Having Difficulty Sleeping?

7 Dec
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Having Difficulty Sleeping? How Naturopath’s Address Sleep Concerns.

SLEEP….what a difference a good night of rest can make.

Did you know that Naturopathic Medicine can address sleep concerns?

Sleep is a major pillar of health & wellbeing. If you have ever woken up after a long, restful sleep you understand how fulfilling a good night’s sleep can be. The whole world looks bright. Sleep can heal and revitalize. During sleep the body:

  • Repairs tissue, including heart and blood vessels
  • Supports learning & memory through memory consolidation
  • Balances hormones for growth and fertility, hormones for hunger and satiation, along with the hormones responsible for blood sugar balance. (How are your hormone levels?)

Sleep debt on the other hand is detrimental to health.

In 2011 a study at the University of Laval University found that 40.2% of Canadians have some form of sleep disorder. The most common is insomnia and that prescription medications remained the most widely used therapeutic option. (Morin CM, et al. Can J Psychiatry. 2011)

What happens to us when we lack sleep?

Stress on the body, fatigue, weight gain, cognitive decline, inflammation, hormone imbalances, infertility, insulin resistance, diabetes and a lowered immune function.

Sleep depends on hormone function and there are numerous variables that impact proper hormone balance. These include foods and sensitivities, toxins, artificial light, stress, etc…

What can we do today to help with sleep?

Begin with some sleep hygiene:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night (preferably before 12midnight)
  • Spend at least 30 minutes outside during the day to align yourself and hormones to the natural rhythm of the sun
  • Exercise/Practice Movement before 1pm
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after 1pm
  • Eat high protein/high fat food a few hours before bed
  • Dim the lights in your home a few hours before bed to prepare your body to sleep
  • Reduce blue lights from computer & devices at sunset with a special program or by wearing blue blocking glasses in the evening
  • Take a soothing bath before bed (include Epsom salts or sachet of soothing herbs)
  • Practice meditation, prayer, deep breathing

 

What is a Naturopathic Approach to Sleeping Problems?

It is a Naturopathic principle to address and treat the cause of any disorder. Ascertaining the underlying cause of sleep disturbances will help to guide treatment. Generally, insomnia is caused by stress and tension, however, in some cases it may be caused by allergies, menopause, hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, anxiety, asthma, digestive issues, pain, skin conditions, acute infections, coughs & colds, overwork.

In developing your individual plan, a Naturopathic Doctor has the ability to use a number of modalities:

  • Hygiene: the implementation of a sleep hygiene plan & support
  • Nutrition: blood sugar regulation, food sensitivities, vitamins to support hormones responsible for sleep
  • Herbal Medicine: a number of these herbs may be chosen on their own or in combination by your Naturopathic Doctor to be used as tea or tinctures to take before bed:
    • Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) a gentle nervine for children & adults.
    • Eschocholzia californicum (California poppy) a mild sedative and sleep promoting herb
    • Valeriana off. (Valerian) especially for muscle tension causing sleep disturbance
    • Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) a sedative indicated for overwork, mental worry or nervous exhaustion
    • Nepeta cateria (Catnip) a gentle sedative and diaphoretic
    • Humulus lupulus (Hops) a stronger sedative to be used short term, or dried in a sleep pillow
    • Piper methysticum (Kava kava) reduces anxiety and imparts calm
    • Hypericum perfoliatum (St. John’s wort) helps chronic insomnia and
  • Acupuncture & Auricular Treatments: works to remove blockages to organ systems impacting the ability to sleep
  • Homeopathic remedies & UNDA numbers: gentle remedies often prescribed based on an individuals specific case

If you need help with your sleep concerns, contact our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctors for help!

Thanks to our Mississauga Naturopath at Erin Mills Optimum Health, Dr. Tiffany Wyse, for preparing this report on how Naturopath’s address sleep concerns.

To read more info on sleep postures and the importance of sleep, check out this blog here!

 

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