It’s bedtime. You toss and turn. Or you finally fall asleep only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. Maybe you work a night shift, and your internal clock won’t let you sleep. Whatever the reason, it is no fun when you can’t sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30 percent of American adults report not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Good quality sleep is essential to your overall health – mind, body, and spirit. People look to pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter sleep remedies to help their sleeping problems. These tend to be short-term solutions and can often lead to addiction. Why not consider a natural remedy? In today’s blog, we will discuss how a naturopathic doctor can help you sleep better using remedies that naturally help you fall and stay asleep.
Treating Sleep Problems Naturally
Lack of sleep can impact your work, interrupt your life, and cause vehicle, work, and other accidents. Sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of chronic disease, affect metabolism and hormone production, and worsen cognitive and motor performance. In short, if you are not getting enough sleep, it could be seriously affecting your health.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) learn to identify and treat the numerous underlying causes of insomnia and the impacts of insufficient sleep. With advanced training in therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, and behavioral medicine, NDs use natural treatments to restore sound sleep. A naturopathic doctor will conduct an initial exam exploring various causes of disrupted sleep patterns. They focus on the following areas to pinpoint the causes of each sleep issue:
When, what, and how much you eat can affect your sleep. Studies show that even partial sleep deprivation alters the gut microbiome. Increasing your gut microbiota through a specific diet will help improve your sleep. Your naturopathic doctor will determine the most effective nutritional plan for you.
Noise, light, room temperature, and other environmental irritants can also affect sleep. Common irritants include pollen, dander, noise, and blue light from phones and screens. Sufficient exposure to full-spectrum light outdoors maximizes melatonin production, which can aid in restful sleep. NDs look for and address environmental exposures that cause irritation and inflammation that negatively impact Circadian rhythms. Your doctor will also discuss your daily habits.
Emotional and Psychological Causes
Disrupted sleep can lead to emotional changes, clinical depression, or anxiety, further disrupting sleep.
Imbalances in serotonin, cortisol, melatonin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone contribute to sleep issues. Individuals with hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally, are at higher risk of developing insomnia.
Medication and Supplement Side Effects
Drugs commonly prescribed for sleep problems can affect the quality of sleep. Other medications for common colds, allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, birth control, asthma, and depression can also cause insomnia.
After Assessment, What’s Next?
Naturopathic treatment is individualized and focused on lifestyle changes. Some treatments could include optimizing diet, environment, and sleep hygiene, removing stimulants, increasing physical activity, and creating routines. Your doctor may suggest probiotics and fermented foods. When emotional and/or psychological factors are involved, NDs will work with mental health professionals to identify and address depression, anxiety and stress. Some behavioral approaches that your ND can recommend are mindfulness, breathing techniques, meditation, or, when appropriate, botanical medicine. Naturopathic doctors might address hormonal balances with nutraceuticals like melatonin, glycine, or tryptophan. They will work with the prescribing physician to reduce or discontinue any prescription medicines that they find are disrupting sleep.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep with Moonstone Naturopathic
Naturopathic doctors know that insomnia is the cause and effect of many serious health conditions. By looking at the whole person, addressing underlying causes, and supporting your self-healing capacity, naturopathic doctors have the tools to help you correct your sleep issues and get a healthy, natural night’s sleep. To receive personalized recommendations about naturally sleeping better, reach out to our naturopathic practice! Contact Dr. Brandy McGill to make an appointment at (619) 784-3118 or by clicking here.
*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health provider.