Natural Health with Dr. Leesa

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Sleepless Nights

By Dr. Leesa Haire

The Natural Pharmacist 

If you are suffering from sleepless nights you are certainly not alone.  The staggering fact is there are over 60 million people that have some form of insomnia.  The optimal sleep time is 8 hours but on average most people are getting less than 6.5 hours per night.

One Hidden fact is how two of our hormones control the sleep patterns and what do about it.  Hormones play a huge role in our sleep habits.  Here is how it works.  We have two hormones that play a major role in our sleep cycles,   Melatonin and cortisol and they work in opposition to each other.  Melatonin helps us get into a deep restful sleep and cortisol gives the energy in the morning.  But when cortisol is too HIGH at night it can disrupt our sleep.  The number one reason for high cortisol levels at night is STRESS and it keeps us too wired to get into deep restful sleep.   Getting these hormones balanced can be your key to getting deep restful sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Deficit

Even if you think you are getting all the sleep you need check out these symptoms to how many apply to you.

Frequent waking

Early waking

Morning fatigue

Tired but wired

Depressed/Stressed/Moody

Can’t lose weight

Poor concentration

So let’s look at some proven habits that improve sleep: DON’T SKIP THIS STEP

  • Make sure your room is dark, dark, dark.   Even the smallest blue LED light can disrupt your melatonin levels
  • Make sure room is cool
  • Let no light shine directly into your eyes shortly before bed.  Especially electronics,  angle reading lights toward your book, dim overhead lights
  • Use white noise if you wake easily or your partner snores
  • Wear loose clothing,  nothing that binds
  • Don’t use nicotine, alcohol, tea, coffee or eat chocolate right before bed due to stimulate effects
  • If you have allergies, get Allergy covers for mattress and pillows so you don’t get congested lying down

If you are still too wired to sleep or wake frequently you can use natural supplements that support lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.   Here are some of the most effective

  • GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) calms the nervous system for rest
  • Vitamin D3- deficiencies are associated with increase stress, weight gain, inflammation and cortisol
  • Magnesium – relaxes muscles and nerves
  • B vitamins – vital for nerve calming and support.
  • Calcium – helps the brain relax, slow down, and sleep
  • Lavender and vetiver essential oils – used together make a powerful, non-addictive sleep aid.  Just rub a few drops on the arch of the foot.
  • Valerian, passion flower, hops – herbs that promote sleep

To Increase melatonin levels:

If you want to know more tips like these, whether you are a caregiver or not,  join us for our free seminar,  Holistic approach to Caregiver Support on Nov 8th 6pm at the Walton County Public Library Coastal Branch, 437 Greenway  Trail, off Hwy. 331, Santa Rosa Beach.

For More information Visit The Natural Pharmacist

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