Getting a great night’s sleep can be a real challenge for those of us with Lyme disease. For me personally sleep was one of my biggest issues. I had bad sleep for years before I found out I had Lyme and it got even worse once I began treatment for Lyme.
Poor sleep affects almost a quarter of the American population. It is a huge issue in our modern world and more than 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders and 40% of adults consistently sleep less than 7 hours a night. Ideally we all need 7.5 – 8.5 hours of sleep and if we’re sick we need to be at the high end of the range.
I’m going to share the number one cause of bad sleep with you in just a moment and very few Lyme doctors or any doctors for that matter are talking about it.
Once I learned the main cause destroying my sleep I had a real turn around in the overall quality of my sleep. It didn’t fix it overnight but it did turn my sleep around pretty quick and has made all the difference in the world.
But first, why is sleep so important?
Think of sleep like running a dishwasher in your brain and body. We fill our dishwasher with dirty dishes, run it, and they come out nice and clean. Deep sleep does something similar with your brain cells. It allows your brain to remove bad cells and repair damaged cells. Our bodies also get rid of toxins and go through growth and repair when we sleep. When we don’t sleep this doesn’t happen and we increase inflammation and decrease immunity.
This can become a vicious cycle and make our symptoms even worse.
I learned something that made all the difference in my sleep quality from neurosurgeon, Dr. Jack Kruse. He was talking about the patients that he sees in his clinic and was saying that for the past 10 years nearly everyone of them had sleep problems. So in addition to making your Lyme symptoms worse, bad sleep puts you at risk for neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr. Kruse said that based on what he learned about his patient’s home and work environments and their labs, the #1 reason for poor sleep is pulsed EMF and blue light.
Pulsed EMFs or Electromagnetic Fields are produced by cell phones, Bluetooth, wifi, cell towers, and smart meters to name a few. Many modern energy star appliances have smart meters in them and emit high amounts of pulsed EMFs as well.
We get blue light from smart phones, tablets, TVs, computers, and energy efficient lights (LED & fluorescent) so it’s literally everywhere.
This is one of the first things I work on with my clients and it’s the hardest pill for them to swallow. It’s not easy to avoid EMFs and blue light but we can minimize our exposure to them and this has a huge impact on not only your sleep but your overall health.
If you suffer from poor sleep then EMFs and Blue Light is your number one culprit. You need to make every effort to reduce your exposure as much as possible.
A little bit about sleep
There are 5 stages of sleep. Stages 1 through 4 are non-REM sleep. Stages 1 & 2 are considered light sleep and stages 3 & 4 are called slow wave or delta wave sleep because relatively wide brain waves are present compared to other stages of sleep. Another name for these stages is deep sleep.
A complete sleep cycle is 90 – 110 minutes on average. The percentage of time you spend in each stage of sleep varies by age and as we get older we have decreasing amounts of REM & deep sleep.
REM & deep sleep also decrease in people with high levels of EMF and Blue Light exposure.
During REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, blood flow decreases to the brain and redirects itself towards the muscles, allowing the body and mind to rest and recover. The more REM sleep you get, the more likely you will wake feeling refreshed and feeling energetic throughout your day.
Certain drugs, especially antidepressants, alcohol, and pain medications all decrease REM sleep. Sleep deprivation also prevents us from getting into REM sleep so this can also become a vicious cycle
Coming up next I’ll give you specific recommendations that you can take to improve your sleep and wake up feeling better rested.