Natural sleep remedies are offered everywhere. But before you take just anything, you need to consider WHY you aren’t sleeping. This is what we do in our Fort Collins clinic; we determine the cause of your insomnia before we offer you any natural sleep aids. It’s likely that just taking any natural sleep remedy won’t do the trick, unless you know why you aren't sleeping well. Read on to find out why…
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep can have many causes. Merely taking a sleep aid (whether it is natural or pharmaceutical) is more of a band-aid approach, and you’ll find that when you want to stop taking the sleep aid, you will go right back to not sleeping unless you’ve addressed the cause of insomnia.
Some common causes of insomnia include:
Blood sugar imbalances When your blood sugar is either too high or too low, this can activate the release of ‘stress’ hormones in your body that pull you out of sleep and keep you awake. Getting blood sugar balanced is the key to preventing the release of stress hormones.
Adrenal dysfunction The adrenal glands do a lot in the body; one thing they do is control the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Elevated cortisol will definitely interfere with your sleep, and there are many reasons for high cortisol and adrenal dysfunction.
Hormonal imbalance I’m referring to sex hormones here; more specifically pre- and post-menopausal women have notorious sleep issues, all because of hormone imbalance. Addressing them cannot only get you sleeping again, but will make you feel much healthier overall.
Thyroid problems Are a common cause of sleep problems. Getting your thyroid tested (more extensively than regular blood work) can point to some underlying issues that can in turn affect sleep.
Alcohol Everyone knows that alcohol is relaxing, and causes drowsiness. At the same time, it also prevents the brain from going into the deeper stages of sleep. Drinking alcohol to help with sleep is counterproductive.
Caffeine Obviously caffeine is a stimulant. But did you know that the half life (the time in which it takes your body to get rid of half the caffeine you ingest) is 12 hours? That means the caffeine you’ve had in the morning is still in your body at bedtime. If you’re having problems sleeping, cutting caffeine out needs to happen. And while this may be counterproductive for you (because you need more caffeine due to the lack of sleep), it becomes an endless cycle. This is where using natural sleep remedies can help.
Over the counter medications There is a very long list of medications that mess with your sleep. We will review these with you when you come into the clinic.
Stress Stress, whether you think it is affecting you are not, will definitely interfere with your sleep. Stress raises cortisol, cortisol imbalances blood sugar, and both (cortisol and blood sugar imbalances) will interfere with sleep.
Anxiety Obviously anxiety causes sleep problems. The key here is treating the anxiety, so that you don’t get the same elevations in stress hormones that are keeping you awake.
Poor sleep hygiene Sleep hygiene refers to poor habits around bedtime, such as watching TV, eating too late, bedroom clutter, lights from alarm clocks, etc. Addressing sleep hygiene is a first step in making a person’s sleep experience more comfortable.
Natural Sleep Remedies
When a person comes in with sleep problems, we spend a lot of time in the interview figuring out the underlying cause. And, addressing these causes of poor sleep can take some time. In the meantime, we use several different natural sleep aids to get you sleeping sooner.
If you’re not sleeping, it’s not good for you. Not only do you not feel well, but insomnia can set off several chronic health changes in your body, such as high blood pressure and weight gain, not to mention lack of sleep has similar affects on your brain that alcohol impairment does!
We can help find out why you’re not sleeping, and fit you with the right natural sleep remedies for your particular situation in Fort Collins.