Mr. Sandman Revisited

 , By Ronald Howard Livingston
on Saturday, July, 02 2011 08:41:00 pm   , 1279 words  
Categories: Uncategorized , 25563 views

(Part 2 of 3) [Part 1 , Part  3]

In the previous segment of this article on insomnia, I mentioned food ingredients that cause me to not be able to fall asleep. Briefly, here are a few comments about each ingredient I mentioned earlier, as well as two I forgot to list, BHA and BHT.

Anything processed and preserved potentially can have chemicals that I really shouldn't have.
For example: Grocery stores used to have meat cutters (they were regarded as expensive, mostly union, labor) so, anymore, stores like Wal-Mart buy meat already cut but preserved in or with chemicals called sodium phosphates. I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat as much meat as I used to, mostly because you can't get really fresh and wholesome meat anymore. I buy meat only at stores that hire meat cutters and get their meat as carcasses and cut it there in the store. It's fresh meat, not preserved. At Wal-Mart you'll see meat that is real, real red and in little sealed "caskets," with cellophane stretched real tight across the top (like a drum), and you'll see that sodium phosphate solution at the bottom, under the meat. Sodium phosphates (mono-, di, and tri-) are used for a variety of industrial purposes. As I recall, their use in foods began about when sodium nitrate was found to be carcinogenic and banned from use in food. Sodium phosphates are commonly found in processed meats and baked goods. They are found in some brands of baking powder. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is available in most hardware stores in crystalline form, for use as a de-greaser and cleaning agent to prepare surfaces for painting (yummy!)

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is put in lots of foods: mostly in processed meats and baked goods. It is a taste enhancer to make people think the food is actually better than it really is (like cooks who over-salt their bad cooking, or use too many spices). Some people call MSG an "excitotoxin."

Calcium Disodium EDTA and Disodium EDTA are used to make vegetables in cans have the color they had before they were cooked and canned! The canners seem to think people will like their veggies better if they don't look so cooked. (Strange, but I always like my cooked food to look cooked!)

TBHQ (tertiary butyl hydroquinone), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are antioxidants used to make crisp foods (like cookies and crackers) not go stale. (I believe they used to put this stuff in the cardboard around the food instead of in it!)

Speaking of antioxidants, some vitamins that are antioxidants (namely Vitamin C) are put into foods in huge quantities. Some fruit juices have so much that one serving (an average sized drinking glass) has 70 to 100% of the vitamin you'd need for a whole day! Just what you need right before turning in for the night! Some cereals are so over-saturated with supplemental vitamins that they are even advertised as such: for example, (being silly here) "New!: Complete Cereal---one bowl has more vitamins than you'll need in ten lifetimes!"

I avoid taking any kind of minerals or vitamin supplements in the evening. A zinc tablet at night will be a sure ticket to insomnia. Ditto, a magnesium tablet. (I take the latter because coastal Texas water is soft water, and people in areas with hard water tend to, on average, live longer considerably. Also, magnesium chelates the blood so that one doesn't get calcium kidney stones, a problem I've had in the past. Incidentally, soy can lead to kidney stones, another reason to avoid it.) I think one's body in the late evening tries to slow down the metabolism, and any strange dosage of anything, even natural (but large amounts of) nutrients, just revs it back up. (I can't even eat an orange close to bedtime because it just has too much of a Vitamin C kick. Ditto with cranberry juice!)

 

Transdermal reactions:

 

Bizarre food ingredients are not the only elements involved in my insomnia. I have identified several things that affect me merely by skin contact. I have found that shampooing my hair at night is a surefire way to loose sleep. The problem largely is all the weird chemicals in most shampoos, but I even have the problem when I wash my hair with a very plain clean-rinsing soap. So I "theorize" that somehow just the removal of the body oils on the skin somehow causes some sort of transdermal effect of soap, so I wash my hair in the a.m., so that by night whatever the effect from washing it, it will be abated by bedtime.

I have found that highly perfumed laundry detergents cause me problems, so I wash my clothes in as plain a detergent as possible, one that is free of perfumes or dyes. I also don't use fabric softeners (these are loaded with perfumes). I'll stay out of a room that has been sprayed with air fresheners until the smell dies down, so that I won't be breathing perfumes into my metabolism. (I prefer to "freshen" the air inside with just good ol' clean air through open widows and vacuuming.)
I don't pump gas at night. If I get a wiff while I'm pumping it, I can count on a sleepless night. Diesel: I can't get it on me any at all after noon. If so, I can't wipe or wash it off fast enough. No sleep! (Hmm, I wonder about biodiesel?)

Over stress of delicate nerves (neck, shoulders, wrists, fingers) is another way to scare away the sandman. I pointed out my problems with fibromyalgia in an earlier blog.* There are several interconnections with that condition, my insomnia, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In fact, I get tinnitus when I've eaten the wrong things (the aforementioned things). Sodium phosphates...tinnitus. Soy...tinnitus. Work too much on the computer...tinnitus. It's all very consistent. Whenever I've eaten something I shouldn't have or got something on me I shouldn't have, like diesel, I get tinnitus. I get tinnitus and insomnia when I've stressed delicate nerves too much. This is one reason I don't hold a book at night when I'm reading. I'll either read it flat or prop it up on my chest with the blanket. Also, weird, I read at night with cotton gloves on so as not to get transdermal soy inks into my bloodstream. I have a set of The New Handbook of Texas, in which I have eight articles published. (My ancestor, William C. Gill, was at the Battle of San Jacinto. I'm seventh generation Texan. My family has been right here in this and an adjacent county since 1831.) If I so much as touch those books, I don't sleep! (So, at night if I am researching, I go online to look up stuff that's in books right there at the head of my bed!)

Some people suggest weird stuff like don't listen to the world's problems on t. v. or radio before you go to sleep. I really don't think emotions (except in really extreme cases) keep us up. In fact, t.v. and, to a lesser extent, talk (i.e., snooze) radio just lull me right to sleep. People seem to have the cart before the horse: they stay up "worrying" about stuff because there's nothing much else to do if they have insomnia (HELLO!). That doesn't mean that what they think about is what is keeping them up; it's all the environmental and physical factors such as I've listed.


Continued (Next time: Things I take when I have a bit of trouble falling asleep...yep Chamomile tea...!)

 

*This article first appeared on February 4, 2007, as a blog entry in my Y!360 social-networking blog.

 

[Part 1 , Part 3]

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