Have you ever lain in bed at night only to watch the clock turn to 1:00 am, 2:00 am and all the way until just before the alarm goes off to start another day? It’s the reason the phrase “the longest night of my life” was invented! Do you fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow only to wake at 2:00 in the morning and just decide you are up for the day? Do you wish you could be Sleeping Beauty and have a fairy put a spell on you for at least one night? Insomnia or sleep deprivation hits all of us once in awhile but is affecting more and more people now than ever. Getting a good nights sleep is the single most important thing we need for a healthy life.
There are many reasons why a lack of sleep can affect our health. The good news is we can change some habits and overcome almost all of them to create a restful deep sleep night after night.
Repercussions of insomnia are more than just feeling out of it or cranky the next day. Because our bodies’ repair and our cells regenerate when we are sleeping, it is vital to our regular cycle of life to allow this to happen.
Dr Mark Hyman writes in his book, The Ultramind Solution, “ Our bodies and biological rhythms, which keep us healthy, produce cyclic pulses of healing and repair hormones, including melatonin and growth hormone. When those rhythms are disturbed by inadequate or insufficient sleep, disease and breakdown get the upper hand. Sleep also helps us maintain optimal levels of cortisol-the stress hormone that makes us depressed and fat.”
Stimulants and stress are 2 main reasons we can’t sleep. Stimulants should be the easiest thing to correct. Caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol are all mood-altering drugs. We take them to get moving in the morning and to relax at night. All 4 are addictive AND they are the main reason we can’t sleep. Cutting back or best of all eliminating them will get you to sleep. When you hear someone has 4 or 5 cups of coffee a day and then has insomnia… no more questions need to be asked. If you are under stress in any area of your life these stimulants only add to that by disrupting your hormones like Dr Hyman says. If your child can’t get to sleep at night because he was allowed to much sugar to late, you start eliminating it early in the day or altogether. If we would do this for our child we should obviously do it for ourselves as well.
Women are the biggest risk for insomnia. Again it is usually due to hormonal changes plus as we age we just don’t require as much sleep. Taking charge of your hormone issues will dramatically improve sleep as well.
Other more serious illnesses and conditions like asthma, heart disease and neurological disorders can cause insomnia. There are different kinds of insomnia as well. Liver and Adrenal issues cause sleep disturbance that wakes you the same time every night. Finding the best way to cope and heal those issues also improves sleep. When these conditions are left untreated, ignored or covered up by pharmaceutical drugs it only exaggerates the bad side effects like insomnia. Taking another pharmaceutical drugs to sleep at night only worsens the long term effects of the original disorder. Always getting to the root cause of the symptoms is the best course of action.
We all know and have heard over and over several ways to remedy our sleep disturbances. Most really work and we need to take action and find which ones work best for us as individuals. Create good sleep hygiene.
Lose the stimulants! Keep track of what you use and see if it coincides with a night of no sleep. You wont be surprised they usually go together.
Create routine. Just like our children, we all need a regular bedtime. That routine signals our body to slow down and unwind.
Unwind before bed. Too much on our minds keeps our brain going. Take a hot bath, read a book…. you know the list…. Relax
Unplug. Avoid all electronics before bed. Keep the bedroom free of smart phones, televisions, computers, video games etc. Even moving your clock radio away from your face is better for you.
Eat early…eat healthy. It takes several hours for our dinner to digest. Eating and then going to bed also disrupts sleep as the gut is trying to do its job. Eating real food is just easier on the body so eating processed unhealthy food and going to bed is a double NO-NO. A good example is having Mexican food and a couple of margaritas at 9:00 and then go to bed by 10:00. Not a good idea!
Exercise daily. The results about exercise in our lives is real. If you exercise you are healthier… if you don’t your health will suffer. I will add that if you exercise you will sleep better as well! Exercise can correct all of the above issues. It eases hormone issues, helps to lose weight, cuts your desires for caffeine and sugar. Take a walk or a jog before bed is a great way to unwind, unplug and get the digestion going.
Supplement naturally. Avoid taking a prescription sleep aid drug, which has its own side effects and can be addicting. Use natural whole food and herbal remedies proven to help.
Melatonin… Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in our brain. It helps control sleep and wake cycles in our body. We lose it naturally as we age. You can also find it in small amounts of food such as meat, grains, fruits and vegetables. It is also available as a supplement. Start with a small dose (1-3 mg) before bed . You can also have your melatonin levels checked by saliva testing. Get accurate results and then accurate dosing to make up what your body is lacking.
Cortisol lowering supplements. There are many things here to help. Again saliva testing is the best way to determine what will work for you. Ask the Drs and staff at Emley Chiropractic to help set up testing and get real results to determine everything from adrenal fatigue to liver issues… main causes of insomnia.
Standard Process SP Kava Forte… Kava root calms the nerves, eases tension and stress plus promotes relaxation and sleep.
Natural ZZZ… Orthomolecular Products combine valerian root, jujube seed andL-theanine to promote relaxation, less stress and anxiety and calming effects on the body.
Both of these works like Valium only no harmful side effects or addiction.
Standard Process Cleanse. Doing a 21 day cleanse can be the best way to get started on a regime to end the chronic cycle of unhealthy habits that lead to all of the issues that cause the insomnia. Whether you have never done the cleanse or you want to repeat it every few months… it is a guarantee for successful change.
All of these products and testing are available at Emley Family Chiropractic. To ensure your success the Drs are offering the SP Cleanse at 10% off this month.
We might not have Sleeping Beauty’s fairy to help us sleep but we do have all of the proven elements to design a plan of action. Understanding and addressing your issues, get help and enjoy the rewards of your efforts.
Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com