Many people come into the office to find a solution to their poor sleep habits. Some people cannot FALL asleep, others cannot STAY asleep. Sometimes people are so habituated to sleeping poorly that they don’t even think about it until they are reminded. Several of the questions on our initial symptom-survey form investigate different aspects of poor sleep. Every new client fills out one of these comprehensive forms at their first visit with the Chadwell Method™.
The importance of sleep cannot be over emphasized. It is only when you have adequate amounts of DEEP QUALITY SLEEP that the body heals and rebalances. When you are sleep-deprived either in quantity of proper sleep or in quality of deep sleep you body is thrown out of balance. This imbalance may affect your mood, physical strength, sex-drive, ability to recover from illness and overall sense of well- being.
Poor sleep can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most common reasons.
– Poor sleep conditions. This includes an uncomfortable bed, bedding, or pillows. It also includes a partner that snores, uncomfortable bedroom temperature and as any parent knows a fussy or sick child.
– Excessively stressful lives. This may include periods of overwork, job issues, relationship problems, big changes in life like moving, or financial fear.
– Physical pain. If you are experiencing pain in your body it is hard to get comfortable. Chronic pain, a recent injury, or post-surgical recovery are a common cause of poor sleep quality.
– Poor general health. If you are not healthy it is hard for your body to function properly. Sleep is a natural part of living, when it gets disrupted it effects other areas of your life.
– Anxiety and depression also disrupt sleep. These two mental states seem quite different yet they affect your sleep quality in similar ways. When the neurotransmitters that manage your brain-function are out of balance the mental stress produced alters your normal sleeping cycles.
– Low blood sugar in the middle of the night. When blood sugar drops you tend to sleep more lightly. This is often caused by going too long without food or eating carbohydrates of low quality prior to going to bed.
– Hormone imbalance. When hormones are out of balance you may sleep poorly. This is especially true of pari-menopausal women with night sweats. This can also occur under a variety of other hormonal issues including hormone replacement therapy.
– Liver toxicity. Toxicity is a big issue in our society because of the environmental toxins, poor quality food, and overuse of medications. According to Chinese medicine theory, and I fully agree from my clinical experience, the liver is most active between 1 and 3 in the early morning. Almost everyone I work with that has issues staying asleep say they awaken during these hours.
The strategies for naturally correcting a poor sleep pattern fall into 4 categories.
1. Environmental changes.
– Experiment with different sleeping environments. Try pillow of different heights and degrees of firmness. Try changing sheet crisp cotton in the warmer months and perhaps a more textured and warmer flannel in the winter.
– If getting up at night to urinate is a problem stop drinking fluid 3-4 hours prior to bedtime, urinate just before getting into bed, and keep a glass next to your bed just to SIP on during the night if you need it.
– Avoid all media and electronic stimulation 2 hours prior to going to sleep. Everything that you see and hear gets processed for some period of time. This can be troublesome, especially if you watch the news or other shows that can be emotionally distressing. The amount of stimuli received from computers, I-pads and phones can also stimulate your brain in a way that delays sleep.
– Spend the hour just prior to bedtime doing something enjoyable and uplifting. Try easy stretching, a warm bath, or reading inspirational books as a good way to transition into a restful night sleep.
– Eat some protein prior to bedtime. I always keep turkey and cheese in the refrigerator for this reason but you could also eat an egg or have a protein drink.
2. Nutritional Products
– Herbal products and combinations can be very useful. Hops, Passion Flower, and Valerian Root are common herbs that both help you fall asleep and help you stay asleep. These often work well and by themselves have little side effects. May be contraindicated with some prescription drugs.
– Recently I have been using more and more product that increases GABA, (Gamma amino butyric acid). GABA is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and sleep better naturally. There are a couple of products I recommend depending on your body type. I have found few problems using this nutritional product. I personally take some with me whenever I travel, as I often do not sleep well in hotel rooms.
– I also recommend a product that is a physiologic relaxant. That means it relaxes the body without dulling the mind. Works great during times of stress and even better for sleep.
3. Liver and Body Cleanses
– This category encompasses a wide range of options and includes everything from a simple 3-day juice cleanse to a 10-day full-body detoxification program. Some people even need a multi-week cleanse that will detoxify the body in phases to minimize the severe symptoms that sometimes occur. Let me know if you need any help in building a body cleanse specifically for you.
4. Cranial-Sacral therapy
I have found this to be a very effective way to relax the body. Over time we all get our share of physical and emotional shocks. Cranial therapy is the best way I know to release those built up tensions so the body can relax and you can get a good nights sleep. You may have experienced that feeling right before you fall asleep of your body twitching or jerking? This is one way your body releases stored-up energy. Sometimes the shock is too overwhelming and the body is unable to release that stored energy by itself. Cranial-sacral therapy puts the body into a state of physical and emotional balance, and then the body can do its part and let go of that stored energy. The result is that you feel relaxed during and after the treatment. Equally important is that the relaxation continues into your night time allowing you to get a better night sleep.
These solutions solve most sleep problems and do not have any negative side effects. Please try these strategies and let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of further help with your specific sleep issues.
*The suggestions provided are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prescribe, or cure any medical condition or disease.