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  • Writer's pictureMartha Lewis

Heavy metals and insomnia

Heavy metals could be causing your sleep problems. I’ve seen this recently in many of my clients. They have high levels of mercury, aluminum, copper, lead and arsenic as well as others. These metals aren’t meant to be in our bodies. Because of the Industrial Revolution, we’re exposed to these metals more than ever before. As toxins, they circulate throughout the body causing inflammation and stress leading to illness, aging and genetic defects. They also accumulate in the brain, bone, kidneys, heart and the liver, causing neurological issues such as insomnia as well as liver detox issues that can contribute to waking up in the night.

The most common sources of heavy metals are:

  • Mercury-dental fillings and consuming large fish

  • Aluminum-tap water, cooking with aluminum pots and foil, aluminum cans, antiperspirant

  • Arsenic-tap water and brown rice

  • Cadmium-marijuana

  • Uranium-tap or well water and root vegetables

  • Copper-birth control, copper pipes, vegetarian diet, swimming pools

(Copper technically isn’t a heavy metal because we actually need copper. But if you have too much copper, it causes copper toxicity, a common condition I find in my female clients.) These toxic metals can cause mood disorders, insomnia, and hypothyroidism to name a few symptoms. They also affect our hormone balance. And they damage the gut so it’s important to address gut infections as well. Mineral deficiencies can also lead to an increase of heavy metals because heavy metals can do some of the same jobs as minerals. For example, cadmium can do 20-30% of the functions of zinc. But cadmium is carcinogenic and so you don’t want it building up in your body! You can find sources and symptoms of heavy metals here. I don’t recommend an aggressive detox program for heavy metals. I work on balancing minerals first so that your body is strong enough to start releasing these metals on its own. And I recommend a supplement to support your body as it gets rid of them. I also make sure you aren’t currently being exposed to heavy metals. If metals show up elevated on your HTMA, then you’re likely being exposed. If they’re lower, then it could be from past exposure and your body hasn’t been able to get rid of them yet. This is one piece of the puzzle that I look at to uncover why my clients can’t sleep. I run a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for all of my clients because heavy metals are so common. There are other reasons why you can’t sleep but this is a major one that is often overlooked. If you've done other testing and haven’t solved your sleep problem, this could be the missing test. You can address gut health, hormone balance and everything else, but if you also have heavy metal toxicity then you won’t get better.

Book a call with me to talk about what’s going on with your sleep, how we can find what’s keeping you from sleeping normally, and what it looks like to work together so you can sleep better soon.

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