3 reasons you can't sleep
Updated: Jun 12
“Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic,” according to the CDC.
1/3 of Americans sleep fewer than 7 hours a night. 8 out of 10 Americans say they would feel better and more prepared for their day if they just had one more hour of sleep a night, according to the Better Sleep Council.
Humans used to sleep an average of 8 ½ hours a night; now we average 7 ½ hours. This epidemic of not sleeping is fairly new in human history and it coincides with 3 things that I believe have drastically changed in our modern lives.
From a technological perspective, think of how much has changed in less than 150 years. Unbelievable! Thomas Edison didn’t invent his version of the light bulb until the late 1800’s. Before then, humans used fire and oil lamps to see once the sun set. With the light bulb, we now have the opportunity to be awake and work all hours of the day and night.
The Industrial Revolution not only added to technology but also drastically changed society’s views about sleep. The focus on productivity and efficiency and the creation of the 8 hour work day during this time led many to start thinking that sleep was a waste of time. Even Thomas Edison himself was quoted as saying, “Sleep is a criminal waste of time, inherited from our cave days.”
Now in modern times we take driving cars for granted and are quick to fly on planes all over the world, things we weren’t able to do even 100 years ago. The amazing ability to fly across time zones faster than our bodies can adjust leads to even more sleep deprivation, jet lag and stress on our bodies.
It’s only in the past few decades that newer technology like computers, tablets and smartphones enable us to be awake and keep us wired all hours of the night if we (unwisely) choose. All these amazing inventions have brought us to where we are now, with sleep deprivation as an unhealthy epidemic.
While the jury is still snoozing about EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) and sleep, I’ve worked with quite a few clients who found they were super sensitive to these fields. If you have any kind of sleeplessness, I recommend eliminating EFM’s at night. Turn your phone on airplane mode and turn off the Wifi while you’re sleeping and see if it makes a difference.
“Human beings today are making demands on their bodies and their minds that are in conflict with their biological nature.” ~from Sleep Thieves, by Stanley Coren
We live in a go-go-go society. Most of us wake up to an alarm clock and hit the ground running, getting ready for work and nudging the kids out the door for school. Then we work, eat lunch at our desks and push through tiredness with lattes and pastries. Finally we get home, make dinner, do the dishes and get ready for the next day. (I’m exhausted just thinking about this schedule!) We finally fall into bed wrecked and exhausted and wonder why we can’t sleep.
The constant stress of an ultra busy schedule results in elevated cortisol levels all day. When your have super high cortisol levels all day, you’re much more likely to have cortisol in your body at night, too. You want 0.00 cortisol at night since it’s the hormone that suppresses melatonin and wakes you up.
That’s why managing your stress during the day is critical to sleeping well at night. Taking recovery breaks from work throughout the day, doing stress-lowering activities like yoga and meditation and taking time to wind down at night will help naturally lower your cortisol levels so you can rest peacefully.
Our food system has also changed dramatically in the last century. Processed flour and sugar became readily available in the early 1900’s. These foods strip our bodies of the minerals they need to function optimally and cause inflammation.
Our bodies also have to deal with more toxins now than ever before. Cleaning chemicals, pesticides in the foods we eat and environmental toxins all add to this toxic burden. Gut infections like parasites and certain bacteria also create toxins in your body causing low-grade inflammation. It sounds kinda gross but it’s true!
What does inflammation have to do with sleep, I hear you asking. Everything, as it turns out. Cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone, comes to the rescue whenever there’s inflammation. That’s fine and dandy during the day. But if your body releases cortisol at night to deal with inflammation, it wakes you right up feeling wired and makes it tricky to go back to sleep. Sound familiar?
You can reduce inflammation by eating whole foods, using natural cleaning products and switching your body care regimen to non-toxic brands. Finding out if you have a gut infection and avoiding foods you’re sensitive to are the missing pieces to the inflammation puzzle.
Want a quick way to find out if chronic inflammation may be affecting your sleep? I made a checklist for you here.
Lucky for you, my Boss Sleep Solution program addresses all three of these slumber saboteurs. With sleep foundation recommendations to deal with technology, unique stress resilience hacks and testing for sources of inflammation, this program is the answer to every worn-out insomniac’s sweet dream.
If you have tried everything to get a good night’s rest and nothing has worked, book a call with me to learn more about why YOU aren’t sleeping and how to fix it.