By Cody Kennedy, CK Health
At some point in our lives we all have trouble sleeping. There are various reasons why we are kept awake at night, a worrying situation, medication, menopause or peri menopause, pain, an overactive mind, PTSD, anxiety or simply a habit. Many things can contribute to a sleepless night, it is when this problem becomes chronic that a habit forms affecting our long-term health. A lack of sleep can affect relationships, our ability to tolerate pain and our mental state, it is one of the most detrimental conditions affecting quality of life and happiness. Insomnia also contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression. However – there is hope!
The use of herbs and mineral supplements can be used firstly to fix the problem of not getting a good night’s sleep. Once you start to sleep better its then time to look at the underlying issues surrounding the insomnia, this will be how you may ultimately find a solution. Sleeplessness can have various underlying causes such as low blood sugar, magnesium deficiency, restless legs syndrome, pyrroluria, adrenal exhaustion, gastric reflux, chronic pain and anxiety. Any of these conditions or a combination of them may be the cause.
As a general guide you can try these tips:
1. After 15-20 minutes if you are not asleep, get out of bed and do something quiet. Don’t reach for that iphone or another device, read a book or a magazine instead. Alternatively, you could do a short meditation.
2. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during holidays. When you get up, go outside into the sunshine if its light, this helps to regulate melatonin levels in the body. Aim to spend 15 minutes in the sun.
3. Think about your diet. If you are the type of person who needs stimulants to get yourself going in the morning then you could be hampering your sleep. For a good night’s sleep, we need more protein than carbohydrates and we certainly need fewer stimulates. Alcohol aggravates night waking so if you are prone to waking up around 2-3am, avoid drinking. Avoid caffeine after 3pm, stick to herbal teas such as camomile, meadowsweet or ginger. Some people are very sensitive to changes in their blood sugar so having a small serve of protein before bed can help, try a small piece of chicken or half a boiled egg
4. Exercise such as tai chi and yoga acts to still the mind and this can have a positive effect on sleep quality.
5. Natural supplements such as valerian, GABA, kava and magnesium powders can all help you sleep and are a much better alternative to medications. Herbs can be selected for specific sleep problems, for example if you have adrenal fatigue Withania would be most suitable as it is very specific for a depleted system. Sometimes a combination of things is needed for stubborn sleep issues and caution needs to be observed if you are on medications but the added bonus is you won’t feel drowsy the next day.
This article was written by Cody Kennedy Naturopath. Cody believes the human body is smart. Smart enough to heal itself with just a little help. As principal naturopath at the National Award Winning clinic CK Health she offers this help via her extensive knowledge of natural medicine and a passion to steer clients toward their version of optimal wellness. CK Health won National Clinic of the Year in 2018 with the ATMS awards. You can read more about Cody at www.ckhealth.com.au
If you would like to learn more about natural sleep aids and how to correct this annoying problem without the use of sleeping pills then join Cody for a FREE talk at Life Matters on 20th March at 6.30pm. You can reserve your tickets HERE