Why we need sleep
Causes of Insomnia & How to Restore Natural Sleep
Why do we need to sleep?
- We need the repair that sleep provides for our bones and muscles.
- During sleep, important hormones are released, which are critical to vitality and overall growth development human, growth hormone in particular.
- The productivity that sleep returns is well worth the investment that you make in getting
- Sleep provides emotional balance.
- Sleep boosts natural energy.
- Sleep enhances brain function and memory.
- Sleep creates a more relaxed state, reduces cortisol output (stress hormone), and promotes calmer reactions to “stress events.”
Common causes of insomnia:
- Hormonal changes ovary, thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, etc.
- Obesity or weight gain over time.
- Drug, alcohol, or tobacco abuse. Alcohol disrupts the quality of sleep.
- Excess caffeine or other stimulants such as sodas, coffee, tea, chocolate, metabolic or energy boosters with phenlpropanolamine, herbs with ephedra, weight-loss and herbal products that contain gotu kola, and other stimulants. Caffeine has a prolonged effect as you age.
- Medical disorders: COPD, asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism,
adrenal fatigue, chronic pain, and many others.
- Medications: allergy and cold medications, some antihistamines and decongestants, high blood pressure (antihypertensive), heart disease (beta blockers), as well as asthma and pain medications (containing caffeine).
- Life stress, persistent worries, bereavement, post-traumatic stress disorders.
- Poor sleep habits making your bed a second home office doesn’t help you relax.
- Watching TV or staring at a computer screen before bed. The brightness of the screen “wakes you up”!
- Chronic stress; causing your stress hormones to go into overdrive…leading to “adrenal
Recommendations for restoring natural sleep:
- The supplement called 5HTP; this increases serotonin levels, which can improve mood and sleep.
- Consider a short-acting non-addictive sleeping agent such as “Sonata” or “Ambien” to
enhance sleep and break the insomnia cycle. Available by prescription.
- Restore hormone balance. Reduced estrogen and progesterone levels lead to insomnia.
- Develop a bedtime ritual bath, shower, calming music, reading.
- Use bed for sleeping and not work or prolonged reading time.
- May use melatonin. Recommend sublingual or extended release 1-5mg at night.
- Identify relaxation techniques that work for you close to bedtime. Try not to do physical
exercise or do “brain” work at full tilt until the minute you drop into bed. Try to wind down rather than up.
- Bedtime snack. Try a combo of good carb/protein such as a cheese stick or leftover chicken >or turkey with an apple. This will release tryptophan, which will boost serotonin production and help you relax.
- Other products to release trytophan are: St. John’s wort, SAM-E, 5HTP, or valerian root.
- Herbal Teas: such as chamomile, passion flower, lemon balm, valerian root can all provide a calming effect.
- Take a daily B-complex supplement in the AM. Try sub-lingual preparations for enhanced
absorption Studies on B-vitamins show that deficiencies can cause reduced brain function,
impaired sleep patterns, and depression.
- Be clock driven. Get up at the same time each day so that you do not have to “re-set” your internal clock each morning, causing fatigue and unstable sleep patterns at night.
- Exercise: People, who work-out four times per week, fall asleep faster and sleep better.
- Try drinking chamomile tea and placing lavender drops on your pillow prior to sleeping.