Christina Sanghera

How To Start Sleeping Better

Let’s talk SLEEP. A lot of people aren’t sleeping well these days. How about you? Do you wake up between 1-3am most nights, or wake often throughout the night in general?

You’re not alone. I’m recovering from a long bout of insomnia, and I’ve learned A LOT through my own journey and working with my clients.

I can’t remember the last time I worked with someone who didn’t have “lack of good sleep” as one of their initial woes when seeking out my services.

The fact is, there’s a lot standing in the way of good slumber, but thankfully there’s also ways you can start to get the shut-eye you need and feel your best.

Today I’m sharing the top reasons I see for that early morning rise/lack of quality sleep. Before I do, I want to note a couple things:

  1. This pertains mainly to women with hypothyroidism, however, even if you don’t have a known thyroid issue, you likely deal with at least one of the issues listed below and therefore this should help! 
  2. Hypothyroidism is often associated with MORE sleep, but this is less often the case. Hormone imbalance is a known culprit for sleep issues like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or a mix of both. Or, if one does sleep, they sleep allll the time because they aren’t getting enough slow wave deep and REM to function, leading to being tired despite “sleeping” for 7+ hours. 

Ready to dive in to the top 5 reasons I see for poor quality sleep, plus some insight on how to start sleeping better? Keep in mind, I didn’t include thyroid on this list because the thyroid is connected to each one which means correcting what’s below AND your thyroid is ideal. Read on! 

#1 – HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE

Histamine can be excitatory to the brain, and has nocturnal tendencies (2-3am-ish you usually get a nice big histamine dump). Histamine is important, but most of us are dealing with TOO much, or the inability to handle it in general. Histamine issues commonly stem from:

  • Leaky gut
  • Lack of DAO enzyme function
  • Low thyroid
  • Hormonal imbalance 
  • Chronic inflammation

Common Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance:

  •  Headaches or migraines
  • Nasal congestion or sinus issues 
  • Fatigue 
  • Hives 
  • Digestive issues (gas, bloating)
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 

Three Ways To Start Feeling Better: 

  • Work on your gut (more than likely a big contributor to the problem) 
  • Reducing stress (this one’s a biggie)
  • Go on a short-term low histamine diet to see if you feel relief 

Supplements I Recommend To Combat Histamine Intolerance: 

  • Histamine Block [Contains the enzyme DAO which helps break down food derived histamine]  

  • Probiota HistaminX [Many probiotics actually increase histamine – this one contains strains that generally don’t, so you can start to heal your gut AND histamine issues] 

#2 – SLUGGISH LIVER

Before you get on the path of actual liver disease, you sail down the path of the disease process. This usually starts with a “sluggish liver” that’s not able to efficiently detox. This leads to toxin overload and, because the liver tends to do most of its detoxifying work between 1-3am, you may find yourself waking within that magical window of time, because your liver’s like “I’m overworked!!”. Common reasons for liver issues include:

  • Toxins in your home (beauty products, household products) and life in general 
  • Mold (doesn’t have to be traditionally “toxic)
  • Processed foods
  • Poor air quality (indoor is often worse than outdoor when filters aren’t being used daily)

Common Symptoms of Liver Issues:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling 
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin 
  • Pale stool color
  • Chronic fatigue  

Three Ways To Start Feeling Better: 

  • Castor oil packs by Queen of the Thrones 
  • Regular movement/exercise 
  • Eat lots of vegetables

Supplements I Recommend Starting With: 

  • Vital Nutrients Liver Support [Unique combination of herbal extracts that works synergistically to support liver function]

#3 – HORMONE IMBALANCE

I especially see women struggling with sleep before period and ovulation, which could signal an estrogen/progesterone imbalance, as estrogen tends to rise before period and ovulation each month, in addition to cortisol. Too much cortisol at night = tired but wired. And we always hear about a FAST thyroid causing sleep issues, but a LOW thyroid does, too! Having low thyroid levels can cause what I call “cat napping”, where you don’t get enough slow wave deep and REM sleep, which means you’re exhausted all day.

Common Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance:

  • Weight gain
  • Unexplained, and sometimes sudden, weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Anxiety and depression

Three Ways To Start Feeling Better: 

  • Focus on eating balanced meals – protein, carb, fat – in order to keep your blood sugar happy.
  • Engage in moderate intensity exercise (you can modify virtually ANY workout for the intensity you personally need).
  • Manage STRESS << this one’s a biggie, and it’s why I focus so much of vagal tone and stress management in my programs.

Supplements I Recommend Starting With: 

  • None! First, we want to test and figure out what your specific imbalances are. I use the DUTCH test with my clients. I see a lot of women taking things like Vitex and other hormone supporting supplements without actually knowing what needs balancing, and that can be a slippery slope.

#4 – SLEEP APNEA OR UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome).

This one’s a BIGGIE. SO many people I meet have breathing issues during sleep. Women with Hashimotos and/or hypothyroidism are at a big risk for sleep apnea (where you stop breathing periodically in your sleep, causing your body to release adrenaline to wake you up). 

There’s also apnea’s milder cousin, Upper Airway Resistance, which is basically shallow breathing which still causes low oxygen saturation and mild adrenaline surges. 

Regardless of which one you might have, adrenaline and sleep do NOT mix. I urge you to get a sleep study to rule this out if you’ve been struggling with nighttime wakings for awhile!

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea and/or UARS:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Un-refreshing sleep
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent awakenings during sleep
  • Frequent urination at night

Three Ways To Start Feeling Better:  

  • Yogic and other deep breathing exercises daily to improve oxygen levels.
  • Oral appliance or CPAP (if diagnosed with nighttime breathing problems) while you get to the root cause of your apnea.
  • Keep inflammation in check – don’t skip this one – it matters, A LOT!
  • Nasal strips to open up nasal passages (chronic nasal congestion can worsen breathing problems during sleep).

Supplements I Recommend Starting With: 

  • For this category, again none, because there is no supplement that will improve a throat blockage or breathing issue.

#5 – GUT ISSUES/LEAKY GUT

It’s common to think of gut issues as being related to things like gas, bloating and indigestion, and this is true, but there’s another side to gut issues that’s even more important … 

The almighty gut/brain connection. 

Both Easter and Western medicine agree that our gut health is a major player in chronic illness and mental health. New discoveries are happening at rapid speed and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that gut bacteria would impact certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine which could then impact sleep. Let’s say, for example, that an unhealthy gut is leading to a decrease in serotonin levels. We know that:

Serotonin is the precursor to Melatonin 

In the example above, if you’re lacking serotonin, you might be making less melatonin which could be disrupting your sleep. Does this mean you just pop a melatonin? Maybe, in the short term if your sleep issues are severe. But you don’t want to rely on that forever. You want to get to the root of why your gut is “leaky” in the first place.

Another potential cause for low serotonin? Excessive phone/social media usage and the dopamine hits that come with it! Having a flipped serotonin/dopamine ratio can alter the levels needed to induce restful sleep.

Neurotransmitters are not the only thing affecting quality sleep; your overall gut micro biome diversity is a big player as well. There’s even a study that demonstrated that microorganisms and circadian genes can interact with each other! It truly is fascinating stuff, and the main takeaway is: DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR GUT HEALTH!

Common Symptoms of Poor Gut Health/Leaky Gut:

  • IBS type symptoms – diarrhea, constipation, bloating 
  • Nutritional deficiencies (which can later lead to other issues)
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches 
  • Confusion 
  • Skin problems (rashes, eczema, acne)
  • Joint pain 

Three Ways To Start Feeling Better: 

  • Cut out as many processed foods as possible. Your gut will thank you, and this will lead to lower levels of inflammation.
  • Increase collagen consumption (unless you have histamine issues – then you’ll want to see how you react first). 
  • Incorporate digestive enzymes – these can be extremely helpful as you work to heal your gut.

Supplements I Recommend Starting With: 

  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides [Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body supporting the health and vitality of your skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints – and it’s wonderful for helping to heal leaky gut!]

  • Digestive Enzymes [Aids the body’s natural digestive process, helping to maximize the body’s utilization of the nutrients in the diet while supporting digestive comfort]

As you can see, there are a lot of potential reasons you aren’t sleeping well. The 5 we’ve covered today are so common and impactful that I’d be willing to bet working on even just one of them can make a massive difference. 

These are all great starting points, including the supplements which can take the edge off. If you want a step-by-step blueprint, hi, that’s me! I work with women business owners (or who have a dream of owning a business some day but feel like it’s impossible to do with chronic illness) all over the globe and create a custom plan to help them thrive … not just survive, in all areas of life – sleep, work, family, self love.

My goal is to help fellow chronic illness warriors create the life they deserve instead of feeling overwhelmed by symptoms every single day. 

More specifically, I work with women dealing with thyroid issues who’ve been told by their doctor that “everything is normal” and to just “workout and eat less”.

Once we’ve done the testing, I also recommend specific sleep supplements for your unique needs that will help while we uncover the root causes.

You can start by grabbing by freebie below, and when you’re ready, come book a discovery call with me here.

I hope you’re feeling inspired and like there’s hope for better sleep – because there is!

Until Next Time,

Christina 

References:

*Hi! Just FYI, some links in this document are affiliate links. That means I make a small commission if you purchase through the link. It NEVER costs you any more to purchase through the link (in fact, you’ll often pay even LESS) and I work very hard to get you only the best deals. Also, I never recommend things I don’t currently use and believe in myself. Any commissions received support providing these types of resources to those in need with Hashimotos, Hypothyroidism and other chronic illness for free. 

Thank you – your support is greatly appreciated!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

THYROID WARRIOR? DON’T FORGET YOUR AWESOME FREEBIE!!

Before you go, make sure to grab the guide I created for you: Thyroid Unlocked: How To Thrive Again and Become Your Own Advocate. Discover where to begin on your healing journey so you can get back to feeling like yourself, ASAP! Go here to grab your copy!