“When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep, and you’re never really awake. With insomnia, nothing’s real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.” (Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club).
Tossing and turning at night and the inability to sleep can be one of the most frustrating things experienced by an individual! In addition, disrupted sleep can affect our health in many ways – including an increase in appetite, weight gain, depressed immunity, low energy, decreased attention span and many more.
Insomnia and sleep issues should not be considered normal and ought to be addressed before they begin to negatively affect our health. Surprisingly perhaps, insomnia also occurs more frequently than most would imagine. In fact a study in the Canadian Journal of psychiatry showed that within the tested sample – over 40% of participants in a randomized survey presented with at least 1 symptom of insomnia (trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or morning awakening for a minimum of 3 nights per week in the previous month.
Generally, insomnia can be broken down into 2 categories – acute and chronic. –Acute insomnia usually lasts several days to weeks and occurs in response to an identifiable stressor. Symptoms usually resolve when the stressor is eliminated or resolved or when the individual adapts to the stressor. Occasionally, sleep problems persist and lead to chronic insomnia. The chronic stage can be more problematic and discovering the cause is sometimes more difficult.
The causes of chronic insomnia are numerous and oftentimes the case is much more complicated. From a naturopathic perspective, insomnia can be very treatable once the actual cause(s) is/are addressed. Normally, once secondary organic causes (like menopausal hormonal shifts, thyroid dysregulation etc) are eliminated or treated – the treatment focuses on identifying sleep hygiene and regulation of circadian rhythms (our sleep/wake cycle), regulating melatonin levels, stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and investigating the individuals microbiome health. New research, for example, illustrates strong evidence to suggest that 80% of our serotonin (a neurotransmitter that is responsible for metabolism, mood and many other functions) is produced in the GUT by commensal (healthy) bacteria. That is why creating a healthy GUT environment is crucial for restful and uninterrupted sleep.
As already mentioned the treatment focuses on identifying the causal factors and addressing them. By creating an effective strategy to identify your specific causes of insomnia and by helping you reset your sleep/wake clock – a restful night’s sleep is definitely within your reach. If you have any questions or would like to book a free 20 minute consultation don’t hesitate to contact me or book an appointment.
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