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Friday, October 4, 2013

Beating Insomnia

It seems like I'm seeing more and more people with insomnia these days.  Soooo, time to blog about it!

Because like everything in health and medicine these days, it seems like seemingly simple disorders (like insomnia or headache or obesity etc) are having more and more multi-factorial and complex causes......

First of all, let me say if you have insomnia I FEEL YOUR PAIN!  I know very well what it feels like to go without sleep.  And I also know very well how fantastic it feels to sleep well!  So, let's just say I have a personal interest and experience in the area of insomnia. 

There are many causes of insomnia and a person's insomnia could be due to one or many of these reasons all at once.

BRAIN WAVE BASICS

The brain puts off and is effected by electro fields.  In the study of the mind and mental states through the electroencephalogram (EEG), four different states or types of waveforms have been characterized by neurologists.  A recent study has found a new waveform:  a waveform running much faster than Beta.  Its called Gamma waveform and it is found on the EEG's of pilots as they land a plane!

Each of these waveforms has a different electrical frequency associated with it.  The term HERTZ is a unit of frequency and is defined as "cycles per second".

Gamma waves.........hyperactive..........................40+ hertz
Beta waves..............awake and alert..................13 - 40 hertz
Alpha waves............relaxed................................8 - 12 hertz
Theta waves.............near sleep, lucid dreaming....3-7 hertz
Delta waves.............sleep................................  0.5 - 2 hertz

Below is a picture of different brain waves.  See how the Beta waves are a sine wave that goes up and down many times during 1 second?  And how the Delta waves are a sine wave that goes up and down much less frequency during 1 second?






So, the question is what keeps our brains from mellowing out and going into the deep bliss of Delta waves?
Answer:  Many things. Let's discuss.

Imagine that you are in a high tower and need to get to the basement.  Many times in these tall buildings there is one elevator that will take you from the top to the middle of the building BUT NOT TO THE BASEMENT.  You have to get out of that elevator and get on another elevator to go the rest of the way to the basement.

That is how I like to think that the brain works.  We need "certain things" for our brain to calm from beta to theta.  And we need "other things" to get our brain to go even deeper into Delta.

THE EMF - INSOMNIA CONNECTION

One of the most common and most overlooked causes of brain waves being "too many hertz" to fall or stay asleep is the exposure to external electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  EMFs are given off by all electrical appliances -- and are at the rate of 60 hertz.  Read that again. 60 hertz is put off by electrical appliances and your brain would do what if it, like a tuning fork, began to resonate at 6o hertz?

Yep, if your head is next to a clock radio which I guarantee you is putting off a 60 hertz field, your brain is going to, like a tuning fork, will adapt the radio's 60 hertz.  And 60 hertz is far far away from deep sleep.

So, the very first and most important thing to do is to move all electrical appliances 8 feet away from the bed -- including what is on the other side of the wall where you head is lying.  This includes baby monitors and portable phones and cell phones! Because EMFs go right though cement and woodframe and drywall without problem.  And get that cell phone even farther away from the bed!

To be absolutely sure the EMFs are low you should test your sleeping area with a Trifield Meter.  You can rent this meter from us for $20 for several days of use.  Via using the Trifield meter, several patients have found miswiring in their homes, neutrals disconnected and/or extreme EMFs coming from nearby transformers, power lines, substations etc that was the cause of high EMFs and thus, their insomnia.

Once you are sure that the plain vanilla 60 hz waves are not a problem near your bed, now you have to worry about the recent mega increase use of cell phones and cell phone towers.  In fact, I think the cell phone towers, WiFi and cell phones by the bed are one of the reasons for increasing insomnia I am seeing in the clinic.  Cell phones operate in the 800 to 2200 MEGAhertz range.  This is a frequency that is substantially higher than the plain vanilla 60 Hertz -- and thus, it is far more disturbing to our tender neurons that need to 'relax' down to 1 Hertz or less at bedtime.  WiFi operates at 2.4 or 5.0 Ghz (billions!) of cycles per second!  And 'dirty electricity' which has exploded too in recent years is in the KHz range (thousands) of cycles per second.  Yikes!  And yes, our clinic has answers to all of these in order to address the 'root cause' of your EMF insomnia!

Believe it or not there are things to REALLY protect you from cell phone frequencies (and there are many things that claim to but in reality don't per scientific testing).

The most complicated but effective way to protect yourself is to turn your sleeping area and/or home into a Faraday cage.  A Faraday cage is an enclosure that blocks external static and non-static electric fields. You can achieve this via 1) painting your exterior/interior walls with a special "metal laced" paint; 2) lining your walls with radiant barrier foil; or 3) draping your sleeping area with a cloth that has metal embedded into it.  Keep in mind that if you use the paint or radiant barrier foil you will get little/no cell phone reception inside your home!  The least complicated way is to turn OFF your cell phone and turn OFF your WiFi at night!  But no matter, borrow our microwave meter and MEASURE your microwaves in  your sleeping area/home.  There very well may be something you are missing -- such as the patient that found it was her PRINTER that was microwaving her brain!  Or the other patient that found it was her CORDLESS PHONE that was microwaving her brain!  Or the other patient that found it was the SMART METER on the other side of her head that was microwaving her brain!!

Bottom line:  You do NOT get what you expect.  You get what you INSPECT.  MEASURE your microwaves by borrowing one of our microwave meters that reaches up into the 8.0 Ghz range (otherwise you'll miss a lot of microwave exposure!).

Yours truly, me, was able to get off my sleep aids once I discovered the EMF link to insomnia.

THE PESTICIDE INSOMNIA CONNECTION

My first major experience with insomnia started after I was unknowingly overloaded with pesticide.  Shortly after detoxing from the pesticide (a tricky and difficult thing to do I might add) I had a patient come in who was complaining of insomnia.  Like me, she had the "pesticide toxic clue" in her blood work -- which is a HDL of  >60 or a cholesterol/HDL ratio of < 2.9.

This patient claimed that she hadn't slept in 3 years.  I had a hard time believing that.  No sleep in 3 years?  Really?  She swore this was the case.  And after I got her adrenal studies back I BELIEVED HER. Because her stress hormones were so high it looked like she was living on crack cocaine!  She indeed never slept -- and she was running during the day 100% on stress hormones!

I told her she had the "pesticide toxic clue" and that could be behind her anxiety and insomnia.  She disagreed.  But when nothing else worked we explored the pesticide.  And guess what?  Her anxiety went away, her insomnia went away, her cholesterol/HDL normalized and her adrenal hormones normalized.  And that was nearly 10 years ago and she's still doing fine.  Today she WILL tell you it was indeed pesticide -- and recalls now that her problems started in an old apartment that she bug bombed a lot....

Pesticide creates insomnia via several mechanisms -- one being it raises adrenal hormones and the other being by raising glutamate in the brain.

The "root cause" cure is to rid the pesticide.  But until that brings relief, I give something to counteract the increased adrenaline and glutamate from the pesticide.  And the best stuff to do that is Sweet Relaxation and/or Kavinace.

THE EXCITOTOXIN AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

As stated above, the pesticide acts as an excitotoxin to the brain and thus, making its Hertz hyper.  But there are many other excitotoxins in our environment -- such as MSG and aspartame to name just a couple.  The bottom line is to eat a clean, unprocessed diet to avoid a near endless list of excitotoxins.  In fact, one of the excitotoxins you may be buying at the health store!  Never buy/use a mineral or vitamin c supplement that adds aspartic acid or aspartate.  For example, Emergen C uses these.  And there are many mineral supplements such as "Potassium Aspartate" or "Magnesium Aspartate" that should be avoided like the plague.  In fact, these compounds are outlawed in other countries due to their excitotoxicity to the brain.  Don't worry, I am very aware of these excitotoxic issues and never carry these products in my clinic.

THE FISH/FISH OIL AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

I'll be one of the few docs you'll hear about this from!  

First you need to understand that our brain is made out of phospholipids -- vibrating phospholipids! And the faster these phospholipids vibrate, the higher the Hertz (and the less calm and more insomnia).

The "make-up" of these phospholipids determines how quickly they will vibrate.  Some of the phospholipids are made out of stiff fatty acids.   And other fatty acids are made out of fatty acids with many double bonds and thus, they flip and flop all over the place.

When I'm trying to explain this concept to a patient I pick up a stiff pencil and shake it....thus, showing how fast a stiff pencil will vibrate in my hand.  And then I pick up a rubber band -- symbolizing a highly flexible fatty acid -- and vibrate it in my hand.

It is easy for the patient to see that the rubber band is flying all over the place.  And the pencil vibrates but much more calmly.

The "eat fish" and "take mega doses of fish oil" propaganda has hurt many a person -- as I see them all the time in the clinic.  If they aren't mercury poisoned from the fish then their membranes are too flexible due to the fish oil overdose.

Bottom-line:  When brain phospholipids are too flexible, they can't help but vibrate too fast....and if this is the insomnia case in you, fish and fish oil is especially poisonous to you.

THE GABA AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

GABA is the primary calming and inhibitory neurotransmitter that we have in the brain.  This neurotransmitter offsets or is an antagonist to the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain -- GLUTAMATE. 

This is why when you go to the typical doctor for insomnia help he/she gives you an Rx that raises GABA.

Unfortunately, these drugs are highly addictive and they do not address the root cause -- because rarely does the patient have a deficiency of GABA!!!  The real problem is the high glutamate from excitotoxins/pesticides or high EMFs etc.

This is also why I see so many people turning into alcohol abusers these days.  Between the "wine is good for you" propaganda and our insomnia epidemic, people are using glasses of wine before bed to sleep!  And yes, it works by raising GABA.  But at what cost?  Plenty!!

Yes, these addictive drugs and alcohol do work to calm the brain Hertz. But these drugs and alcohol do NOT help the body go into the deep restorative sleep -- a different "elevator" is needed to get into the deep restorative sleep.  

For these folks I use Sweet Relaxation and/or Kavinace.  Do NOT mix with a Rx sleeping aid though as they work on the same axis/path and overdose is possible.  The reason Kavinace is so special is that it is in a form that passes the blood brain barrier.

Last but not least I should stress that GABA is not GABA is not GABA.  It took me years to realize that GABA alone really doesn't work very well.  And that to work I either needed a rare form of GABA such is what is in Kavinace to pass the blood brain barrier OR mix the GABA with inositol which really seems to increase its potency.  So don't give up on GABA until you've tried these two...and remember, never mix these with the MD insomnia rx as they work on the same axis and it would result in a possible overdose.

THE MENOPAUSE/PERI-MENOPAUSE AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

There is a synergistic effect between progesterone and GABA.  Thus, if a woman already has a bad GABA/Glutamate ratio (giving her a tendency toward anxiety and/or insomnia), she might not feel that imbalance as acute insomnia until she gets into the peri-menopause era of her life. 

Again, we have to ask ourselves "Why didn't my grandmother have these insomnia issues when she went through menopause?"

And the reason is because good ol' grandmom didn't have the EMFs or excitotoxins raising our glutamate.  And the more glutamate one has, the more GABA they need to feel calm.

For these types, a dose of bioidentical oral progesterone before bed works wonders.

THE CORTISOL AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION  

Cortisol, an adrenal stress hormone, is suppose to be low at night.  But in some people it is high and makes them "ready to clean house" when they should be sound asleep.

Sometimes the cortisol goes up due to lack of adequate glucose in the blood (so the body raises cortisol to maintain glucose).  When this is the cause, a snack before bed like a few nuts or a tablespoon of almond butter will do the trick.

Other times the cortisol is high because the person simply didn't get into bed early enough and their adrenals are firing up for the next day's worth of work.

The solution for these people is to get into bed with PJ's on and teeth brushed by 9 pm.  Just sit there and read.  Do NOT use the internet or watch TV! And when you feel tired, let yourself fall asleep without a need to get up and do anything like brush your teeth or anything.

Also, for these types we give a product called Cortisol Manager -- 2 before bed.

THE PINEAL AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

As mentioned above, we need two elevators to get to bliss filled sleep.  We need one elevator to lower our brainwaves out of hyper-ville and make a feel more mellow -- such as the use of 1) grounding; 2) raising GABA 3) lowering glutamate 4) lowering adrenal stress hormones and 5) maintaining balanced neuro phospholipids.

The second elevator to get us to the basement of deep sleep involves the pineal gland.

The pineal gland is a tiny gland in the center of your head and directly midpoint between your two eyes.  In fact the pineal is called the "3rd eye" because it is loaded with "light receptors" just like your regular eyes!

So, one of the most basic yet IMPORTANT things we need is complete darkness in our room so that our pineal can release melatonin.  This is why I recommend a huge eye mask---so large it covers all avenues for the light to hit either the eyes or the pineal.  However, studies are showing that even even the use of the internet with its vibrating frequency and the light color that stimulates the pineal brings on insomnia. Thus, I tell people no internet after 7 pm!

Even if there are no lights and no internet, many people have a near impossibility producing the melatonin to take us into the deep realms of sleep.

The reason for this is that their pineal has been CALCIFIED.  The calcified pineal is so commonly seen that most doctors will say it is normal!  But there is NOTHING normal about anything in our body becoming calcified.

 Here's a picture of a commonly found CALCIFIED pineal.





So here's the problem:  We need our pineal gland to make melatonin so we can go into deep, restorative sleep.  But in order to do that, the pineal gland can't be calcified AND needs to have exposure to zero light.

The most common reason the pineal gland is calcified in people as young as in their teens is FLUORIDE as found in water, dental products and many drugs including antibiotics!   And the strongest antagonist we have to fluoride (or any toxic halogen) is IODINE/IODIDE.  So, you see, this is another important result of avoiding fluoride like the plague as well as taking your daily iodine!

However, while we are awaiting for the pineal gland to work correctly, some people need to actually take melatonin.

In my clinic I use several forms of melatonin depending on the patient's needs:

1.  Nightynite:  SUSTAINED RELEASE melatonin.  This is for people that can fall asleep ok but have trouble staying asleep.

2.  Sleepytime:  SUBLINGUAL IMMEDIATE release melatonin.  This is for people that need an immediate release of melatonin

3.  5htp-cr:  This is a controlled release form of 5HTP -- which is only one metabolic step away from serotonin (anti-depression and anti-anxiety) and then one more metabolic step away from melatonin.  By giving in the form of 5htp, I let the body decide if it wants to be made into serotonin or into melatonin.  But of course, this assumes the pineal is working to make the melatonin.  If this doesn't work, then I use any of the other forms of melatonin -- keeping in mind that melatonin is pretty much the end of the line -- it doesn't turn into anything else.  So if a person takes way too much melatonin OR sets an alarm before 8-10 hours is up, they might feel groggy getting up. 5htp has a less chance of this happening.

 4.  Homeopathic melatonin:  Most gentle from of melatonin available since in homeopathic form.

Now a few final comments on melatonin.

It is said on the internet that melatonin causes nightmares.  This is true -- if you take too little!!!  I've seen this happen several times.  Here's the reasoning:  We need that second elevator to take us deep into the basement of deep sleep so we can work out all the crazy stuff that happened to us during the day.  And we need to do this in a state of DEEP SLEEP.  If we don't take enough melatonin then we are put into a light sleep -- we are sleeping but we are half awake too and thus actually are "living the dreams" -- very much like lucid dreaming.  Solution:  Take more, preferred Nightynite which is time release, and the nightmares go away because you are making it down into the deep basement of sleep.

The other thing that can happen with melatonin is some will say that they can't take it cuz they awake groggy.  Many times this groggy feeling is NOT the melatonin's fault as much as it is the user's fault for not allowing enough time to stay asleep!  So, for example, if you've been sleep deprived, you will need approximately one month of 10-12 hours sleep per night to catch up.  Thus, you have no business going to bed late and awaking to alarm/light in the morning.  Of course you will be groggy!  In these cases I recommend the patient go to bed earlier and earlier and sleep as much as they can until 6-7 am.  In my case, I would leave the clinic at 6:30 and say "goodnight" because I knew I'd be in bed and asleep by 7:30 and I actually slept until 7 the next morning!  But after a month of this I started awakening refreshed at 4 and 5 am.  This is when I knew it was time to go to bed later.  Now I know the sweet spot for bed is between 9 and 10 (at latest) and I sleep soundly and deeply until 6-7 am.

So many people "say" that 8 hours of sleep is recommended and preferred -- when really the sweet amount for most people is 8-10 hours.

With all this said, there are some people (rare) who can't metabolize the melatonin out of their system very quickly.  And these people do best with the 5htp-cr -- timed release 5htp -- thus body will make what it wants of melatonin and keep the rest as serotonin.

THE MAGNESIUM AND/OR POTASSIUM AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

Right now we are going through another propaganda phase where taking lots of calcium pills and celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt is good for you.  No way!

Both of these elements calcium and sodium, counteract and push out our vital stores of CALMING magnesium and potassium.

In fact, I recommend patients do a lot of fresh veggie juicing, no dairy and (in most cases) have them add some potassium to their veggie drinks.  Many comment how much more relaxed they feel --- and sure enough, potassium deficiency is linked to agitation!

Cramps at night are almost a sure sign of magnesium and/or potassium deficiency going on.  So taking some of this prior to bed has helped many a person to sleep as well. 

THE TRAUMA AND/OR STRESS AND INSOMNIA CONNECTION

Sometimes people can't sleep because they have too much "stuff" on their mind.  In this case, EVOX works wonders and I commonly hear how the patient is sleeping since we've resolved their emotional issues via EVOX.

I sure hope this quick blog on insomnia help you!  I really do remember well how bad I felt without sleep!  I feel like I've had personal experience with just about every "cause" of insomnia there is.  So be a patient patient...do some experiments....and find out what works for you.

I love you all.  Stay tuned.