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  • Writer's pictureMartha Lewis

Are food sensitivities causing your insomnia?

Do you know that eating foods you’re sensitive to could be causing your insomnia?

Sensitivity or allergy?

Food sensitivities and food allergies are two different things. If you’re allergic to a food, your body has an immediate reaction to it and produces IgE antibodies against that food. An example is a kid with a peanut allergy who goes into anaphylactic shock after eating peanuts.

Food sensitivities are more subtle and they can be delayed. It’s hard to tell if you’re sensitive to a food because there isn’t always an immediate reaction. Or you eat these foods all the time and so you’re used to feeling a certain way. You may not notice a difference until you take a break from eating the food for a month and then eat it again.

This happened to me with gluten. I didn’t think I had an issue with it but I stopped eating it for a month. When I reintroduced it, I felt bloated and tired and I woke up in the middle of the night. It was affecting me all along!

How food sensitivities affect sleep

Eating foods you are sensitive to causes low-grade inflammation, day and night. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone and so it comes to the rescue to deal with that inflammation. When your body releases cortisol at night to combat inflammation from these foods, it wakes you up and makes it hard to go back to sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night, eating foods you’re sensitive to could be the culprit. I see this with my clients in the DUTCH test when my clients have cortisol at bedtime or in the night.

How to find out food sensitivities

Many people are sensitive to the big five foods: gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and corn. You could also be sensitive to foods that we think of as healthy, like nuts or spinach. You don’t necessarily have to avoid these foods forever. The goal is to eliminate those foods temporarily and work on healing the gut so that you're able to tolerate most foods in the future.

There are two ways to find out what foods you are sensitive to. One option is to do an elimination diet where you eliminate the five common foods for thirty days and then reintroduce them one at a time to see what happens. The problem with this method is that it can be hard to stick to and it only identifies those most common foods. Some of my clients can’t tolerate 20 or more foods so we would miss all those and they wouldn’t get better.

The other option is to do a food sensitivity test that tests for about a hundred and fifty different foods. This test obviously gives a lot more information about many different foods and about how healthy your gut is in general. That's why I run a food sensitivity test with my clients so I can quickly find out what they’re reacting to that’s causing inflammation. Then we know what foods to eliminate temporarily while they heal.

Check out this story about a man who had chronic congestion and was diagnosed with sleep apnea and slept horribly for 10 years. He finally did a food sensitivity test, eliminated the 22 foods he was sensitive to and within 2 weeks his nose cleared and he started sleeping!

The more food sensitivities you have, the more unhealthy your gut is. And the more unhealthy your gut is, the more likely a pathogen is able to overtake your gut and contribute even more to your insomnia.

Food sensitivities are one piece of the puzzle to figuring out your sleep. Many of my clients have food sensitivities but they also have a pathogen in the gut, liver detox issues, mineral imbalances, hormone imbalances and more. You need to find all the pieces to the puzzle and address everything to sleep better long-term.

If you’re ready to get to the bottom of what’s causing your insomnia so you can fix it for good, the first step is to book a call with me. We’ll talk about what's going on with your sleep, what you want your sleep to be like and I’ll tell you how to get there, naturally by rebuilding your health.

Schedule your call here!

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