Let’s dive into some of the reasons why we suffer from poor sleep. Just like you, I suffer with poor sleep from time to time and have tried over the counter remedies such as melatonin and Benadryl to get to sleep and stay asleep.
So let’s get into it, with the focus on Pregnenolone levels, Sleep Apnea and Stress.
Pregnenolone is the master steroid that gives rise to all other steroid hormones in the body and a healthy prengnolone level is a good indicator of healthy sleep. When you have blood work at your doctor’s office, pregnenolone is one of the important things to check!
What if my pregnenolone level is low? Your doctor will talk to you about this and may recommend a supplement or dietary changes. I cannot emphasize enough that what we put in our mouths in medicine. Inflammation, arthritic pains, poor sleep and fatigue, I believe, can be improved if not completely eliminated with what we eat. This is powerful because you are in control of YOU!
Alright, let’s move on to sleep apnea and snoring. How do I know if I have it?
This is a big topic and one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in the US. A simple screening tool called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale is the easiest way to screen yourself. This scale is on my website and you an easily click on the link and answer with questions in a couple of minutes. I want to address a couple of questions in this article:
Do you snore? NO! Every person, ok except one, denies snoring during sleep but the bed partner certainly confirms it! Snoring is the vibration of tissues in the back of the throat during sleep. Yes, air does get in but in the process the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate, creating noise for your bed partner, dog or cat. And, this causes your partner to experience poor sleep.
This is different from snoring, especially when we talk about Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Obstruct, meaning to occlude or block air from entering into the lungs. Where does the blockage occur? The back of the throat. Imagine having a cork in your throat, you cannot breathe, air simply does not go in.
People who suffer with Obstructive Sleep Apnea complain of feeling tired upon waking and/or having a headache when they wake up. They feel tired and irritable during the day, have a feeling of being in a fog or even falling asleep while driving.
But what if I’m skinny? Can I still have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? YES! Top level athletes who are in great shape suffer from OSA, look at Shaquille O’neil! It is the shape of your throat that is an issue, as well as other things, but let’s consider this, the shape of the throat.
You can be ‘skinny’ and have OSA, absolutely. I look at your throat, can I see the back of your throat? Can I see that dangling thing in the back of your throat? Is the back of your throat red? Are you tonsils present? Are your teeth crowded? Do you breathe through your mouth? And the list goes on and on.
I have seen wrestlers who are in incredible shape, suffer from OSA because their neck is HUGE! You see this large bulging muscles but unfortunately those muscles that are so developed can cause the airway to smaller.
Don’t get caught up in the idea that only people who are overweight and don’t exercise have OSA. NOT TRUE!
Take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale TODAY!
The topic that is most neglected, ignored and denied. Stress wrecks your sleep, you can’t get to sleep, you wake up in the middle of the night and wake up early, before your alarm goes off. When we are under stress or worrying we stimulate the brain center to be in a Fight or Flight state. You remember this right? Fight or Flight?
When we are in this state we secret a steady stream of epinephrine, the Fight or Flight hormone. Unfortunately, you are secreting it too often and your body stays in a state of anxiety.
I like to explain this is as the Monkey Mind. You feel like you cannot control your thoughts, your mind races, and when you lay down at night for sleep you cannot shut your mind off. All of us have been through this at some level. We are told to drink warm milk, take some melatonin, use medial marijuana or just get up and journal.
But what is the answer? It depends. That answer you just hate, it depends. Some people have not learned how to control their thoughts, they feel separate from their racing mind and a victim of the Monkey Mind. This is complete BS. And, part of what I help you with is getting your thoughts under control The key is simple, you are in control of your thoughts and the happiness or suffering that accompanies those thoughts. I don’t like to tell you, just journal before bed, that probably will help. However, let’s get to the root of the Monkey Mind and it’s constant yapping.
As you can see, there is no one answer to ‘fix’ everything. We are dynamic physical and emotional beings and many factors must be considered when treating not only Obstructive Sleep Apnea but other diseases as well.