Blog #59: Sleep Disturbance – Holistic Medicine Can Help
Over the years, I have used holistic therapies to help many people suffering from various types of sleep disturbances. I have also addressed my own sleep issues with holistic therapies and lifestyle changes. This blog will share some causes and remedies for sleep problems.
Insomnia, which includes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, can have single or multiple contributing factors. Some of these factors are: 1 mental overstimulation (i.e. thinking too much, reading upsetting news, or a murder mystery, worrying) soon before bedtime: 2 exposure to bright screens (computers, TV, smart phones to name a few); 3 exposure to electrical fields before bedtime or during sleep-time (talking on the phone, having the TV plugged in and close to the bed, using a heating pad or electric blanket, or charging a cell phone near the bed, for example); 4 exposure to cell phone or other radiation; 5 eating too soon before bedtime (this can result in digestive system disturbance or muscle cramping, especially in the legs); 6 eating foods to which one is allergic; 7 having the room temperature too cold or too hot at night; 8 not having the sleeping space dark enough or quiet enough; 9 sleeping on an uncomfortable bed or frame, or on a bed made of toxic, allergenic materials, such as memory foam; 10 polluted/toxic air in the sleeping space. Solutions to these factors are often simple, but until the contributing factors and solutions are pointed out, many people are not aware of them.
Sleep also becomes disturbed when people do not have a consistent waking and sleeping schedule. Usually, people find it best to sleep during the dark hours and be awake during the light hours. Of course, for those living near either pole, this is difficult due to excessive darkness during winter months, and excessive light in summer. However, light can still be shut out with thick curtains and eye-covers, and light can be delivered with bulbs and other fixtures.
Sleep apnea, another sleep disturbance, occurs when the sleeper stops breathing. Often, people experiencing sleep apnea snore. They may wake up due to low oxygen when they stop breathing. Sleep apnea often leaves people feeling tired upon awakening, and fatigued or drowsy throughout the day. Efficiency, focus and safety can be compromised, as well as one’s health. Some causes of sleep apnea are overwhelming stress during the day or at night, being overweight or obese, consuming foods to which one is allergic, eating too much or too late at night, smoking tobacco, and drinking alcohol, especially at night. Often the air passages are blocked by the tongue, inflamed throat tissue or enlarged tonsils. Sometimes, the cause originates from the central nervous system, for example, due to a prolonged period of excessive stress, the brain may become conditioned to stop a person’s breathing after they fall asleep. Some solutions to sleep apnea are to sleep on either side rather than on the back, to use a C-Pap machine, to lose weight, to eliminate allergens from the diet, and to learn to deal with stress in a constructive, self-calming way. I personally learned to control my sleep apnea by eliminating allergens from my diet and using self-hypnosis suggestions for breathing and relaxation.
This blog’s offer: call me with questions about your sleep issues. I will also offer a free consultation at my office to determine if a holistic approach will be helpful for you.