Insomnia is present in approximately 1 out of every 8 Americans, most commonly in women. Sleep is a very important time for your body to renew and refresh itself - as a matter of fact, growth hormone, and DHEA, your body’s “master hormone” are both produced during the first 90 minutes of sleep. Insufficient sleep leads to insufficient growth hormone production, which in turn leads to lower bone density and muscle mass and oftentimes causes adrenal fatigue. In addition, insufficient levels of growth hormone can also disrupt the production of other hormones throughout the body: DHEA, testosterone, insulin, cortisol, progesterone and estrogen.
Insomnia has also been linked to a wide range of chronic and deficiency-related diseases. Studies suggest that by reducing your amount of sleep, you can increase your risk for diabetes. The second major health risk has to do with the adrenal glands which are responsible for the production of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol helps the body cope with stress. So the less you sleep, the more unstable your adrenal glands become, and it becomes increasingly difficult to manage stress, ultimately resulting in adrenal fatigue. The third major risk caused by lack of sleep is depression. Intermittent sleep cycles can disrupt the function of neurotransmitters, and could bring on sudden bouts of depression.
Many of my patients initially complained about sleep problems – in fact, for the majority of them, it was their chief complaint. Sleep helps the body repair itself overnight. It’s estimated that we’ll spend one-third of our lives under the covers. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it would be wise to avoid sleeping medications at all costs. Many sleep aids are effective on the short-term, but can be habit-forming and oftentimes do more harm than good, with a wide variety of side effects.
Here are some ways you can get a good night’s sleep, without the use of prescription drugs:
1.Hormonal Levels - Adequate sleep is the foundation to balancing all of the other hormones! A lot of sleep problems can be hormonal. Get your hormones checked and balanced. Hormonal imbalances caused by sleep can lead to hot flashes, low sex drive, fatigue, blood sugar instability, difficulty concentrating, painful intercourse, and other symptoms of menopause/andropause.
2.Good Sleep Hygiene - Only use your bed for sleeping and make sure it is dark and quiet in your bedroom.
3.Make Sure to Manage Stress - When you are stressed you can’t sleep. It is important to have a wind down ritual such as drinking tea, or taking a warm shower right before going to bed. Make sure that right before you go to sleep you have a routine that will calm and relax you.
-Dr. Eric Honing, BodyLogicMD of Phoenix
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