In the busy age that we live in, people are increasingly packing their schedules, leaving little time for sleep. Still many have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep when the time comes. Patients often report they are tired all day yet unable to sleep at night. Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders, one of the most common being insomnia.
Insomnia can be crippling, and for those who are not sleeping they are putting their body at risk for other health conditions. Loss of sleep can affect mood, concentration, appetite, weight gain or loss, immune function and more. In determining the cause of insomnia, there are many factors that can affect sleep including hormone imbalance, stress, food intolerances, neurotransmitter imbalances and cortisol imbalance.
Americans are now increasingly depending on prescription sleep aids like Ambien to induce sleep. Patients are desperate to attain sleep, but wouldn’t it be so much better to fall and stay asleep naturally without the need for a prescription drug? Also, addressing the cause of insomnia leads to better health overall versus just masking the problem by adding a medication with potential side effects.
Sleep is an important part of the body’s healing and regenerative process and learning where there is a break-down in this process and how to resolve it can lead to better overall health in a number of areas. More than just resolving the issue of energy, restoring sleep can improve cognitive functioning, physiologic processes, immune function and mood.
I use specialized testing to determine the underlying cause of insomnia and provide patients with a targeted nutritional and supplemental plan to get them sleeping again. Sleep hygiene, or the activities surrounding the time of sleep initiation play a major component in insomnia. Other than determining natural supplements that may help initiate or maintain sleep, or addressing other conditions such as anxiety that may be preventing sleep onset, discussing sleep hygiene and the activities surrounding bedtime is important to training the brain for sleep onset. Creating boundaries with screens and artificial light and following natural circadian rhythms can assist in sleep initiation.
I seek to provide a comprehensive care approach that takes care of the entire patient, not focusing on just the mind with regard to sleep, but acknowledging the importance of the mind-body connection. I address issues such as anxiety, muscle tension, hormonal balances or other behavioral aspects that may be preventing the patient from sleeping. I work with patients to create a manageable daily routine that takes into account all of the many factors that contribute to insomnia so that they can reclaim control of their life, sleep again, and feel a sense of health and well-being.