Category Archives: Sleep

Hormones And Sleep

Published on November 20, 2015 by

As you know there are many pieces to the wellness puzzle. To feel vital and healthy involves addressing all of the pieces. I advise starting somewhere and making progress over time. It is important to address sleep, exercise, mindset, nutrition, supplements, hormone balancing, and toxin exposure. Each of these things affect each other. This month I am going to talk specifically about sleep. Proper sleep is important in order for you to feel energetic and function properly.

Sleep disorders are quite common and sleep medication is prescribed at alarming rates. There are a small percentage of people who may need them but the large majority of people who take them do not require these medications. There is often an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Sleep problems (issues with going or staying asleep) can arise from a variety of causes.

One of the major causes of sleep disorders is our mind. Often, the mind is full of thoughts of what needs to get done. Or you may be the kind of person that pushes yourself late into the night to get things done–not allowing yourself to rest. Today’s world is full of things that stress our mind–news, phone calls/texts, e mails, financial worries, work issues, traffic, etc. The great news is that you control your mind. You may not be able to control the things that happen around you but you can control what you watch, what you read, what time you go to bed, what you think about, how you react. Everything is a choice whether you wish to admit that or not. You can say No to things–it is a choice.

women sleeping

The best thing to do is to avoid watching news as it is visually disturbing and often negative. You can stay informed without watching news. Another great thing to do is to keep your phone on vibrate and turn off the alerts. Check your cell phone when you desire to–not at the whim of whoever is calling you or texting you. They will survive, and so will you. Turn off your cell phone at a set time each night to keep it off while you sleep and pick a day a week where you keep it off. I like keeping my personal cell phone off on Sundays as most people respect that day as a day to rest, but pick whatever day works within your life. If your job requires you to be contacted after hours, have a separate phone for after hour work emergencies so that you can turn off your personal cell phone when you desire. Take control of your time-you deserve it! Spend some quiet time each day and focus on how you are breathing. Take long, deep breaths to relax your mind. Go outside and look at the stars for a few minutes at night-it helps to give you some great perspective. Turn off the TV and computer at a set time, allowing you time for your mind to relax. Get outside in nature whenever you can–it is very calming for the mind.

Another major factor that affects sleep (in both men and women) is a hormonal imbalance. It is quite common to have a hormonal imbalance affecting your sleep–we are surrounded by a multitude of hormone disruptors that cause an imbalance. A deficiency in Progesterone, Testosterone, and Estrogen and/or a Cortisol excess can affect your ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep. If you think that this is the issue, have your hormone levels evaluated and treated with bio-identical hormones. Rebalancing your hormones can help your sleep.

Sometimes sleep disorders can be due to a deficiency. Magnesium is quite calming and a lot of people are deficient in this mineral. I advise 200-300 mg of chelated Magnesium to help calm the brain down. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter in your brain and can often be depleted due to our stressful lives. Supplementing with GABA can often help to quiet the brain down. (I like Neurocalm–we do carry this at the office if you can’t find a good GABA source). Melatonin is your body’s natural sleep aide and sometimes the addition of sublingual (under the tongue) Melatonin can help you to fall asleep better. Keep in mind that your body requires a dark environment in order to properly produce melatonin so keep your bedroom as dark as you can.

Sleep apnea can affect your ability to get quality sleep. Sleep apnea is when your lungs have a hard time getting enough oxygen at night due to the airway being constricted. Often you will snore. If you are told that you snore I highly advise a sleep study to evaluate whether or not you have sleep apnea.

Eating later in the evening (i.e. less than 3 hours before bedtime) or drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening can affect your sleep. You may think it does not, but it does.

Ensure that you go to bed at a reasonable time so that you can get the amount of sleep that your body requires–generally 7-9 hours. This is different for each person. You know when you got enough sleep when you wake up without an alarm.

You are important and taking some time on a daily basis to ensure that you get adequate, restful sleep will pay off with an increased energy each day. Be aware of your thoughts and your activities and pay attention to the effect that they have on your sleep.


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Natural treatment of Insomnia

Published on February 25, 2013 by

Sleep without Medication

sleep naturally

Do you ever have trouble sleeping?? Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?? You are not alone! Lack of quality sleep is a big problem and it is a cause of many problems.

There are prescription medications that can help you, but they can be addictive and have side effects. If you want to avoid prescription medications and still get good sleep, you can!

First, you want to try to figure out why you are not sleeping. If it is something that is on your mind then you will want to seek the help of a counselor. Daily journaling and regular exercise will help you calm your mind. If you are drinking caffeine limit your intake to 1 or 2 cups a day and no later than 1 pm. Be sure that you are eating small meals throughout the day and keeping your blood sugar balanced. If it is hot flashes or night sweats that wake you up, then get your hormones checked. Balancing your progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen definately help hormonal symptoms. If you think that you have any underlying medical concern affecting your sleep, you should get a medical evaluation.

There are several natural supplements that can help you to sleep. Melatonin, kava, and valerian are the most effective. It also helps to take slow deep breaths when lying in bed and keeping your bedroom dark and quiet.

With a little effort on your part, you can get great sleep without medication!


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Stress and Hormones

Published on December 4, 2012 by

Stress, Hormones, And Life

Hormones and Stress

Stress is pretty much an every day occurrence these days. You are bombarded by negative news, financial stress, a life on the constant go, among other things. Your body has an amazing network of hormones that keep you alive and functioning. The problem is that your body was not designed to deal with constant daily stress. Your body was designed to deal with temporary stress (running from a predator, chasing after food, etc) and then be able to have the time to recover.

Living in this world depletes many critical hormones and leads to fatigue, fibromyalgia, insomnia, depression, a lack of well being, loss of libido, hot flashes, weight gain, etc. Our medical system has gotten used to simply treating the symptoms with different medications, rather than treating the underlying hormone imbalance.

Re balancing your estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid (the major hormones that get imbalanced) requires a holistic approach. Taking bio-identical hormones definately helps you to feel more balanced. In addition there are many lifestyle changes that you can do: getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, eating a diet rich in organic vegetables/fruits, deep breathing (breathe in to the count of 4 and out for the count of 7), avoiding stressors in your life when possible, and eliminating hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors come in the form of hormone fed dairy/beef products, and skin care or cosmetics that contain parabens/mineral oil/dyes/etc.

Regaining your optimal balance takes some effort but it is well worth it. Feeling full of life and having the energy and mood to enjoy your life is worth some money and time.


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Hormones – Memory – Age

Published on September 24, 2012 by

Memory and age

Sign of Memory Loss

We should all be able to live a long time and with a good memory. Losing your brain function is not normal, nor should it be accepted. It is time that we all realized that we are meant to live vibrantly and not slowly deteriorate for many years.

In today’s society, many people lose brain functioning as they age and there are many causes. Of course we all know about Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease but did you know that stress, nutrition, and hormonal imbalance all can cause a bit of brain fog?? I have seen a lot of patients get evaluated for memory loss, only to find out that it was one of those three things.

Sugar and gluten are two of the big culprits I see in a person’s diet that can affect memory. Excess alcohol/caffeine and artificial sweeteners are other things that can impact memory. Also a lack of certain nutrient can cause you to have an issue with memory. Low testosterone is often a cause and rarely checked for by doctors. If you are having memory issues that no one can figure out for you, then I advise a full nutritional evaluation, hormonal evaluation, and an evaluation of how you can manage your stress. You will be surprised how easy it can be to fix your brain when you appropriately find the problem.


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Feeling Blue

Published on March 7, 2012 by

Depression

Hormonal Imbalance and Depression

Depression is a pretty common thing these days. It manifests as fatigue, an overall lack of energy, a decreased desire to do things that you usually enjoy, sleep disturbance, appetite increase or decrease, a general feeling of imbalance and just not feeling yourself.

There are medications out there to treat depression if your symptoms are moderate to severe. However, whether or not you need medication there are several other things that you can do to improve your mood. Nutrition is a key component to affecting how you feel. Doesn’t it make sense that the fuel that you give your body can affect your neurotransmitters and ultimately how you feel?? After all, what you eat really does end up being what you are made of.

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Sleep and Health

Published on March 2, 2012 by

Sleep is a critical component of health.

Sleep and bioidentical hormones

You should get enough sleep where you wake up refreshed and are able to go about your day without any stimulants (coffee or other caffeine drinks). With good sleep your hormones are balanced, your body is able to better regulate weight, and it enhances your immune system, among other things.

Many people have trouble sleeping at night and it is important to get this resolved. Simple things like a warm shower before bed, avoiding computer/tv screens before bed, keeping a regular bed time, deep breathing exercises, and avoiding caffeine after 2 pm can go a long way to helping you to sleep better. A common cause of sleep disturbance is also hormonal imbalance.

Many women (and men) have a lack of certain hormones as they age and this can affect many things, including sleep. If you are between 35 and 55 years old with a new onset of sleep issues then you may need bioidentical hormones to help you regain your balance.

Whatever the cause of your sleep issue is, the important thing is to get to the root of it and get yourself a good night’s sleep without the use of prescription sleep medication.


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