Sleep: Staying Friends With the Sandman

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Thursday, June, 30 2011 09:11:00 pm   , 1167 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 41068 views

All of my adult life, I have had problems sleeping. Knock wood, I have it very much under control now. It's even safe to say that I have "cured" myself of the condition. My problems with insomnia began during late adolescence and have greatly, negatively impacted my life. I went to doctors several times about the situation and my problem was always treated as a temporary bout; thus I was only occasionally put on any medications. One particular, fruitless doctor-visit gave me the resolve to once and for all discover the cause of my sleeplessness and to rectify the situation for good. Except for my answers given on Yahoo!Answers and in a few notes to people met through Yahoo!Answers and Y!360, this* is the first time I've really gone into detail about my insomnia. For over a thirty year period, no doctor ever correctly diagnosed my problem: I discovered most of what I mention herein myself. I'm not ludicrously taking credit for discovering the negative effects of caffeine or MSG, but I am listing them with other things that I have found have caused problems for me. Thus, this blog is to explain what I have found concerning chemical sensitivities in the hope that others will be helped from my listing of the things that I know cause me not to sleep.

Insomnia is a very complicated matter, and much attention is given to it in the media. Unfortunately, such coverage is often simplistic and usually involves the silly subject of "sleep hygiene," which is just obvious suggestions such as "Sleep with the lights off," "Go to bed at a particular time," and "Get comfortable." Oh, please, as if most of us don't instinctively know all that! Indeed, to suggest that someone can not sleep because of turning in late a few nights is silly and totally misses the mark. So, here's a side of the story the media (except for its usual mention of caffeine) never covers.

I began to have trouble sleeping at about age 17. That's not much after I began to drink coffee at times in the evenings (not then really being concerned by its effects). I remember going to school a few times with no sleep at all (oh, the joy of p.e. after no sleep!). A diagnoses then would have been rather simple---lay off the coffee except for in the mornings. I'm sure that another culprit, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) was responsible for my losing sleep some of those nights, but it wasn't as much an additive in foods then as it is today. Another contributing factor to my insomnia then was fluoride (only I wasn't aware of its effects then). At that time, my family lived in a small town that had fluoridated water. Also, the stuff even then was in most toothpastes (today you can't buy toothpaste without that stuff in it). As I'll mention later, I've found ways to cope: for example, I brush my teeth during the day with toothpaste, but in the evenings with just a bit of baking soda.

My big-time problems with insomnia began with the introduction into the American diet of (excuse me while I scowl...!) soybeans. (Gosh, if I had the power to make just one thing extinct...!) Oh, the mighty soybean was the agricultural darling of the '70's. Agribusiness was in love! They started putting that junk into everything. Now vegetarians could get their protein and obese people could lay off meat and consequently the fat that was causing "all" their problems. Yeah, right, and business could get richer by putting something as cheap (and tasty) as dirt in our food! Today, you can hardly buy a loaf of bread made without soy flour! I can eat food that has soy oil in it, so whatever is in soybeans that causes insomnia for me is in the solids. I particularly have a problem with soy lecithin. (The body's nerve tissues contains phosphatides called lecithin! So I wonder, is the lecithin from these beans that make me hyper somehow reacting with the lecithin in my nerves? The dictionary says that these phosphatides are found in nerve tissue, blood, milk, egg yolk, soybeans, corn, etc., and that they are used as a wetting, emulsifying, and penetrating agent. Oh, goody, soybean lecithin penetrating my nerves!) [**Read this article for the solution to the soybean riddle just posed herein: It explains why I was not able to sleep due to ingestion of soybean solids---because soy flour and other soy solids are processed with MSG!  I came across this herein-cited article just shortly after I had first* posted this blog on my Y!360 site, along with a few others that basically stated that soy solids and certain acids are placed into aluminum tubs or vats along with MSG to kill the bean taste, thereby making it possible to make a flour that can be used to replace more expensive wheat flour.  (Or hydrolysis is used in place of acids. At any rate, MSG is used in processing the soy flour.) So, for several years now I have eaten bread made with wheat flour and avoid bread made using soy flour or containing any soy solids, such as soy lecithin.]

I've been a "health nut" most of my life. I was given a copy of Organic Gardening and Farming magazine at age 17, and became something of a fanatic about naturally grown foods. After years of coping the best I could with three (sometimes even four) nights a week with no sleep at all, I went to a family practitioner after my regular doctor had moved. This guy was absolutely certain that I was merely a druggie trying to rip him off of a prescription for drugs. After I made the comment that my father had just passed away but I didn't think that emotional upset was causing what was a much longer-existing problem, he gave me a prescription! (I'm sure he was just looking for the right angle through which to just cover his ***!) I was furious, I reasoned that if coffee could keep people awake, why couldn't other things. I threw the prescription away and came home and emptied the trash so I could read food labels. The highly-processed turkey and gravy I had eaten the night before was loaded with MSG. Since then I have read food labels and have identified the following as ingredients to avoid: mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), sodium phosphates, disodium edta [look for this in canned goods---it's to give your cooked veggies a phony-looking raw color---hmm, I always wanted my cooked food to look cooked!], calcium disodium edta [also used in can-goods and was for quite some time used in 7-Up], and TBHQ. Besides these chemicals, I've also found that I have to be careful of eating in the evenings heavily vitamin- and mineral-laced foods, such as cereals, fruit drinks, and so on.


(Continued in next blog.) [Part 2 , Part 3]


*This article first appeared on February 3, 2007, as a blog entry in my Y!360 social-networking blog.

1 comment

Comment from: Rei [Visitor]
ReiRon, I can't get to your Multiply page! Anyway, I read the article you linked to, and it seems as though it's not that soy products are processed with msg, but that msg is a by-product of hydrolysis of soy protein. I am guessing that glutamic acid is a component of soy proteins, and that when the protein is hydrolized, it breaks down into the glutamate salt. End effect is the same, but the process is different.
07/12/11 @ 00:48

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