All my life I went to bed every night and fell asleep without ever thinking about sleep. It’s a natural thing, right? It happens automatically without conscious decision similar to breathing and digestion, right?
Well, I would say that all the above is true. That being said, if you’ve ever battled with insomnia, you understand how suddenly sleep can become a trigger word for an immense amount of stress and worry.
I Was Always Such a Good Sleeper! What Happened?
I have always a pretty solid sleeper for my whole 24 years of life. Of course, I haven’t ever been the ‘crash-as-soon-as-my-head-hits-the-pillow’ type sleeper like my dad or brother. I usually need some time to wind down in bed and daydream before drifting off to la-la land. However, once asleep, I am OUT until morning.
Until 2 1/2 years ago.
Before I share the nightmare of my sleepless nights, I want to give the background leading up to my insomnia. I hope as you read this that you can learn from my mistakes without having to repeat them yourself. And if you can relate to any of this, than please know that there is hope for you. You CAN resolve your sleepless nights as I did.
But I get ahead of myself.
Leading Up To My Insomnia
Although it would be easy to play theatrical and say that my insomnia problems blind-sided me randomly one day and I have no clue how it happened, that would be untrue.
Here are my reasons that jump-started my insomnia:
1. I read a chapter on the importance of sleep and the dangers of not getting ‘enough’ in a popular health book.
You see, because I never laser-focused on the concept of sleep before, I never payed much attention to my own sleep patterns. I would just lay down in bed and….sleep. But once I read this startling chapter on the vital role sleep plays in health and wellness, I was amazed. And aware.
I want to clarify that I’m sure the author (which I will keep un-named) didn’t intent for this sleep chapter to cause stress for his readers. In fact, for many people, it was probably very helpful.
However, I am a highly detailed, Type-A personality who can lean towards very OCD behavior. If you can relate to this than be aware that many of the health and wellness authors and advocates out there aren’t directing their motivational ‘get-off-your-butt-and-make-some-drastic-changes’ message to you. If you are already ‘kicking-your-own-butt’ every day, disciplined in your exercise program, eating as healthy as you know, and holding yourself to a high standard than, don’t let their strong message cause more stress in your life. That’s counterproductive.
But unfortunately most A-types have to learn this the hard way. It’s hard for us to know when to take a break and cut ourselves some slack.
So, this was the first step that led to igniting my insomnia. I started to stress about sleep.
2. I was Overexercising.
Two months leading up to my start of insomnia I started a hard core work out routine. I just my son from nursing so now I was free to be selfish and starve myself and run myself into the ground, right? Well, that was not my intention of course. I only wanted to lose those few remaining pounds of baby weight and tone up.
Now, I definitely believe that exercising is necessary and beneficial. But you need to be careful doing highly intensive exercise if you….
…try and follow a no sugar candida diet….
3. I Followed A Low Sugar Candida Diet
On top of my new rigorous exercise program, I also wanted to do some long awaited cleanses. As most of you know, detoxifying during pregnancy is a big no-no.
Now seemed to be the golden hour to cleanse, detox, get in shape and rid my body of toxins. Since I was no longer nursing, I wasn’t concerned about my calorie intake. I dove into extensive, rigorous training three times a week.
With all of my research, I felt the need to do an intense candida cleanse. I came to this conclusion because I seemed to have some of the symptoms of a candida imbalance. So I got to it. I planned a 12 week candida diet cleanse of no sugar or sweeteners, sparing amounts of low-fructose fruit, no starches, no grains, and no dairy.
However, things did not go as magically as I had hoped and I started to crash hard. Thanks to my husband, I only continued with this for about 5 weeks and then slowly added low amounts of sugar back into my diet.
(Side note: I want to just quickly pause and mention that, although short term parasite cleanses and detox bootcamps can prove to be beneficial you must be very careful of your sources. You need to listen to your body. It was very easy for me to get carried away with all the opinions and protocols I was researching online. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn how dangerous it is for you to completely limit all sugar from your diet.)
4. I Took MSM in High Doses At Night.
My husband and I are big fans of David Wolf, an expert in the world of superfoods, herbs, longevity, Chinese herbalism, raw food etc. If you’ve never heard anything about this then check out David Wolf’s work. To learn more, click HERE.
He believes that calcification build-up in the body is one of the main causes of inflammation and many chronic illness that we see today.So we started a decalcification cleanse around the same time I was on my Anti-Candida diet.
We were taking large amounts of MSM twice daily. What I didn’t know was that MSM can disrupt your sleep as it gets your body pretty jazzed! Although I felt AMAZING, this was around the time that my insomnia started.
5. I Was Under A LOT of Emotional Stress
Around this same time my Dad got engaged to be remarried. This was a very emotionally difficult thing for me and my siblings as my mom had only passed away two years prior from breast cancer.
So I didn’t handle to remarriage situation in the calmest and healthiest way. My mind was preoccupied with trying to process all the changes along with the grief of recently losing my mom.
So this emotional season in my life ALSO contributed to my insomnia.