Do you find yourself tossing and turning in bed because you can’t get to sleep at night? Do you wake up during the night? Sleeping problems, often referred to as insomnia, are challenges that impact over 60% of Americans according to the National Sleep Foundation's 2011 report. Insomnia is a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. Sleep is essential because it is the time our bodies rejuvenate, restore, and recover from our daily activities. When we are deprived of sleep over a period of several days to several weeks it can impact our well-being to varying degrees.
Let me give you some examples of how you might feel when you don’t get enough sleep: tired, irritable, unable to tolerate stressful situations, and seeing a decrease in your productivity level. Your immune system can become compromised, and you may start having frequent infections, alterations in appetite, or breathing problems. Impaired sleep can cause an inability to lose weight, can cause behavioral learning problems as well as social problems in you or your children. If your body is already healing from another health condition, lack of proper sleep can actually act as an additional stressor from the body.
Many factors could be impacting your ability to get good sleep: mental stresses, anxiety, depression, fluctuations in hormonal levels, medications, or food choices. Stress is a common cause of sleep problems. Some mental health conditions also have insomnia as one of the symptoms of their disease picture. Insomnia tends to increase with age, so people over 60 tend to have more bouts of insomnia. Women are more likely to suffer from insomnia because of hormonal shifts and fluctuations. These shifts can occur because of our menstrual cycle or the transition into perimenopause or menopause. Most often these shifts show up in the form of night sweats, hot flashes, or both. I have noticed that women who experience adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion can also suffer from night sweats that can impact their sleep cycle as well.
Some medications for heart conditions, asthma conditions, pain, depression, anti-smoking, ADHD, thyroid, and cold and flu can interrupt quality sleep. If you think your sleep problems are related your medications, talk to your doctor to see if adjustments can be made to improve your sleep. Finally, food choices can impact your sleep too. Eating or drinking alcohol before sleep can cause interrupted sleep.
To create better quality sleep look at what may be underlying causes of the sleep disturbance. Work with your naturopathic or conventional doctor to help you solve that problem, get better sleep, and begin the healing process. For example if you have hormonal problems treat those and as they improve so will your sleep.
Live Vibrantly and Sleep well.
[box type="info"]Dr. Dae mantains a private practice and see patients as a naturopathic physician. If you are interested in becoming a patient, know that Dr Dae also offers services via Skype and through phone consultations. Her office phone is 202-248-1907 or email her with questions drdae@ healthydaes.org[/box]