Say Goodbye to Insomnia and Hello to a Restful Winter
Sleep is an extremely important process. This is the time when our body completely heals, repairs, and recharges for the next day. Unfortunately many people suffer from sleep disturbances and insomnia, experiencing a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
An article in Sleep Medicine Reviews titled “Epidemiology of insomnia: what we know and what we still need to learn” gives an overview of more than 50 studies done on insomnia. When compiling the data, the researchers found that between 8-18% of the general population complain of sleep dissatisfaction and 6% are diagnosed with insomnia according to a specific classification.
We have had 30 years of experience doing natural health care - integrating nutrition, chiropractic, orthopedics, Chinese medicine, energetic work, mind-body emotional stress relief, lifestyle medicine and more. We have seen many people restored to a natural and healthy sleep pattern through the combination of these practices. We want to see the same for you!
Sleep Patterns- Circadian Rhythms and the Sympathetic/Parasympathetic Nervous System:
Sleep Patterns are regulated by the body’s circadian rhythm and the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times during the day regulating one’s sleep drive. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are both part of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the involuntary functions of the body. The sympathetic nervous system has to do with the fight or flight response and is at its height during the day. The parasympathetic nervous system has to do with rest, digestion, and healing and is at its height during the night.
These systems and rhythms determine the levels of cortisol and melatonin in the body throughout the day. In the morning, the hormone cortisol should be at a height because it works to increase energy for daily functions. At this point in the day melatonin, the hormone that promotes deep sleep, is at its lowest. As the day progresses, cortisol levels drop until their low at night and melatonin levels rise to their height.
An imbalance between these systems causes sleep disturbances. We help to restore balance in these systems in order to create great sleep!
Influencing Factors on Cortisol and Melatonin Balance
There are a few factors that can work against a healthy cortisol/melatonin pattern. Eliminating these factors will begin to improve your sleep quality!
Extremes in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar highs and lows are often caused by a diet high in carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol, which create a quick spike in the blood sugar level upon consumption and then an extreme drop soon after. When one’s blood sugar level drops too low, cortisol will be released in response. This extra amount of cortisol will throw off the melatonin-cortisol balance.
Stress. Your body also releases excess amounts of cortisol when you experience stress in your life. These higher levels of cortisol create an imbalance in hormonal levels.
A misuse of caffeine. If you consume caffeine from mid-day on, it will increase the half-life of cortisol by two times. This stimulates the release of cortisol, keeping you from being able to sleep as deeply throughout the night.
Energetic Processes of the Body
The Meridian Clock, developed in Chinese medicine, maps the energetic process of the body throughout the day. It describes the ebb and flow of energy through different meridians, or energy highways of the body. There are 14 meridians in the body, and each is associated with specific organ systems and emotions. 12 of these meridians sit within the 24 hour clock, meaning that each has a 2 hour period of the day in which it is the primary meridian receiving the greatest energy flow. For example, the liver meridian is primary between 1am and 3am. The lung between 3am and 5am. The image below displays the entire Meridian Clock:
Do you have a specific time of the night that you normally wake up? This can be due to an imbalance or stress on the organ systems associated with this time frame. For example, when people drink quite a bit of alcohol, they will often wake up between 2 and 3am because the liver is in the middle of processing and breaking down the substance.
When working with sleep disturbances, our doctors will use the meridian clock to get a greater sense of which organ systems need attention and can then begin treating these systems and bringing them back to health and right functioning. There are often times emotional components that go along with meridian systems, and we use the Mind-Body Neuro-Emotional Technique to relieve emotional stress. As we bring balance to the meridians, relief to the emotions, and restoration to the function of the affected organ system, sleep begins to improve.
Other Tips to Help Your Sleep:
Keep Your Mineral Levels High
Make sure that your mineral levels are sufficient so that your nervous system can rest. We utilize a product called Pure Source Minerals, which provides you with a combination of many needed minerals. Magnesium is one mineral that is very important for sleep. Most people become magnesium deficient because it is used to build over 350 enzymes within the body, thus it is especially important to maintain an adequate level of magnesium in your system.
Focus on Your Breath
One simple yet effective technique for falling asleep is to let your mind follow your breath. Think of the breath flowing in and out, in and out… Allow all of your attention to follow where your breath is. As soon as your mind starts to think of something else, direct it back to the breath. Keep drawing yourself back to the breath. Where is your breath? Where is your breath? This has a way of centering you. Your mind will eventually start to drift off into a dream state and you will fall asleep. Dr. Gary has seen much success with his patients who utilize this technique.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have many amazing health benefits; they harness the earth’s healing properties. There are several oils that are very beneficial for sleep. Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, and a group of other oils are known for their calming, soothing, and relaxing properties. Apply either pure lavender oil or doTERRA’s Serenity essential oil blend to the bottom of the feet before bed as well as placing in a diffuser throughout the night for a restful night’s sleep. Due to their many healing properties, we are now offering doTERRA essential oils at Health in Balance!
Take Recommended Supplements
Our doctors often find that supplementation can be very helpful to promote better sleep. Some of the supplements that our patients often benefit from are: Phenitropic- a derivative of GABA, Methyl SP- a supplement that supports liver function, and Magnesium- a mineral that promotes relaxation of the muscles and calming of the mind.
Visit us at Health in Balance
Our doctors have helped restore many people to a natural and normal sleep pattern. If you or someone you know is suffering from sleep disturbances, we would be glad to help!
It’s About Changing Lives!