Why can't you sleep? It could be because of parasites!
Updated: Mar 21
Before you get grossed out by the idea of parasites and other pathogens crawling around in your body, keep in mind that you have more bacteria than cells in your body (39 trillion vs. 30 trillion)! It's even normal to have pathogens; our beneficial bacteria ideally keep them in check. But if the pathogens take over, that's when the fun ends.
So I want to tell you about why pathogens keep you up at night, what kind of pathogens I'm talking about, how to find out if you have them and, most importantly, what to do if you do have a parasite or pathogen overgrowth.
Why pathogens keep you up at night
Pathogens are nocturnal, meaning they're active at night. When you're trying to sleep is when they're eating, excreting and releasing toxins, causing inflammation. In response to the inflammation, your body releases the ever-so-helpful, anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. If you've been listening to me at all, you already know what cortisol does to you: it suppresses melatonin and wakes you right up. Not so fun in the middle of the night, huh?
If you've ever taken a cortisol test and your cortisol was elevated at night and first thing in the morning (the opposite of what it should be), a parasite or other pathogen is likely the cause.
Kinds of pathogens
Some examples are giardia and Blastocytis hominis (which I just found out I have!). These parasites are easy to get from drinking or eating contaminated food or water, especially while traveling.
To get rid of a parasite, you can take an anti-parasitic, antibiotic drug. The problem with this solution is that you take the drug for 10 days but the life cycle of these lovely creatures are at least 30 days. So the medicine doesn't kill the parasite in all its life stages. That's why I still have a parasite even though I took drugs for it 10 years ago.
Instead of (or in addition to) a pharmaceutical, herbs have been shown to be just as effective at treating parasites. In a recent study, the researcher found that that sweet wormwood tea can cure a tropical flatworm faster and with fewer side effects than the most common drug treatment. I recommend customized supplements for my clients to treat parasites.
2. Opportunistic bacteria
During sickness, in times of stress and when taking antibiotics, opportunistic bacteria have the chance to take over your beneficial bacteria and cause problems. One of the most common bacteria I see in my clients is c. difficile.
Candida is most common type of fungus that can easily overgrow in our gut. It causes a myriad of symptoms, including insomnia.
One way to tell if you may have candida is to do a spit test. You spit a quarter size of saliva into a glass of water and wait a few minutes. If it floats, you probably don't have candida. If it grows legs and starts sinking, you may have it. If your saliva quickly sinks to the bottom, you most likely have candida overgrowth.
And if you have a parasite or bacterial overgrowth, you most likely have candida, too.
How to find out if you have a pathogen
Now that I've given you all this cringe-worthy info about pathogens, I'm sure you're ready to find out if you have one, especially if you haven't been sleeping well!
The best way to find out for sure is to do a stool test called a GI Map. Sounds fun? It's worth it! Not only will you find out if you have a pathogen or not, you will discover all sorts of important information about what's going on in your gut.
The good news is that finding out you have a pathogen could be the key to your sleep that you've been trying to figure out for years! And the treatment is easy with supplements and minor dietary changes.
The GI Map is just one of the tests I do with my clients to uncover the root cause of their sleep issues. I'll be talking about other health issues that can cause insomnia over the next few weeks.
If you're ready to finally fix your sleep once and for all, let's chat! Simply hit reply to this email and we'll set up a time. You'll find out the top 3 reasons you aren't sleeping and the #1 thing you can do to fix it.