Sleep, hunger and thirst are all involuntary “feelings”. None of these feelings are under our conscious control. They are run by chemicals from our brain. We learn what to do in response to them in the first few years of life. When we “feel hungry” we learn to eat until we “feel full”, when we “feel thirsty” we learn to drink, until we “don’t feel thirsty”. Attaching these “feelings” to what we do happened so early that we don’t remember the learning process. But it’s important to know that the “feelings“ are not consciously generated by you, they are generated by your body. In other words they are not voluntary, they are “involuntary”. There are people who lose the ability to judge normal thirst and drink too much water. There are people who don’t get the right messages from their stomach and brain so they still feel hungry after eating a large meal. Sleep is involuntary also. People who have normal sleep just lie down and go to sleep. They wake up about 8 hours later feeling great. If this is not what happens to you it’s not because you’re “doing it wrong”, it is because there’s a brain malfunction in the background.
Most of the experts blame the bad sleeper or the sleep environment. “You sleep too much”, “the room is too light”, “you think too much”, “the room is too warm”, “your husband snores”, “you’re on your phone/computer too much”. My experience with over 5000 neurology patients taught me that sleep is not something you can control. You are not doing something wrong, your sleep switches are malfunctioning. Even though you can’t control the sleep switches, (they really control you) you can give them what they need to repair themselves and start working normally again. It is my belief that the sleep disorders that have become epidemic are due to deficiency of a hormone made on our skin from sunlight, vitamin D. Many parts of our body need this hormone. What might surprise you the most is that the bacteria that live in our intestine need our vitamin D. The bacteria that live in our gut are now considered to be an organ of our body. Even though they aren’t really “us” exactly, they do accompany us throughout our life and they are now understood to affect our appetite, our weight, our immune system, and even our sleep. Go to the blog entitled “Healthy Bacteria Healthy Sleep” to learn more.