How well are you sleeping? Your sleep is an important health indicator so it’s important to determine if a disruption in sleep patterns is an isolated incident or a symptom of something more serious.
In today’s busy world, most people believe that feeling tired is just part of life and something they have to deal with. After all, there are lots of reasons to be tired; sick kids, challenging job, late-night television, life’s demands, and we all know that the list goes on and on. But if you are constantly in need of coffee or find yourself falling asleep the moment you sit down, you may need something as simple as a few more hours of sleep to recover. However, it’s important to rule out a more serious condition as the offender.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2009 Sleep in America Poll, we get only about six hours of shut-eye on weeknights. This increases to seven hours on weekends. However, most adults need seven to nine hours nightly to ensure good health. So before you blame your busy life for lack of sleep, take a careful look at these typical “Sleep Offenders”.
Offender: Vitamin and/or Mineral Deficiency
Having low levels of B vitamins will cause anxiousness, fatigue and weakness since it helps nourish the nerves and tissue. Vitamin D deficiency will also cause fatigue and lowered immune function. Low levels of Calcium and Magnesium can cause leg and muscle cramping that will make it difficult to relax and go to sleep.
We have tests for checking your Vitamin and Mineral levels which will give us all the information we need to develop a supplement regimen to address your needs.
Offender: Adrenal Glands
Many of us live in a constant state of stress resulting in what is known as the fight or flight response. This response should last only seconds to a couple of minutes. However, if this response continues, the adrenal gland that sits above your kidney will get overworked and the hormone levels will drop, putting you into a constant state of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal hormone, known as Cortisol, becomes so low that you feel tired constantly or wake in the morning only to feel un-refreshed. If you wake at 3 a.m., +/- an hour, at least every other night and get sleepy or cranky if you don’t eat regular meals, this could be the culprit.
We are able to treat this very successfully with a combination of supplements and stress reduction techniques. A simple saliva test can determine your cortisol levels as well as your hormone levels. The test is done at four different times during the day so that we can see your rhythm over the whole daily cycle.
Offender: The Blues
People with depression may be more likely to experience fatigue. If your blues occur more in the wintertime, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD).
Using a full spectrum light bulb and turning it on each morning can be very helpful. In many cases, getting 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can minimize the blues and get your sleep patterns back on track. If neither of these solutions is effective, we can refer you to the appropriate professional.
Food-sensitivity isn’t just a trendy buzzword. Many people are suffering significant symptoms from eating foods that their body reacts to. This means by simply avoiding certain foods, you can bring the body back into harmony and feel better.
Testing is done with a simple blood test that give us a comprehensive list of foods that you should avoid and foods you should eat with moderation.
Kicking the caffeine habit is your first line of defense. That afternoon pick-me-up may actually make you sleepier as it dehydrates cells and tissue causing fatigue.
Increase your water intake. Sample the wonderful selection of herbal teas that are now available. Our favorites are peppermint or pomegranate to give you the pick-me-up you may need in the mid afternoon.
Offender: Underlining illness
Viral illnesses that basic blood work may not pick up, such as Lyme’s disease, can cause chronic fatigue. Estrogen dominance, otherwise known as low progesterone, can also result in fatigue. Sleep apnea may be something that is going undiagnosed and can easily be determined with a sleep study. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be a combination of multiple health issues.
If you have tried all the above techniques, we can refer you to the appropriate health care professional to help you determine your exact condition.