What if Your Poor Sleep is Not Really Your Fault?

Sleep, hunger, and thirst are all feelings we recognize. But have you ever tried to explain to someone what it feels like to be thirsty? We just assume that every other human has these “feelings” too, but we don’t really think about how they occur. None of them are really under our conscious control. They’re 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 to happened so early in life, 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, they are “involuntary.” If they’re run by chemicals in the brain, then they can get goofed up, just like any other body process. There are people who can’t judge normal thirst and drink too much water. There are people who don’t get the right messages and still feel hungry after eating a large meal. Sleep is involuntary too! 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’s because your brain is malfunctioning.

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 5,000 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.

I believe that sleep disorders have become epidemic because of a deficiency of the 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!  And that the bacteria that live inside us are an important “organ” of our body, like the liver or the kidney. They aren’t really “us” exactly, but they do accompany us throughout our life and they affect our appetite, our weight, our immune system, and even…. our sleep.

Go to the blog Healthy Bacteria Healthy Sleep to learn more.

6 thoughts on “What if Your Poor Sleep is Not Really Your Fault?”

  1. It’s infuriating, the way I am dismissed, by not only people around me, but doctors as well. Nobody believes me, I tell them how exhausted I am and it goes right over their heads. Four years into this and I’ve lost my job, no money, debt and no hope. I’m looking into ways to end this misery now since nothing has worked.

    • Dear Rob:
      I have to admit that I was also an MD = Medically dismissive. Which means if I don’t know about it it must not be a) important or b) real.
      I spent 10 years listening to my patients complaints and finally learned how to fix them. You’ve come to the right place but it’s not simple or without effort. You can do it on your own by ordering the Workbook to guide you or make an appointment with me on the Schedule page.

  2. Does everything you are teaching us about sleep and Vit. D and sleep apply to those of us over 65? If not, what should we do differently? How about my 92 year old father? Thank you so much.

    • Dear Ronda: all of this applies to all ages. The longer you’ve been sleeping badly the longer it takes for the brain to repair itself but aside from that it is the same for each age group.

  3. I strongly agree with your statement, “Most of the experts blame the bad sleeper or the sleep environment.” For my first 70 years of life, I would simply go to bed, shut my eyes, and then fall asleep within a few minutes. But after an episode of iron-deficiency anemia 2 years ago, I’ve had a sleep onset disorder in which I cannot fall asleep until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. no matter when I go to bed. I’ve adjusted all the sleep environment variables suggested by most experts with no success. Dr. Gominak, I just today found your website from viewing your 2017 interview on High Intensity Health’s YouTube channel that shows you think scientifically! Sleep is not my expertise, but I am a retired medical school professor. I see that there is much I can learn from you and your website!

    • Thanks for your comment George, the MD’s who are interested in my concepts are usually those with sleep disorders themselves. Please read more about why your iron deficiency is linked to the loss of your microbiome and how RightSleep can fix that too.


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