Catching ZZZ’s: A Challenge for Many

Julie Freeman Articles, Julie's corner, Sleep, Thyroid & Hormones 0 Comments

This month, my in-mail has been focused on sleep disturbances and the effects on physical, cognitive and emotional well-being. I, too, am in the quest for the magic remedy and while having made some progress in this arena, sleep disturbances are multi-causal in nature, thus there is no one cure for all.

Think of some of these alarming statistics:

  • Over 48% of Americans suffer with some form of a sleep disorder
  • Over 60 million prescriptions for sleep were dispensed in 2011, up 20% since 2006
  • In 2013, the FDA told manufacturers to have patients half the dose of medication due to morning-after drowsiness resulting in car accidents

See sources here and here

It is now documented that there is an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic pain and inflammation, depression and mood disorders, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance Type 2 diabetes, obesity.

Note that it is important to talk with your health care provider about the type of sleep issue in order to better assess prevention and treatment strategies. Consider doing a neurotransmitter panel – a urine and saliva test – that assists with assessing brain chemistry imbalances. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that modulate excitatory (alertness) and inhibitory (relaxation) responses.

With today’s stressful lifestyles, cortisol, an adrenal hormone, is also commonly elevated and this can be increased at night, thus resulting in an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep and/or difficulty waking in the morning. Another area to look at is the amount of media device exposure that most of us are exposed to. Creating a bedroom without devices is imperative and is part of the ClearMind Tools for Optimized Sleep.
A few tips to help with sleep include the following:

  • Exercise – moderate and most days. For some, a few minutes of high intensity exercise in the evening can bring elevated cortisol levels down
  • Morning light – possible UV light therapy in winter
  • No EMFs in bedroom
  • No computer/TV at least an hour before bedtime
  • Proper temperature in bedroom – keep it cool
  • No caffeine for 8 hours prior to bedtime
  • Not drinking too much water 3 hours before bed
  • No alcohol for 2-3 hours
  • Setting regular hours – be asleep between 11pm and 3 am for repair/restoration

Here’s wishing you a restful night’s sleep.

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