By Dr. Jason Barker, ND
Sleep. It seems like there’s never enough, or the quality is poor.
If just the poor quality of life associated with a lack of sleep doesn’t motivate you to seek help, then these statistics just might:
- 20% of Americans have some type of sleep disorder
- 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night
- 20% of car accidents are associated with sleepy drivers
- Sleep deprivation is associated with obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
There are many reasons for insomnia. Stress, diet, pain and hormonal imbalance are the main causes that we see here at Natural Health Associates. But sometimes, its tough to pin a true cause down. Luckily, we have a number of modalities that can get you back to sleeping well!
Here are a few changes you can make to sleep better:
- Diet: Too much sugar later in the day, accompanied by a ‘crash’ in blood sugar can disrupt your sleep patterns. Changing your diet to one that is higher in protein and healthy fats can help you sleep better at night. Our nutritionist and dietitian can help you with dietary changes to improve sleep.
- Alcohol: A glass of wine or beer after dinner is really relaxing, but did you know that alcohol actually inhibits REM sleep? It keeps you from sleeping as deeply. If you have trouble with sleeping, skip the nightcap!
- Do you wake up, wide awake and “on” in the early morning hours 3:30-5am? If so this is a sign that your AM cortisol levels are elevated, signifying an adrenal hormone imbalance.
- If you are ‘tired, but wired’ and can’t fall asleep, this can also signify an elevation in cortisol and an adrenal hormone imbalance.
- Bedroom hygiene: Remove ALL light from your room, including digital clocks. Get some black out shades that fit tightly into your window. Don’t bring your phone into your room at night. No TV or screws, either. The blue light emitted from these devices has been shown to interfere with sleep, big time.
- Herbal teas and essential oils: Our favorite teas are ‘cup of calm’ and ‘tension tamer’. Lavender oil is of course very helpful for sleep and relaxation.
- Consider acupuncture – especially if you notice yourself waking up at the exact same time each night. This can signify there’s an imbalance in your meridians waking you each night
- We have several different natural medicines for sleep too, depending on what the cause of your insomnia stems from. Sleep Easy formula, Theanine, Cortisol Manager, Phosphatidyl Serine and CBD oil can be very effective with minimal side effects.
Don’t let your poor sleep get out of control – get in to see one of our practitioners before your brain becomes habituated to poor sleep patterns. Like many conditions, taking care of them sooner, rather than later is easier!