"Well, duh," you may be thinking! This should be a no-brainer, but evidently, it is not. I neglected treating this very important aspect of my health for a long time and paid dearly for it. This is important and it's coming from personal experience. I'll get into that story more in a bit. But anyways, if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, your health is already more delicate than the average person. Not getting enough sleep can push your body that is already struggling in various ways over the edge. You can eat all the kale, focus on gut health, do the best cleanses etc etc etc, but if you're not getting enough rest, you simply can not heal.
This is especially a problem in American culture, where running on fumes is considered a rite of passage into adulthood. It's always more, more, more, leaving no time for shut eye. Many even boast about doing life on a few hours of sleep, as if it's an accomplishment. Now, I'm not talking about the occasional sleepless night or special circumstance. Having young children also presents special challenges. What I am saying though, is do what you have to do, but make sleep a priority in your life, even if it means making changes. Specifically 7-8 hours is recommended, but what your body needs may vary.
As for my personal experience with this topic...there was a period of time when I struggled with insomnia so badly that 3-5 hours of sleep was considered a good night. I would often get as little as 1.5 hours or even none at all when my symptoms were really in full swing. I would rarely get more than 6. I otherwise led a relatively healthy lifestyle. I had a healthy diet, exercised regularly, didn't drink, and even took methylated B vitamins. However, after about 7 months of living in that sleepless hellhole, I crashed and crashed hard. I had battled with multiple MRSA infections years prior to my bout with insomnia, but thought I was on the other side. After reaching a certain level of sleep deprivation, though, the MRSA came back with a roaring vengeance.
The thing was, how I contracted it was mysterious. I tested negative as being a carrier. I did not have an open wound. The infection rapidly progressed into cellulitis, requiring drastic medical intervention. The conditions that led up to this happening were consistent with someone with a very poorly functioning immune system.
The best connection that my doctors (including my integrative physician) can make is that the combination of having a homozygous MTHFR gene mutation (along with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease) and not getting adequate sleep lowered my immune function to dangerous levels. I saw a sleep neurologist, who helped me to treat my insomnia without going on any medication! Once I began sleeping 7-8 hours a night on a regular basis (along with other healthy lifestyle changes), I have not had a MRSA infection since, and it’s been over 3 years.
This is something I will always have to be cognizant of, as I know that not getting enough rest puts me at risk of having a relapse. I still have the occasional restless night here and there. Special circumstances still pop up that require me to forgo shut eye. However, I will now always prioritize sleep!
All of this is to say - please take this tip seriously! I wish I would have had my insomnia professionally addressed before having a terrible MRSA relapse. I know getting enough sleep seems like a very elementary concept, but it was literally life-saving for me, and it could be for you too.