How Inflammation Destroys your Sleep and the 3 Main Causes of Inflammation
Updated: May 16
If you aren’t sleeping, you have inflammation.
When you’re inflamed, your body is constantly releasing cortisol to reduce the inflammation. That's because cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone.
Cortisol is also one of your stress hormones that helps you focus, increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and moves energy away from your digestion and into your hands and feet so that you’re ready to run from or fight something. This is great when you’re being chased by a bear but not when you’re trying to sleep. When your body releases cortisol at night, it wakes you up and makes it hard to fall back asleep.
There are three main reasons why you have inflammation:
1. The first main cause of inflammation is the food you're eating. Gluten and dairy especially tend to be inflammatory, and many people are sensitive to them. Refined sugar also causes a ton of inflammation. Processed oils and fats like trans fats, hydrogenated oils and many plant-based oils like grapeseed, canola and sunflower oils that are in processed foods contribute to inflammation.
A low carb or low fat diet can surprisingly cause inflammation too. And if you're eating foods you are sensitive to, even healthy foods like salmon or broccoli, your gut wall becomes inflamed. To make sure what you’re eating doesn’t cause inflammation, you can focus on eating whole, organic foods, eliminate refined sugars and oils and find out what foods you are sensitive to and avoid them.
2. The second main cause of inflammation is a pathogen in your gut. I know it sounds gross but having a parasite like giardia or bacteria like h-pylori or yeast like candida all cause inflammation. These creatures are most active at night and releasing lots of toxins then and so this is a big reason why many of my clients wake up at night.
To find out if pathogens are causing inflammation for you, you want to do a pathogen screening and get rid of anything you find there. I use a GI Map to find out what’s living in your gut, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is a lab test I do with all of my clients because it makes such a huge difference with their sleep.
3. The third cause of inflammation is from environmental toxins. Personal care products like your shampoo, deodorant and face cream have estrogen-like compounds in them that can be toxic. Same with the cleaning supplies you use. Tap water has a lot of toxins and so do many of the pots and pans we cook with. Dental fillings and mold cause inflammation, too. Pesticides in produce and hormones in conventionally-raised meats add to our toxic burden.
A healthy liver can easily deal with all of these toxins. But if you're constantly exposed to them and your liver can't keep up, they're going to cause lots of inflammation as they keep circulating throughout your body. You can minimize the amount of toxins your liver has to handle by using natural personal care products and cleaning supplies, drinking filtered water and limiting EMFs in your home, especially at night.
Inflammation is one of the main reasons why you have high cortisol at night. There are also other reasons, such as a pathogen in your gut or low blood sugar. What is causing your body to release cortisol at night is different for everyone. That's why I do lab testing so we aren’t guessing. The tests give me clues about what's going wrong in your body that’s causing you to have a stress response at night and not be able to sleep normally.
If you’re tired of not sleeping and you’re ready to get to the root cause and fix it, you’re in the right place. This is what I help my clients with every day. Message me if you want to learn the simple steps to rebuild your health and sleep better soon.
If you're excited about uncovering why you can't sleep, we should definitely chat.