Insomnia: Is it wrecking your health?

Insomnia falls into many categories including when you have trouble falling asleep,
tossing and turning, waking and falling back to sleep, getting up several times a night to
urinate, and “light sleeping”. 82 million Americans who routinely have trouble falling
asleep and staying asleep.  Insomnia will affect your hormone levels and accelerate
aging and has been named as the culprit in a variety of diseases including: obesity,
depression, diabetes, and cancer.

About 20% or more of older American adults use some form of sleep aid, including
prescription or over-the-counter drugs or alcohol. These sleep aids come with side
effects and do not get the body into the REM sleep pattern-which is where repair,
healing and fat burning take place. Many of these drugs also cause dependency.

Mental and physical exhaustion, the ultimate end result of insomnia is a problem that,
to say the least, is difficult to live with and has even ruined careers, marriages and other
important relationships. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation lead to alterations in
personality, lack of will to function and live a quality life, and extreme moodiness and
frustration.

Get to the Cause!

There are many causes of insomnia. They can range from nutritional deficiency (most
commonly minerals) to hormonal imbalances of thyroid, adrenal and
estrogen/progesterone.  Some physical conditions contributing to sleeplessness include
arthritis or chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory
problems, restless leg syndrome, mineral deficiencies, sleep apnea, urinary
incontinence and menopause/perimenopause.  Generally the treatment for these types
of insomnia involves a two-pronged approach: one that focuses on the primary health
concern, while also treating the ensuing insomnia.

Treating Insomnia Naturally

There are several categories of herbal plants and botanicals that are commonly used
today in sleep remedies, and have actually been used for centuries by holistic doctors as
alternative treatments for patients with insomnia. These include valerian, 5-HTP, kava,
collagen, and passion fruit to name a few.

However, keep in mind that as stated above you need to isolate the cause and use a two-
pronged approach. The roots of insomnia are individual. Your daylight activities can
frequently affect your ability to sleep at night. I encourage you to work with a
healthcare practitioner to look at your whole health picture, not just the element of
sleep.

Don’t let your wakeful nights continue indefinitely and send you into a tailspin of fatigue
and worsening health. Insomnia is a highly manageable condition, whether primary or
secondary.
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Health & Wellness Blog
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