Are you loosing sleep?
How many hours do you sleep each night?
Is your sleep restful?
How do you feel when you wake up?
Over the years, I found out that people do not get enough sleep. Some do it by choice and others have real problems sleeping. Sleep is the major metabolic equalizer. The body restores and repairs itself during sleep. If you have poor sleep, you have limited repair. Limited repair translates into increased aging. If you are not sleeping, you are headed to a state of chronic inflammation.
For those of you who have trouble sleeping, let's look at 3 major patterns of sleep loss: those who can't fall asleep, those who can't stay asleep, and the basic neurotransmitters associated with sleeplessness. What is interesting about each of these patterns is that each of them is directly or indirectly influenced by insulin and cortisol. This makes it imperative to address these issues with diet and perhaps additional supportive nutrients, to normalize both insulin and cortisol. This will also have the added benefit of weight loss. Conversely, almost everyone who goes on our program to lose weight eventually finds themselves sleeping better.
Let's look at the first pattern of sleep loss, those who cannot fall asleep. Most often, when someone has difficulty falling asleep they have increased cortisol function. Some of the other symptoms of cortisol excess are depression, bone loss, fatigue, weight gain in the waist, loss of muscle mass, and thinning skin. Over the years, I have used botanical (or herbal) combinations of adaptogenic herbs, supportive low dose vitamins, and trace minerals, which work well to reduce cortisol, to improve sleep and to help with other symptoms.
Often supporting blood sugar will augment therapy. This leads to the next pattern, those who can fall asleep but cannot stay asleep. Their blood sugar gets so low that the adrenal glands have to release a little shot of glucocorticoids to maintain blood sugar levels and that little bit is all they need to wake up. These are the people who wake up in the middle of the night, they start thinking of all the things that they have to do during the day and, that's it, they're up! So if we can maintain healthy blood sugar, we would not need the adrenals to provide that extra boost. In this case we need to treat this functional hypoglycemia, which will be the solution for this type of insomnia.
The third pattern refers to neurotransmitter imbalances. Neurotransmitters are messenger molecules of our nervous system. Some neurotransmitters have stimulating or excitatory effects and others have suppressing or inhibitory functions. The dance of the hormones and neurotransmitters is so elegant and interconnected. If the excitatory neurotransmitters are not adequately suppressed by the inhibitory neurotransmitters, sleep or relaxation is difficult. Serotonin is one of the main inhibitory neurotransmitters. In this case, I recommend dietary supplements to help your body to increase production of inhibitory neurotransmitters and to reduce the effects of their excitatory counterparts.
Regardless of the cause of insomnia, sometimes we have to break the sleepless cycle. The past experience of not sleeping and the fear of another sleepless night is almost enough emotional stimulation to increase the very hormones and neurotransmitters that will cause insomnia. That's when we use targeted amino acid therapy to restore proper neurotransmitter balance.
The more we learn about sleep the more we realize it's not an option. Sleep deprivation makes you fat and leads to depression, pain, heart disease, diabetes, and much more. Do not deprive yourself of the regenerative and anti-aging effects of sleep. There are numerous non-drug, natural therapies available which can help you restore your sleep pattern.