• Martha Lewis

Is your liver causing your insomnia?

If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, it’s not your fault. You aren’t awake because you aren’t doing the breathing exercises right or because you didn’t meditate that day. There’s something triggering your body release to cortisol in the night which wakes you up. And there’s a good chance that it’s your liver!

According to the Chinese meridian clock, the liver is most active between 1 and 3am. This is the time when it’s detoxing alcohol, drugs and other toxins in your body. Processed foods, pesticides, chemicals from cleaning and personal care products and the waste products from pathogens in your gut are all toxins that your liver has to deal with.

Your liver is your body’s filter and protector. It’s the most important organ for your health! Not only does it detoxify, it’s also critical for immunity, energy production and digestion.

This week I’m talking all about your liver and sleep, signs that your liver isn’t healthy (besides poor sleep), how functional labs show the health of your liver and what to do if your liver is congested so you can get the sleep you need.

I used to drink so much I threw up. All the time! In the last 2 years of high school, all through college and even in my twenties, I puked often. I wasn’t an alcoholic, mind you, because I could easily not drink. But when I did drink, I didn’t listen to my body. I was having fun and not thinking about all the damage I was doing to my body.

And now, my liver is not happy. I got to the point in my 40’s where I couldn’t even tolerate one drink. I would feel hungover immediately most of the time. It wasn’t worth it anymore!

Now, I haven’t had a drink for 3 months. I’m taking a break to let my body heal. I’m also doing a gut protocol to deal with H. pylori which is really hard on the liver. As pathogens die off, they release a lot of toxins that the liver has to detoxify. So you don't want to give your liver more to deal with by drinking alcohol when you’re killing bugs in your gut.

I never thought I would be able to give up alcohol for this long! The longest I’ve ever given it up before is maybe a month. And I would always be craving a drink by the end of that month. So I’d usually overindulge and feel like crap.

This time around it’s been easy. Covid probably helps, too, since there’s little socializing, having dinner parties and going out to eat. But I haven’t even been tempted during the past 3 months. I’m on a mission to heal and that’s become more important to me than anything else.

It turns out you can still have fun without alcohol!

Besides sleep problems, there are 7 other signs that your liver is congested or sluggish.

  1. Poor digestion-The liver makes bile which helps you break down fats and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. If you have bloating, indigestion or abdominal pain, there’s a good chance that your liver isn’t healthy.

  2. Hormone imbalances-Your liver is responsible for breaking down and removing hormones from your body. Symptoms like high blood pressure, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, mood issues and sleep problems indicate that there’s an issue with your liver from hormone imbalance.

  3. Weight gain-When toxins build up in your body, they cause inflammation. Your body releases cortisol because it’s an anti-inflammatory hormone. But excess cortisol makes your body hold onto fat and can cause blood sugar issues.

  4. Skin problems-Acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema and other skin issues are a sure sign that toxins are building up in your body.

  5. Fatigue-Your liver helps make energy for your body.

  6. Chemical sensitivities-If cleaning products, perfumes and other chemicals give you a headache or make you anxious or irritable, you probably have too many toxins in your liver.

  7. Sugar and carb cravings-Hormone and blood sugar imbalances that lead to cravings are common when your liver isn’t working well.

The functional lab tests I run for my clients to get to the bottom of their insomnia also show how the liver is functioning. The GI Map has a marker for liver detoxification. The hormone test shows if you have excess cortisol or estrogen and how well your body is methylating (stage 2 of liver detox) hormones. This information from the labs indicates what’s going to work best for you to get your liver healthy again.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a congested liver. My recommendations vary for each of my clients. But in general I recommend a liver support supplement. It could be herbal like Gaia’s Liver Support, amino acid based like BioMatrix Support Liver or glandular like Vital Proteins Beef Liver that’s from grass-fed cows.

Drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning helps flush out toxins in the liver.

Epsom salt baths can also draw out toxins and heavy metals that are burdening your liver.

Castor oil packs, dry brushing and coffee enemas can also help.

When I started waking up in the night during my H. pylori protocol, I did a coffee enema and slept soundly since. I’ve experienced first-hand my liver sabotaging my sleep and seen it in many of my clients as well!

There are usually other issues that are causing your liver to be overburdened. Excess hormones, especially estrogen and cortisol, toxins from a pathogen in your gut and food sensitivities can all contribute to an overtaxed liver. That’s why I run 4 different lab tests that show what’s going on in many different parts of your body. Not only your liver but also your gut, your hormones, your digestion, your blood sugar and more.

You have to find everything that’s affecting your sleep to truly overcome your insomnia for good. If you’re interested in a natural, permanent, customized solution using the science of lab testing, let’s chat! I’ll explain more about what physical health imbalances could be causing your insomnia and give you a step-by-step plan to figure out your sleep once and for all. I can’t wait to see you sleeping better!

Schedule your call here!

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