Sleep and illness:
This site is intended to help you improve your sleep so you will live better and be heathier. Medical problems are not an inevitable time-related deterioration of the body. They are not just from “bad habits”. When we sleep normally we repair every night. We are, and have always been self-repairing beings. When we moved indoors and began to avoid the sun a cascade of events, starting with low vitamin D, changed our bodies. There are several, linked vitamin deficiencies that result from our current “indoor life”. Those deficiencies affect our brain’s ability to complete its most important daily responsibility; normal deep sleep.
I have been helping patients improve their sleep for 10 years, first with sleep apnea masks then sleeping pills and finally with a combination of vitamins. In 2009 I made the accidental discovery that vitamin D deficiency is directly related to sleep problems. (“The world epidemic of sleep disorders is linked to vitamin D deficiency.” Med Hypotheses. 2012 Aug;79(2):132-5. In 2013 I discovered that vitamin D deficiency results in a change in the intestinal bacteria that make and supply our B Vitamins. (“Vitamin D deficiency changes the intestinal microbiome reducing B vitamin production in the gut….” Med Hypotheses. 2016 Sep;94:103-7) Surprisingly, our intestinal bacteria and the vitamins they make are related to our sleep.
Old and new ideas about vitamins:
It’s important to remember that animals lived on this planet for millions of years before humans created the word “vitamin”. The squirrels in my backyard are not taking vitamins, and they were goofing around outside and missed Ms. Shemanski’s 8th grade class about the “healthy diet” too! What you’ll learn on this site is that most sleep disorders are related to a combination of D and B vitamin deficiencies that have become epidemic since we’ve moved indoors. But once the deficiencies are fixed I believe that the final outcome should be that we don’t need vitamin supplements. The biology of our bodies was perfect without taking any supplements while we still lived outdoors and ate a varied diet. So my ideas are somewhat different than those who suggest a better life through vitamins. I believe we achieve a better life through better sleep and that vitamin supplements are good for those who are deficient but can hurt those who aren’t. I believe that we still have a lot to learn about vitamins and what constitutes a “normal”vitamin blood level. I have proposed new ideas that you will not read elsewhere, especially about vitamin D and pantothenic acid. They are based on my patient’s observations as well as scientific articles that have been overlooked or forgotten. The current dogma: ” You can’t hurt yourself with the B vitamins because we just urinate out the excess” is absolutely not true in reference to pantothenic acid (B5) or pyridoxine (B6). So you have a lot to learn, and it’s worth knowing the details, because believe it or not vitamins can hurt you!
I also disagree with the current dogma that more expensive supplements are better. The idea of “not absorbing” cheaper vitamins is a real observation, but there’s a reason for it. Severely vitamin D deficient patients do not produce enough stomach acid to dissolve vitamins, or normal food for that matter. The secretion of stomach acid and the strength of the stomach sphincters are both linked to vitamin D, therefore with a good vitamin D level the acid increases and stays in the stomach, where it belongs, to allow you to dissolve even inexpensive, generic vitamins. Humans were designed to be able to dissolve raw meat so we can surely dissolve a vitamin. I will not be selling you expensive vitamin preparations. Everything on this site can be purchased easily at a routine pharmacy in your neighborhood.
Vitamin D, poor sleep and chronic illness:
Sleep is something we have absolutely no control over, it controls us. When all humans lived outdoors we slept from sundown to sunup. Except for infections and injuries medical problems didn’t begin until the elderly years. In the 1970’s when air conditioning and sunscreen came we stopped making vitamin D on our skin from the sun. When the vitamin D went down our sleep became worse. When the sleep started to fail new problems appeared; sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. Things that were uncommon became common; autism, ADD, infertility, premature delivery, depression, new allergies. Diseases that used to appear only in the elderly began to appear in the young; heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, autoimmune disease, arthritis, chronic pain, neuropathy, depression, constipation, insomnia, tremor, balance problems and diabetes, just to name a few.
Can it be fixed?
Yes, but it’s complicated and can take months to years. Vitamins don’t fix the body, sleep fixes the body. People who have been sick a long time have not slept normally for even longer! This means that each person has their own time-line of improvement. It’s only by focusing on the many things that help you sleep better that the above described diseases can be slowly reversed. RightSleep® uses a specific vitamin regimen but also follows a conceptual framework: Normal Sleep = Repair, Abnormal Sleep leads to disease. If you read the” Sleep” and “Vitamins and Sleep” pages completely you will have all the information you need to do this yourself, but it takes commitment, good observation and good records over time to keep your sleep as perfect as possible for months and years on end. You will need to keep careful records of your vitamin D blood levels and how much D you were taking. Carefully record the timing of your dosing of B50 and your multivitamin’s doses of B’s. You will need to correlate the details of what supplements you were taking to your observations about your sleep and your symptoms over time. These suggestions are not meant to replace your medications. But if better sleep means that your medical problems start to improve, you can speak to your doctor about reducing medications.
Sleep and Neurological problems:
Most neurological disorders are genetic disorders, inherited, there since we were born. Tremor, epilepsy, migraine, vertigo, depression, Parkinson’s and anxiety are all things that travel in families and are related to gene mutations. All of them begin to show up when our sleep goes bad. During deep sleep we make the chemicals that run our brain. The chemicals that keep us from shaking or seizing or having headaches, are made while we sleep. When we don’t sleep normally our chemicals don’t get replenished and we start operating on the edge of normal, then we start to malfunction. Each of us has our own inherited weaknesses that show up once we don’t sleep normally. You can help improve all of these neurological problems by improving your sleep.
Drugs and Sleep:
Sleeping medications are not dangerous when used intelligently. They work because they copy the chemicals our brain uses to sleep. Some of you will only be able to achieve normal sleep by using medication. Although sleep disorders result from vitamin D deficiency simply replacing the vitamins will not make you sleepy. If you have been sleeping badly for years your sleep switches have years of inadequate repair. Vitamins are the building blocks of repair, but the repairs cannot happen while we’re awake! In order to repair we must sleep, even if it’s by using a sleep medication. Once you start to make your own sleep chemicals you won’t need the medication and you’ll be able to taper off. Don’t be afraid to use every single method at your disposal to sleep. If you need a sleep apnea mask or an oral appliance ( a mouthpiece that your dentist can make to move the jaw forward during sleep) to stay in deep sleep then that is what you need. I do not spend a lot of time on this site telling you about your bedroom. There are already many popular sites telling you where and how you should sleep. Use all of those suggestions if they help you. If they don’t, then try something else, try the vitamins that I suggest. Keep trying things until you find a combination that allows you to fall asleep, stay asleep and feel good in the morning.
Everything I have posted on this site comes from my patients’ observations about their bodies. Our bodies did not come with a User’s Manual so the only absolute truth in medicine is your observation of your own body. Hopefully these ideas will help you, and you will sleep better and feel better. See the FAQ section for a quick overview.
About Dr. Walter Stumpf:
Many of my ideas about vitamin D are based upon the extensive scientific work of Dr. Walter Stumpf who passed away at the end of 2012. He was an amazing scientist who single-handedly clarified one of the most important aspects of our endocrine system. Despite the widespread skepticism of his colleagues he continued to believe in the validity of his concept of “soltriol”. His many journal articles describe Vitamin D’s actions, and its integration into our endocrine system made up of a triad of gonadal, adrenal and dermal steroids. Together we added the idea that soltriol is also necessary for normal sleep.