Want to figure out why you aren’t sleeping?
Updated: Mar 21, 2020
These 5 lab tests give me the info I need to go into detective mode, Sherlock t Holmes-style, and solve your insomnia mystery.
What's cool about these tests is that they are actually sent to you so you can do them in the comfort of your own home. That means there's no need to take off work or family time to go and get blood drawn. These tests involve dried urine, blood spot and stool samples and we get the results back in just a couple weeks. The tests themselves aren’t so exciting but the results are like a golden key that finally unlocks the hidden answer to your maddening sleeplessness.
Here are the 5 tests I use to find the clues I need:
1. Food sensitivity test
This is an IGG test it's testing for antibodies that your body might be producing for certain foods to show what you're sensitive to. Some people are sensitive to things that seem very healthy like broccoli or that seem very easy to digest like rice. But if you're eating these foods and you're sensitive to them they are damaging your gut wall and they're causing inflammation.
When you have inflammation, your body releases cortisol to deal with that inflammation during the day and in the night. When you release cortisol in the night, it’s going to wake you up and you’ll be as wired as the telephone lines in the bluebird sky.
2. DUTCH test
This is a comprehensive hormone test that tests for sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and adrenal hormones like cortisol. What's cool about it is that it doesn’t just test one time for overall cortisol levels. It tests them throughout a 24-hour period so we know your pattern. It also shows the different forms of cortisol and how they are metabolized in the body so we have the whole picture.
This test is valuable because if you have extremely high levels of cortisol and it shows that you’re under stress all the time, your other steroid sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are going to be affected, too. If your body has to use all of its resources to make cortisol, it won’t have enough to make your other hormones.
3. GI Map
This test is about as fun as jumping in a cold lake on a chilly summer morning in the mountains. But the results are worth it! (They say that about jumping in cold water, too.) It gives us so much information about what's going on in your gut. You’ll find out what kind of sleep-sabotaging critters are living there, like parasites or bacteria like c-diff or h pylori. All these creatures are nocturnal so it’s at 3am that they’re actively eating, excreting and releasing toxins, causing lots of inflammation. You’ll also see your good versus bad bacteria as well as antibiotic resistance genes and other intestinal health and immune markers.
What's going on in your gut mirrors what's going on in your overall health and that’s information you want to know even if the mirror on the wall tells you that you’re not the prettiest of all.
4. Thyroid panel
This tests for all the markers of thyroid function. Many standard tests just test for TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and don't test for anything else. Or they test only T4. Your body actually has to convert T4 to T3 to be used so we need to be testing for all of those factors.
You also want to know if your body is producing antibodies to the thyroid. 90% of people who have hypothyroidism also have the autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroid is well and that's really important to know. Of course if your thyroid isn't healthy that's going to affect your sleep.
5. HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis)
From this test, you’ll find out your mineral status and if you have toxic metal accumulation like mercury or aluminum or copper that can be causing inflammation. All of our minerals affect each other so this test gives a very in-depth look at your minerals and how they're interacting with each other. It will also show if your gut is absorbing these nutrients from foods. You could be eating all the right foods but if your gut isn't healthy than is not going to absorb them and so that can explain a lot of what's going on with the minerals in your body.
This is the simplest test because it’s a hair test that involves cutting a little bit of hair from your scalp.
If you aren’t sleeping and you’re doing all the right things (staying away from screens in the evening, managing your stress, eating well), then there’s something physiologically going on in your body that is keeping you awake at night.
Want to find out more about YOUR sleep? Let’s chat! We’ll talk about why you aren’t sleeping and the #1 thing you can do to fix it.