerba mate´ is also a stimulant, yet is gentler on the nervous system than the previous mentions. On the other hand, mate´ will over-stress the spleen with regular use and is more likely to cause chronic fatigue than the other options as a result, but builds strength in other areas due to its nearly 200 phytonutrients.
Mate´ also has the known reputation of helping people get off the coffee habit immediately without headaches. SumaRaj Tea was originally designed with this purpose in mind. SumaRaj also possesses a darker, richer flavor in the direction of coffee.
Guayusa is also a stimulant, yet is similarly gentler on the nervous system, and has the advantage of not causing spleen deficiency chronic fatigue with moderate use.
Guayusa's energy is smoother than other caffeinated options, and does not make the mind spacey or detract from the ability to concentrate like the other caffeinated options do.
For hard work or exercise, mate´ and guayusa excel over the other caffeinated options in providing smooth energy workout stamina without the 2 hour energy drop.
If you are going to raise cortisol levels it is best to add a work out in order to use it up before the viruses go after it (because cortisol would build up to an excess while sitting at a desk, thus trigger viral development).
Mate´, puerh, and guayusa will typically not keep you up at night, in contrast to the other caffeinated options.
In all instances above, however, a common stress on the immune system takes place: Caffeine triggers a rise in cortisol levels placing the body in an artificial state of fight-or-flight. In this state the immune system is dampened to conserve energy for responding to the artificially induced "stress".
While under the influence of a caffeinated stimulant and immune suppression, viral activity increases. Viruses, particularly the Epstein-Barr, herpes, and shingles strains, consume the under-utilized cortisol excesses.
Subsequently, with caffeine excesses other body systems begin to break down. This often includes the digestive system, the nervous system, the kidneys, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the circadian rhythm (daily sleep/awake pattern).
Alcohol – Often people may drink alcohol to help them get to sleep (alcohol is initially a sedative). However, it can also lead to disrupted sleep, as alcohol can have a rebound effect later in the night, which means, as its effects wear off in the middle of the night, the original insomnia returns worse than before. Alcohol also reduces REM sleep, so the quality of rest diminishes with its use.
One Unified Drawback to Sweets, Stimulants, and Alcohol – There is a unified drawback to all three categories above and their options: they all suppress spleen function. The spleen, thymus, and lymph glands are responsible for manufacturing antibodies, whose job it is to target and eliminate pathogens of all kinds.
So, despite some of their nutritional benefits, immune suppression is the natural result of the long-term use of each of the three categories above.
Secondarily, concentrated sweeteners, stimulants, and alcohol, while frequently sought to relieve the symptoms of hormonal exhaustion and stress, are not corrective of the original cause of the problem. All too often they are the primary cause of the problem – and they are not alone.
In addition to the above habit-forming food and drink there is one seemingly natural herb that has done more to diminish the quality of sleep than any other.
Recreational herbs (there are several, but cannabis obviously stands out) are, for many, a primary influencing cause of insomnia. Even though already mentioned above, due to their central role in causing insomnia, they deserve their own place in the list of causes.
All stimulating herbs, chemicals, and beverages add stresses to the body that are not normal. The more concentrated the active ingredients, the more harm that is done to the hormonal system of the body. Used repeatedly these stresses can wear down the endocrine system they rely on to provide their high.
For our purposes here, I will concentrate only on the most popular.
In spite of scientific studies to support the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, the fact remains that the dried and heated forms of the seed and oil drain the jing essence from the kidneys in order to create what some believe to be pleasant, or inspiring or, therapeutic effects (a relative perception, given the vast number of superior herbal and clay resources (mostly nutritives) which have zero long term side-effects and much more pleasant long term mental/creative effects).
The leaves alone, without the bud, on the other hand, build vitality in the body and may well prove to be the antidote for the detrimental effects of the seed and oil.
The plant has its place in herbal medicine, just not in the most popular way in which it is being grown and used today.
While some will use this herb to get to sleep, the loss of kidney jing from its use will merely worsen adrenal exhaustion, the main cause of insomnia, leading to:
greater dependence on the herb for sleep with regular use
low blood sugar (therefore munchies - with the typical food choices under this compulsion further disrupting digestive and hormonal balance)
a lower immune system response (bloodshot eyes are a sign of poor health)
bipolar tendencies (common with adrenal fatigue)
a loss of drive to get things done (typical of spleen and adrenal exhaustion)
a reduction of blood flow to the brain (leading to areas of non-functional brain tissue)
and a worsening of the insomnia or progressive nocturnal behavior (inability to sleep at night, sleeping during the day)
Does it make sense to use an herb that fails to correct the original cause, and only makes the problem worse over time?
As an herbalist I appreciate all that Mother Nature has provided for us. At the same time, it is obvious that each herb requires an understanding of the herb in order to use it as Nature intended.
Concentrating psychoactive compounds in a plant through genetic modifications and unnatural growing methods is not how Nature intended it to be used.
A true medicinal herb will not deplete energy reserves while it attempts to improve health. A true medicinal herb will naturally build long term energy as it goes about the business of building long term health.
The correct herbal program will restore rapid and deep sleep naturally. Providing all influencing factors are managed properly, such a program will result in a permanent restoration of sound sleep habits.
Antibiotic use will weaken digestive processes resulting in tendencies toward yeast overgrowth, acid reflux, heartburn, belching, gas, bloated belly, fuzzy brain, and difficulty digesting proteins & dairy products. When oils, fats, and dairy become difficult to digest (common when the spleen is blown out by sweets, alcohol or stimulants) swollen sinuses can result promoting sleep apnea and snoring, further interfering with sleep (yours and others!).
Nature has provided us with bitter herbs and digestive spices to improve the effectiveness of our own body's bile & digestive enzyme production processes (thus the Digestive Bitters herbal formula).
The condition of our adrenals and spleen influence the effectiveness of our heart, our lungs, and our oxygen exchange efficiency. Diet and hydration play a major role in respiratory efficiency (thus our recommendation of 1-2 quarts of mineralized water each day).
As referred to already, the spleen is responsible for the removal of excess mucus from the body which, if not working properly, can contribute to swollen sinuses, excessive phlegm, continual clearing of the throat, congested lungs, sleep apnea and a reduction in oxygen exchange efficiency throughout the night.
Clear sinus and respiratory passageways naturally lead to improved oxygenation of the body, promoting a quality night's sleep.
Nature has provided us with specific herbs which provide nourishing influences for the adrenals and spleen, both of which produce regulatory or strengthening influences for the heart and lungs (thus the Spleen Builder, the Kidney & Adrenal Builder, and Lung Support formulas).
Radiation, heavy metals, dental fillings, mold, medical diagnostic procedures, medications, effects of surgeries, wireless technology, cell phones, smart meters, electrical wiring circling the room, night lights, etc. are common contributing factors to insomnia.
Resolving each of these issues is beyond the scope of this article, but must be addressed to achieve high quality sleep, especially if you are already ultra-sensitive to EMF's and other toxins.
Maintaining a Clean Diet and rebuilding the hormonal system, particularly the adrenal glands, will produce a direct improvement in one's ability to withstand, detoxify, or transmute home & environmental toxins.
The adrenals are one of the body's main stress responders, so when we perceive stress, cortisol levels rise. The main purpose of cortisol is to increase mental alertness and prepare the body for the flight-or-flight action, thus its activity at night results in the inability to quiet the mind for sleep.
Feelings of stress are fundamentally due to mental attachments to perceptions of limitation (provoking fear, self-pity, dismay, overwhelm, etc.).
Questioning the validity of a need or limitation in light of the True Nature of Life (in the grand Universal sense – grounded in unconditional love) is the beginning of expanding our horizons into new possibilities. (see The Gentle Art of Self-Healing articles: Emotion Packed Imagery and The Blessing Transformation for an extremely effective inner-work approach that, when understood, begins producing noticeable results in 1-2 minutes).
Geophysical stress on our ability to sleep happens every time we draw closer to a full moon. The magnetic influence of the moon produces subtle effects on our endocrine glands which can often, for those sensitive to these effects, disrupt one's ability to enter into a deep REM sleep.
It is also possible the additional amount of reflected light from the sun in the full moon is affecting the pineal gland (which is responsible for the production of melatonin at night). Sleeping in a fully darkened room may help, but there are clearly other factors at play causing emergency rooms to load up during that phase of the moon.
Increased emergency room visits are one evidence of the negative effects of the moon. Another is that the moon is known to drain energy from crystals and some sensitive EMF protection devices if left exposed to the moon at night.
Couple these observations with the curious fact that our moon is the only celestial body in our solar system that we know of that does not rotate (we always see the same side of the moon each night), and the evidence that our moon is hollow, producing a metallic reverberating ring for several hours when impacted, and that the age of our moon is much older than expected (older than the earth), lending to curiosity as to its true origin and the nature of the influences generated from the moon.
Needless to say, greater levels of insomnia are common across the earth during full moon times. From personal experience, I have found that a healthy endocrine system can offset this negative influence, as can an elevated state of consciousness, though the endocrine stressors mentioned above will still place a downward pull on one's natural ability to retain equilibrium during full moon times.
The pineal gland is able to sense the first rays of sunlight to crest the horizon in the early mornings, and in response, turn off the sleep hormone melatonin.
Normally cortisol from the adrenal cortex would kick in at that point, hastening a vibrant & vigorous awakening from sleep (something like a jet engine winding up!).
Adrenal exhaustion and spleen weaknesses, especially in combination with an over-calcified pineal gland, can result in the disruption of both melatonin and cortisol, drastically affecting the ability to obtain a quality night's sleep, and, as many already know, the ability to wake up vibrant & refreshed in the morning.
Decalcification of the pineal gland can be accomplished with Ormalite (a pineal activator evidenced by the vivid dreams it can evoke) and Sacred Clay (which naturally bonds with chemicals, minerals and heavy metals largely responsible for pineal disruptions).
Fortunately, the adrenals can be nourished back to health using the entire Sleep Well Program, thereby reducing the moon's detrimental effect on our hormonal systems.
So. all is not lost, but the details outlined above and below will certainly need to be addressed in order to obtain a quality night's rest under these influences. (To grasp the magnitude of the moon's effect on the human hormonal system and other areas of life read this scientifically-based article: Earth's Moon and Human Evolution by Dr. N Huntley, Ph.D.)
While the above list may appear daunting to some (especially those of us who have lifelong habits in some of these areas, like I did), there is still hope for the recovery of deep, restful sleep.
I know this, because at one point, if I drank green or black tea in the morning I would commonly be awake until 1-2 AM in the morning.
Today I can consume coffee, green tea, black tea, and yerba mate' just before bed and still get to sleep just fine (although the typical diuretic effect of these herbs will get me up once in the middle of the night).
Yet, this success after 30+ years of caffeinated stress on the body is due to the fact that I spent the last several years building my endocrine strength back with clay and herbal nutrition, and by gradually refining my diet.
Of course, a regimen of any of these compromises over time, even if one is building up the body's endocrine reserves, will take its toll, and must be corrected for maximum results.
I may be more tolerant and more aware now of the effects of certain food & beverages, but I still feel the effects of any compromise, just not as strongly or as quickly as it used to affect me.
From decades of personal trial and error, research and common sense, the following 6 Secrets to Sleeping Well have proven over and over again to improve depth & richness of sleep night after night:
In addition to making common sense improvements in each of the causal areas mentioned above, the following 6 Secrets to Sleeping Well are recommended to accelerate the achievement of quality sleep.
Here is a brief summary of the 6 Secrets. Further details and a PDF download of the recommended program itself can be downloaded here: The Sleep Well System Guide.
1) Hydrate the Body with Earthen Minerals Beginning in the Early Morning
Adding Lemon or lime is also optional, providing additional electrolytes and ligands (citric acids) that support the delivery of minerals to the cells of the body.
Consume as much of this quart as feels comfortable first thing in the morning 20-30 minutes or more before breakfast & other morning beverages. This provides an effective hydration and mineralization of the body.
For Those Sensitive to Salt
If you are salt-sensitive, here is an optional recipe:
To 1 quart of water add 1/2 tablespoon of Ancient Mineral Blend and 1/2 tablespoon of Sacred Clay or AquiTerra or blend the two in any desired ratio).
Keep in mind, AquiTerra slows the bowels, Ancient Mineral Blend accelerates the bowels.
1 tiny scooper (1/32 tsp.) of Ormalite is optional for added stress relief and sense of well being (opens the heart).
Whether you use Mineral Manna or make your own mineral blend, with the minerals that settle to the bottom, add another quart of water to be consumed throughout the day (at least 20 minutes prior to a meal), leaving some for just before bed (see below).
2) Alkalize the Body with Green Superfoods from the Earth & Sea
Utilize the nourishing and alkalizing properties of Earth & Sea Greens with SBO's or the Vital Cleanse & Nutrify to maintain body alkalinity and full spectrum "real food" vitamin, mineral & phytonutrient nourishment.
Both superfood formulas are made with whole earthen resources (herbs, spices, sea vegetables, etc.) We do not water down the nutritional value of the formula with vegetable powders (which are better consumed fresh).
Herbs & sea vegetables are more dense in nutritional value than vegetables tablespoon for tablespoon.
3) Build the Body's Natural Hormone Production Capacity During the Day
Several formulas contain adaptogenic herbs useful for the strengthening of the entire hormonal system of the body. Utilize the ones that apply most closely to your unique needs.
Taking adaptogenic formulas during the day results in a more rapid restoration of hormonal production while enhancing energy levels.
This is an essential component for normal sleep patterns to return as the norm. They each contain adaptogenic herbs and nourish the hormonal system in their areas of specialty, thus restoring their normal production powers.
Select the endocrine support formulas that you are most drawn to, insuring that Kidney & Adrenal Builder is included in your selection (as this formula taken during the day, and 1-2 caps before bed, does the most to turn off cortisol at night):
BloodSugar Balance (designed for the pancreas)
Adaptogen & Mushroom Blend
Energy & Brain Power
4) Cleanse Toxins From the Body Internally & Externally
Reduce offending substances in the body that are disrupting hormone balance, digestive functions, liver & kidney health, etc.
Take regular clay baths with either Sacred Clay alone or in combination with Black Beauty to increase electrolytes essential to rapid detoxification (electrolytes bond with the toxins and draw them out of the body).
Take a clay bath as often as possible, even everyday if practical in the schedule.
Toxins are being taken in daily and need to be drawn out safely and gently on a daily basis. Clay baths are an excellent way to accomplish this important task, alleviating the strain on your liver and kidneys.
A more accelerated cleanse may involve careful attention to food combining practices, a more limited diet, or a superfood fast on Earth & Sea Greens or Vital Cleanse & Nutrify, Mineral Manna, and Digestive Bitters.
5) Build the Body's Natural Digestive Capacity
Bitter herbs stimulate the production of bile from the liver. Bile is essential for the digestion of oils & fats, proper laxative effects, and purifying the blood of toxins, pathogens & excess cholesterol.
Digestive Bitters also contains digestive spices which nourish the pancreas, stomach, liver, and intestines enhancing their ability to manufacture a full complement of digestive enzymes.
For those looking for a good natural Vitamin C source, Herbal C contains whole herbs and fruits with the highest known content of Vitamin C. Herbal C also provides additional digestive powers for the body along with immune system support and increased detoxification powers.
Soil Based Organisms are Nature's way of replenishing probiotic populations in the intestines. Friendly Flora with its pro & prebiotic earthen sources is an effective way to repopulate the gut with the 4.5 lbs. of probiotics required for optimal digestion.
6) Consume a Mineral Drink Before Bed & Again if Waking in the Night
Minerals feed the hormonal system thereby improving the quality of sleep.
Certain herbs help correct the 12 Causes of Sleep Disorders above, further deepening REM sleep and body repair.
Just before bed consume a portion of what remains of your second quart of clay mineral water. It can be used to take the below nighttime support aides with, if desired.
The mineral drink, as described above, will have the remainder of Mineral Manna or 1/2 tablespoon of Ancient Mineral Blend and 1/2 tablespoon of Sacred Clay and/or AquiTerra, along with the tiny scooper of Ormalite for improved pineal action, more vivid dreams, and a greater sense of well being (opens the heart).
Lemon or lime and a pinch of salt in this quart is also optional, providing additional electrolytes and ligands for improved assimilation.
After your before-bed serving (of 2-4 oz), save some of the same mixture and place it in the bathroom or next to the bed, ready to consume a swig or two if awoken in the middle of the night. This provides the endocrine system another quick infusion of minerals for proper hormone production and thereby helps you go back to sleep easily.
Additional helpful nighttime herbal support aides include:
Earth & Sea Greens with SBO's or the Vital Cleanse & Nutrify -1 tablespoon of either before bed feeds the adrenals and pineal gland, thus the kind of hormone stability that improves getting to sleep and deepening the quality of sleep. The numerous phytonutrients in these formulas provide building blocks for body repair.
Day Calm & Deep Sleep - 2-4 caps (assists in deepening sleep and returning to sleep if awakened)
Blood Sugar Balance - 2-4 caps (helps reduce sugar levels - high sugar levels are a common cause of light sleeping)
Kidney & Adrenal Builder - 1-2 caps (helps to turn off the adrenal production of cortisol)
Spleen Builder - 2-4 caps (helps improve air passage, reduce snoring, and reduce morning phlegm)
Immune Power - 2-4 caps (enhances immune system activity throughout the night)
Download the Sleep Well System Guide by clicking the link below:
The Sleep Well System Guide – A PDF document which provides specific morning, midday and nighttime recommendations and amounts.
Many blessings of health & success.
Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!
Let the Natural Balance of Whole Earthen Resources Do the Work For You!
How to achieve mineral balance and the best sources to draw from to ensure ideal mineral ratios in the body overall