Can chronic waking up at night be a sign that you have heavy metal toxicity?

The Case: 

  • Valerie is 39 and she manages her stress with meditation and a bedtime routine.
  • She falls asleep with ease but she wakes up every night and struggles to get back to sleep
  • She tried to further reduce her stress, added supplements and medication to help her sleep issues but nothing worked.

Waking up frequently throughout the night is a form of insomnia – the most common sleep disorder in America. Insomnia in the short-term can be dangerous because it increases your chance of falling asleep unexpectedly including at work, while watching children, or when driving. When insomnia becomes chronic, it can lead to sleep deprivation which, in turn, may lead to serious health concerns including metabolic disorders, hypoxemia, and pain conditions. 

Valerie knew that she didn’t just want to learn to live with it (as so many women do). She wanted to get to the root cause of the problem so that she could sleep better, and function better during the day. 

The Investigation

My immediate suspicion was that Valerie’s diet might be a contributing factor in her sleep issue. I noticed that she ate a lot of processed foods, so it made sense to make this the first stop in our investigation. I ran some tests which confirmed my suspicions – Valerie had a higher amount of certain toxins in her body. I also noted that she carried a few genes that slowed down her ability to get rid of toxins. It was a double whammy and we were officially on the case. 

Valerie’s liver was struggling to rid her body of the toxins so this was the first thing we needed to address. It was time for a detox. 

Wendy Myers is one of the countries leading authorities in detoxification. She’s a functional diagnostic nutritionist,  NES Bioenergetix Practitioner, and is the creator of the Myers Detox Protocol. She’s also the #1 bestselling author of Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue. 

She joins me on the show to talk about Valerie’s case and how a low-functioning liver can contribute to waking up multiple times in the night. 

Your Liver’s Role in Sleep

Wendy says, “the liver is the seed of sleep… When your liver is not functioning optimally because it’s overloaded with having to break down and export so many toxins that we have in our environment, it can affect sleep.” In her experience, waking up in the middle of the night, usually around 2 – 3 am, is a telltale sign of the liver struggling. 

Why the Liver Struggles

The liver has a really important job to do in the body. First it has to break down what we eat and drink (which is an even bigger job if we are eating too much sugar, refined grains, processed foods, or saturated fats). Then, it has to deal with the toxins that enter the body in various forms. It’s estimated that our environment contains 80,000 – 100,000 chemicals and dozens of heavy metals. If we combine an unhealthy diet with exposure to chemicals and heavy metals, the liver is going to struggle to process the toxins and get them out of the body. 

How We’re Exposed to Toxins Daily

It’s almost impossible to avoid being exposed to toxins in our modern world. Here are some of the most common ways we’re exposed to toxins daily: 

  1. Water: Water is a common source of toxins for many of us (even filtered water can still contain some trace metals, chemicals, medications, parasites, radiation and other contaminants). Even when drinking highly filtered water, you can still be exposed by bathing in the unfiltered water. 
  2. Air: Our indoor air (at home and our place of work) may contain chemicals from the cleaning products and air fresheners. Outside, the air has toxins from pollution (both car exhaust and manufacturing).
  3. Food: Not only do we have to worry about the pesticides used on our foods but also the fertilizers that were in the soil the food was grown in. Cadmium is commonly used in fertilizer. Soil may also be tainted with leaded gas and other toxins. 
  4. Beauty Products: Many of the things we use everyday (shampoo, soap, skin cream, makeup) contain toxic ingredients. The skin processes these differently than if they were ingested – these toxins don’t have the benefit of being filtered and exported by the liver. 

Start by Avoiding Toxins

The first step in detoxification is to decrease exposure to toxins. There’s no point in cleansing the liver if it is still having to deal with daily inundation of toxins. While it may seem like an impossible task, given how bombarded we are with toxins, it is possible to decrease your exposure. 

  • Drink well filtered water. 
  • Select primarily organic produce. 
  • Reduce (or eliminate) processed foods. 
  • Use clean beauty products (make sure they’re really clean and not green-washed). 

Get Tested for Heavy Metals and Toxins

In order to properly fix the problem, you need to see the whole picture. There are certain heavy metals you want to test for. Mercury is the most likely culprit causing sleep disorders. Mercury toxicity can come from a variety of sources, including shellfish, large migratory fish (like Tuna), the old fillings in your teeth, even the air we breathe so it’s an important one to be tested for. 

Traditional Liver Tests May Not Tell the Whole Story

Understanding the strain your liver is under, isn’t always fully revealed through the liver test a traditional doctor might do. These tests are useful in confirming that there is an issue with the liver, but it doesn’t point to which function the liver is struggling to perform. There are two phases of function for the liver. First it must process or detox the toxins and then it must expel or excrete them. If you don’t know which of these functions need support, then you can’t properly treat the issue. 

Tests for Liver Health

Wendy likes to use genetic testing for solving questions about the liver. While the test itself is not going to tell you what’s going on right now, the data can be input to diagnostic apps like (Sterling’s App) to understand whether you might have the genes that could result in your liver needing more support. Other tests for liver function include testing hair, urine, or stool. 

How to do a Liver Cleanse

There are two approaches to the liver cleanse, but both start with decreasing exposure. After that, you can work with a health practitioner who can conduct tests so that the cleanse can be laser focused on specific toxins. Wendy says that there is the option of doing a ‘shotgun’ approach where you do a general cleanse targeting most likely culprits. Most liver cleanses involve a dietary shift, specific supplements for liver flushing and gallbladder flushing, and may also include a daily coffee enema. Finally, it’s good to sweat. Sweat helps carry toxins out but not all sweat is created equal. When you’re sweating due to exercise you’re in sympathetic mode (fight or flight mode) and you need to be in parasympathetic mode of rest, relaxation, digestive state in order to detox. Infrared saunas are good for this. 

Detox reactions while Cleansing

Some people experience detox reactions when doing a liver cleanse. This may be because they don’t generate enough bile to assist in the excretion of the toxins or because the body is overcome with the process of the detox. Sometimes, the body may release one toxin first which can result in an imbalance that the body is not used to. It’s important to take it slowly and be patient. The body will release toxins as it’s ready. Some people don’t detox very well. For those people, it’s important to work with a professional so that you can be testing as you go and targeting strategically. 

Mystery Solved

In Valerie’s case, the clues led us right to excess exposure to toxins and heavy metals. Before we could treat this issue, we had to correct what had caused the problem. There is no point in detoxing if you’re continuing to be exposed to toxins. We adjusted her diet by dramatically reducing the amount of processed food she was eating and added in whole grains, more fruits and veggies. She started to select more organic food especially when it came to her meat and dairy choices. We also removed toxins from her daily routine by shifting away from some of the personal care products and cleaning products she was using. She immediately felt lighter and more energetic and she hadn’t even started the cleanse. 

To help her get back to a better sleep pattern, we started the detoxification process with a product called Bitter X. And, because we had insights thanks to her DNA tests, we knew we had to include B vitamins because her body was genetically predisposed to hang on to toxins. After  a month of building her body up for the cleanse, we were able to effectively detoxify using the push catch detox system. 

Happy Ending

By understanding all of the contributing factors to her issue, we were able to treat the problem in stages. Valerie was ecstatic to be sleeping through the night again. The issue is less likely to arise now that she has cleaned up her diet and her environment but I suggested that she repeat the cleanse in 6 months and then put it in her calendar as an annual habit. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

For Valerie, we were able to find those missing pieces of the health puzzle and help her get back to consistently enjoying a full night of rejuvenating sleep. Could toxins and heavy metals be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? 

Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest Wendy Myers.  She mentioned her step-by-step guide to coffee enemas which you can find here. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook. Or, through her website: https://myersdetox.com/

Suggested Products:

Bitter X

L 5 MTHF

B12 ND

Push Catch Detox

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