Did you know that a recent study found that people who took sleeping pills regularly had an increased risk of death by 4.6x’s compared to non sleeping pill users…
You read that right… they correlated taking sleeping pills with an increased risk of death!
They also found a higher risk of various cancers in regular sleeping pill users…
For many people, sleeping pills are essential for them to sleep. What many users don't know is that there is usually a root cause of WHY they can't sleep in the first place.
Hidden Infections Alter Sleep
If you've been following me for a while, you know that I LOVE talking about gut infections! Parasites, bacteria, mold… they are so interesting to me! Understanding how these infections wreck havoc in our body is so essential to helping people find the root cause of WHY they are having symptoms in the first place.
Many people think that you MUST have gut symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, cramping, and gas if you have infections in your gut.
This is one of the biggest myths - while some people do have gut symptoms and others have symptoms that may seem totally unrelated such as insomnia, memory issues, depression, skin issues, joint pain, and inflammation.
So how do these infections affect our sleep?
It is estimated by the CDC that 50% of the US population is walking around with parasites… I think it may be higher. These little critters are notorious for altering our sleep patterns.
So how exactly do they do this? They love to use our neurotransmitters and brain chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA to survive easier.
Let's look at a few of our neurotransmitters and what they do for us…
Acetylcholine - Responsible for our rest and digest
GABA - Calming neurotransmitter
Serotonin - Happy neurotransmitter and helps with sleep
Dopamine - Motivation and reward neurotransmitters
Parasites will use acetylcholine as food and deplete our levels of acetylcholine. This turns down our immune response so our immune system won't kill them. This decrease in acetylcholine can decrease the amount of REM sleep you get.
Parasites will release a chemical to reduce GABA production because GABA can paralyze parasites. A decrease in GABA can cause anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia.
Parasites have receptors to bind our serotonin because serotonin enhances their muscle movements and allows them to eat and reproduce more. A decrease in serotonin can feel like depression and insomnia.
Parasites release a chemical to increase dopamine production. The dopamine is food and it will turn down our immune response. Dopamine is an excitatory chemical so an elevation can feel like anxiety, aggression, and insomnia.
Mold and Bacteria:
Not only do parasites affect our neurotransmitters, mold and bacteria can similarly affect them. Our body makes dopamine, our motivation and reward neurotransmitter. Our body takes excess dopamine and converts it to norepinephrine, which is our stress response and is responsible for sleep, alertness, and blood pressure.
There is an enzyme responsible for converting our dopamine to norepinephrine called DBH. Mold and certain bacteria can slow down or block this conversion. So what does this mean?
If the excess dopamine can't convert to norepinephrine, our dopamine levels increase. This feels like agitation, insomnia, and possible aggression.
If we are making less norepinephrine and our levels drop and we can feel flat, less motivated and just “bleh”.
As you can see, these bugs can be a MAJOR reason for people's sleep issues!
If you're someone who struggles with sleep, I encourage you to dig into WHY you may be having these sleep issues.