Eliminate Insomnia with Effective Natural Solutions
Are you experiencing fatigue, headaches, irritability, difficulty concentrating, poor work performance, and weak immunity due to sleep problems?
Rarely a day goes by in my practice when one or more patients tell me they are having problems with sleep. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 33% to 50% of adults have symptoms of insomnia. That is a lot of people suffering from sleep issues! Certainly, the stress from the pandemic and political matters have worsened sleep quality and duration for many Americans.
There are many different causes of insomnia. Examples include psychiatric causes such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Additional health issues include sleep disorders (e.g., apnea), hormonal imbalances, and other reasons. If insomnia has been occurring for more than a month, then you one has developed chronic insomnia.
Medications known to cause insomnia
Heart and high blood pressure (procainamide, atenolol, metoprolol, clonidine)
Diuretics (chlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, hydrochlorothiazide)
Cough, Cold, and Flu
Medications containing caffeine (headache meds)
Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine)
Antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine))
ADHD (dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate)
Nicotine replacement for quit smoking (nicotine patches, gums, sprays, lozenges, and inhalers)
There are severe health risks associated with chronic insomnia that go beyond fatigue. For example, sleep disorders are a risk factor for dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and rapid aging.
During deep sleep there is growth hormone secretion by the pituitary gland in the brain. Growth hormone allows the body to repair and regenerate. This hormone is also essential for proper immune system restoration and function. We now know about the glymphatic system, which is a network of vessels system in our brain that eliminates waste products. The glymphatic system is activated when we enter deep sleep.
Of course, the problem with insomnia is that it predisposes one to conditions known to cause insomnia! For example, when people become depressed or anxious, they often do not sleep well. For my patients suffering from acute or chronic insomnia, my approach is two-fold. First, give the patient non-toxic treatment and relief from insomnia. Second, identify and treat the root cause(s) of why the patient has developed insomnia. This involves a thorough medical history and lab testing.
While it is best to address the underlying causes of insomnia with an integrative doctor, I have found the following techniques and natural products work well for many people to re-establish the sleep cycle.
Do not watch television or look at computer monitors or phone screens for at least 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light from these devices tells the brain not to release the sleep hormone melatonin.
Take a walk each evening or exercise in the afternoon or evening. Studies show that exercise completed more than an hour before bedtime can improve sleep.
Do not listen to or read anything negative at least two hours before bedtime.
Avoid eating large meals before bedtime.
Many different supplements can be used to help one sleep. I have had good results with Sleep Wellness, a product available through our clinic or website www.markstengler.com. It contains Melatonin, L-theanine, Lemon Balm, and Passionflower. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that induces sleep while the other components are calming to the brain. I have patients take 2 capsules 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. If you are very anxious in the evening with mind-racing, then consider a CBD product to calm your brain so that the sleep cycle can occur.
Publishing H. 2020. Medications that can affect sleep – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. [accessed 2020 Dec 28]. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/medications-that-can-affect-sleep
Insomnia: Causes, Risks & Treatments. 2020. Cleveland Clinic. [accessed 2020 Dec 28]. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12119-insomnia