Sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health. Sleep is recuperative, reparative and restorative. If you aren't sleeping well, you aren't regenerating healthy cells. If you aren't generating healthy cells, you lay the groundwork for disease. There's nothing more important than securing good sleep.
What's more, sleep is central to how your body heals itself from the day. Sleep is what helps you to heal from colds and flu. Sleep regenerates your energy night after night. Sleep controls appetite, since being sleep-deprived tends to make you want to eat more. Sleep is central to your overall good health!
So, why aren't you getting more sleep?
It's not a complicated question. There are many insomnia causes and there are many insomnia treatments. With Americans burning the candle at both ends, sleep is what suffers the most -- the inability to wind down after a long day and secure rest has become a national epidemic. The CDC reports that an estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder.
According to a recent Gallup poll four in ten Americans get less than the recommended amount of nightly sleep, compared with the 11% who did so seventy years ago.
Specialists have named many causes of insomnia. They have name-blamed technology, room temperature, stimulants such as chocolate, coffee, alcohol, television, overwork and day-to-day stress to name a few. Insomnia treatments have included; following nightly rituals, silence at bed time, white noise, sleep appliances, falling asleep in total darkness, ear plugs, blindfolds, reading and timing meals. Yet specialists often overlook the most obvious reason for insomnia, which is indigestion.
Indigestion is the number on cause of insomnia
Fast-paced Americans are always on the move. This leaves very little time to digest. Because motion stops the process of digestion and it can only resume when the body is at full rest, this affects your sleep.
To illustrate, many Americans walk around with up to six undigested meals in their stomach each day as they work, raise children and live their daily lives. Undigested meals are a main cause of gas, bloating, belching and digestive upset, since food eaten throughout the day is often left to ferment in the digestive tract until it can be digested. Since many don't stop to rest until they go to sleep, nighttime is when digestion occurs.
Since most people don't put much thought into how they combine their food, it's no surprise that insomnia statistics prove that the overall digestive experience is a bad one. Some foods that contribute to insomnia include:
- Milk is an American bad habit, especially for children. Milk and cookies before bed or milk with a late evening meal, can create the perfect storm of indigestion. As per the rules of proper food combining, it's important to remember milk is a food, and it should never be eaten with food or indigestion can result.
- Fruit is one of the healthiest foods known to man. That being said, if fruit is eaten late at night or after a meal, fruit can be absolute murder on the digestive tract. This is because fruit digests quickly, and can often get stuck behind proteins and starches in the intestine that take longer to digest. This will cause putrefaction and the release of gaseous ammonia toxins from the gut and into the body, poisoning the blood.
- Stress is another reason indigestion occurs. Indigestion often occur after physiological stress -- or by eating a diet high in protein. Too many proteins eaten at once can take hours or even days to digest, making the stomach work double-time to complete its digestive task.
- Starch and protein eaten together (think about a sandwich) interrupts digestion like nothing else since the stomach needs to release different digestive enzymes for each food eaten in order to break it down. it's much easier on the stomach to keep meals simple with properly combined eating such as having protein with a vegetable or salad instead of with bread, pasta, or potatoes and having those starchy foods at a separate meal.
- Alcohol is another antagonist of the digestive tract. Alcohol triggers pepsin interrupting or slowing protein digestion. Alcohol is also perceived by the body as a poison. Having alcohol before going to sleep could mean undigested protein sitting in the digestive tract for another day. Additionally, vinegar slows digestion in similar fashion.
- Fast and processed foods are perhaps the worst culprit of digestive stress. Fast and processed foods don't only mess with digestion, they confuse your body. Fast and processed foods, especially those that contain genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) and other additives, illicit an immune response in the gut. This happens because the body doesn't recognize GMO food on a cellular level, adding yet another step to the slowing of digestion.
Teeth grinding is indigestion
If you, or your child grinds their teeth at night, this means indigestion. Teeth grinding during sleep is an unconscious anatomical mimicking of chewing that occurs as a result of food moving or being stuck in the digestive tract as you sleep.
We walk around with gunk in our gut
Notably, due to eating a poor diet and eating the Standard American Diet, many of us walk around with up to five pounds of fecal matter in the digestive tract at all times. That's five pounds of putrefied, toxic, fermented food not moving toward bowel --- until digestion occurs when we sleep.
European countries have the right idea when it comes to their eating and resting habits. The mid-day siesta could very well be the key to overcoming indigestion and insomnia. How we sleep and how we digest depends on our living and eating habits.
How to combat insomnia
Adequate rest involves a total inactivity of the body's limbs and organs (except for the heart and brain, which never rest.) Here are six simple insomnia treatments to secure adequate rest.
- Eat fruit in the morning until noon. Avoid fruit after meals and especially at night.
- Eat fresh and simple meals using three to four ingredients. Lay off the heavy sauces, toppings and condiments.
- Practice proper food combining to encourage efficient digestion.
- Do not feel pressured to eat five to six meals per day because of any diet plan. Digestively speaking it's best to eat when you're hungry, even if that means 2-3 meals a day.
- Rest after meals. Can't rest? Eat easily digested food during the day such as a fruit meal, vegetable salad or nourishing broth for lunch. Save your protein meal for the evening when you can rest. It is far better to eat protein in a properly combined manner than it is to eat an improperly combined meal and let it sour in the stomach all day.
- Stick with whole, natural foods and always avoid fast and processed foods, synthetic protein powers, artificial sweeteners and GMOs.