HELP! I can’t sleep!
When I give my health seminars, the two most common issues people admit to are being unable to lose weight and unable to sleep. Through my customized programs that are designed for your unique circumstances and the use of functional medicine, we get to the route cause of your insomnia (more than just temporarily treating your symptoms!) and give you easy ways to improve your overall well-being.
Are you suffering from insomnia?
Sometimes, insomnia can be temporary, but chronic insomnia can be detrimental to health and longevity. When people come to me to address insomnia, among other issues, there are various factors we need to consider.
Is there a new medical condition such as pain, chemical or nutritional imbalances, or hormonal changes or imbalances, including menopause?
Are there any medications affecting sleep, regular or too much alcohol use, too much caffeine (or at times just daily caffeine), stress and anxiety, and sleep apnea?
Has there been some change in a person’s daily regimen, work schedule, travel or even the twice yearly daylight savings time changes?
As we age, the frequency of people who experience insomnia increases...and chronic insomnia, although more common in women, occurs almost as much in men. There are so many possible causes, and all of these are worsened by lifestyle issues such as sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor diet, stress, and the multiple medications that so many of us are subject to.
Chronic insomnia has many negative health effects:
Loss of concentration
If not corrected, these changes can become permanent.
Lifestyle changes are important, including exercise at a minimum three days weekly, preferably five days, thirty minutes daily. Managing stress, either with professional help, or relaxation techniques including meditation and breathing techniques, are very useful.
CHECK OUT THESE TIPS FOR MANAGING INSOMNIA
Supplements and herbals can also be useful:
Melatonin is well-known, and starting at a low dose (3 mg) and working up, taken one hour before bedtime, is effective.
Valerian and chamomile, either as a capsule or as a tea, has been proven effective. Magnesium, Vitamin D, and omega fish oils/fatty acids taken after dinner have good neurologic affects.
L-theanine, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) support sleep and improve mood as well as attentiveness and memory.
Cannabidiol (CBD) or Hemp extract with CBD are very effective, and the latter can also help sleep, chronic inflammation and pain.
Various foods and snacks, all pretty healthy, used in the evening, can improve sleep. These include: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans and walnuts, and cherries. Other foods include various fish such as salmon, halibut and tuna, turkey, chick peas or hummus, kiwi, prunes and sweet potatoes.
Make time for 20 -30 minutes of exercise, any time of day is a good time. With insomnia, however, we usually recommend exercise earlier in the evening rather than within two hours of bedtime. Purchase a background noise device or ap for your phone, that can be placed on a timer or alarm, to reproduce alpha waves (relaxation, calm), theta waves (sleep), and beta waves (wakefulness).
Of course, treating insomnia can be more complex than simply providing a sleeping pill, and all attempts to treat insomnia without medication should be a priority. Treating insomnia clearly can be a part of discovering and treating other underlying conditions, and without correcting these conditions, progressive illness can occur.
Functional medicine focuses on the underlying conditions. If you need help with insomnia or other chronic medical issues, let us teach you how to conquer these issues for good. Please call 732-254-1003 to arrange a wellness consultation today! You can also follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elitedigestiveandintegrativehealthcare/