Waking up in the morning with congestion or headaches are telltale signs that your home may be housing mold counts above what is healthy. Most people, and some doctors nowadays, when the symptoms are upper respiratory or sinus-related, do consider allergens and sometimes mold as the cause. But, when you are having sleep problems, like not getting quality sleep, and are chronically tired, or are experiencing actual insomnia, do you consider mold?
I never did.
But, after I got really sick from the mold in our home and linked it with my chronic fatigue and terrible sleep patterns, I spoke with my doctor and countless other naturopaths and holistic practitioners and found out that what I was experiencing is quite common amongst mold patients. Further, for those same professionals, who know mold, when a patient presents with sudden sleeplessness and/or insomnia, mold and other environmental toxins are often their first causal consideration.
Sleep is supposed to be the body’s healing and recovery time. During sleep, we become disengaged from our surroundings, our muscles relax, breathing slows, blood pressure and body temperature drops, tissues grow and repair, growth hormone is released, energy is restored, and our brains get rid of toxic byproducts that could later lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s as we age. In other words, sleep is important and your body needs quality sleep for performance, health and longevity.
So, what happens to your sleep when your body is disrupted by mold?
Well, for starters, you don’t get as much of it. When faced with mold and all of the other microbes and toxins that we now know accompany mold, things can happen inside of the body that disrupt normal sleep patterns: racing heart, migraines, acid reflux, low thyroid, hormonal instability, elevated toxic load, inflammation, and breathing difficulties—sleep apnea in extreme cases due to nasal congestion or asthma, just to name a few. In other words, your body becomes a mess, and the more time you spend in the bedroom tryng to sleep, chances are, the sicker you are getting and the less you are sleeping.
Here are some additional links between mold, its influence on the body, and how that leads to sleep issues and possible mental health issues down the line:
(Note: These symptoms would likely only occur after a pronounced or prolonged mold exposure, or if the person had a significant toxic load prior to the exposure. I am not advising self-diagnosis for any sleep issues you may be having. I am just trying to share helpful scientific information that could lead you and your doctors to the actual cause of some mold- and sleep-related symptoms.)
- Mold-toxic brains produce excessive levels glutamate and PEA. Both are powerful electrifying brain chemicals that are anti-aging when at normal levels. But, when increased activation of glutamate and PEA nerve receptors throughout the body produces an over-electrified nervous system, insomnia, hair loss, and anxiety result. Mold-toxic patients experience a gradual progression as they slowly accumulate more mold toxins. In the most severe cases of mold toxicity, bipolar symptoms of rage and paranoia emerge.
- As a result of their hyperactive nervous systems, anxiety and lack of sleep, many undiagnosed mold victims also develop addiction issues. The patients feel desperate, suffering from over-electrified brains, and self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to calm down and sometimes to try to sleep.
- When a brain becomes mold-toxic, it can’t properly stimulate its primary hormonal factory in the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland. Insufficient pituitary secretions result in hormonal deficiencies in the downstream hormone factories — the thyroid, adrenals, and the sex organs. As a result, mold patients are often depressed, and plagued with weight gain, low cortisol, low sex drive, and chronic fatigue. The chronic fatigue and lethargy are then attributed to the person’s insomnia, rather than the other way around. Sleep and fixing the sleeplessness with medication becomes the priority and no one considers mold as the cause.
So, if you are suddenly unable to fall asleep, have disrupted sleep, or are unable to sleep at all, you may want to consider toxins in your environment as the possible cause. Mold, if the counts are high enough and the kinds of mold present are mycotoxin-producing, can cause health problems pretty swiftly.
To look into mold, I recommend going ahead and testing your home. You can easily purchase mold test plates online from MicroBalance, or from your local hardware or home improvement store. Make sure to specifically test your bedroom. If you are spending 1/3 of your life sleeping, you are spending a lot of your indoor time in that room. It is important for the air quality in it to be good. You can also do things, like have your HVAC inspected for mold. This will pinpoint a mold problem that could be unseen, but very harmful.
Whether you find mold or not, definitely seek professional help from trusted professionals, medical, holistic or naturopathic, who you trust with your health. Sleep is important to good health for your body and mind. You cannot function properly without it, and investigating why you aren’t sleeping may unveil other, more serious health issues that you need to address.
In the meantime, tips I have for creating a “mold safe” sleeping space are as follows:
- Invest in a proven, high-quality air purifier for your bedroom, like an IQ Air or the recently introduced MoleKule that has a whole new technology, making it an air sanitizer as well. These machines also lessen dust levels, so that will prevent mold as well.
- Make sure, if you have a bathroom connected to your bedroom, that it has a working ventilation fan to pull any moisture out of the bathroom to the outside. If moisture is getting into your bedroom every time you shower, you could be elevating the humidity enough to create a mold problem. As you can see in the picture, we had to install a fan in our bathroom that had a higher CFM, because the ceiling is vaulted. If you would like some tips on finding the right bathroom fan for your space, you can read my post on that HERE.
- Practice some mold-preventative “bedroom hygiene.”
- This includes stripping your bed once a week and washing all sheets and pillowcases in hot water with a mild detergent and EC3 Laundry Additive.
- Once a week, you should also be HEPA vacuuming the floors in your bedroom and misting your comforter, furnishings and rugs with a mold treatment and preventative, like the EC3 Mold Spray.
- Shower at night BEFORE you get into bed. This will remove any mold spores from your hair or body that you picked up from the day. It will lessen any possibility of contaminating your sheets, pillow, or mattress with mold allergens.
- Use a cellular and hormonal support supplement, like CellTropin, daily to enhance cell turnover and to assist your endocrine system and pituitary gland. That way, the systems in your body that most affect your sleep when compromised by mold or other toxins will have additional reinforcement.
Please comment here or on the Facebook page if you have any tips, a similar story of mold-related sleeping issues. It is definitely a topic that is not discussed as much as it should be.