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Trouble sleeping…?? by N.D.Clare Craig

Aug 12, 2011

Trouble sleeping…??

There are two main different types of insomnia.  Sleep-onset insomnia is the term used when an individual has difficulty in falling asleep primarily, and is commonly caused by: anxiety/tension, emotional arousal, pain or discomfort, caffeine, and alcohol.  Sleep-maintenance insomnia is characterized by difficulty in staying asleep, and is commonly due to: depression, sleep apnea, hypoglycemia, myoclonus (muscle twitches), pain, drugs and alcohol.  Alcohol reduces quality sleep in several ways.  It releases adrenaline which inhibits relaxation, and it impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain (a source for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter than helps initiate sleep).  Though it does seem that some people require more sleep than others, everyone is negatively impacted by poor sleep quantity or quality.

In studies, people who are sleep deprived experience…

  • elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  • impaired ability to process glucose (which can contribute to or encourage weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and type 2 diabetes)
  • increased release of ghrelin, causing them to eat more and potentially gain weight
  • emotions which are less controlled and more exaggerated
  • increased risk for depression and anxiety
  • impaired immune function, making them less able to fight infection and chronic disease

Some basic techniques to encourage healthy sleep patterns include the following…

  • light interferes with sleep, so make sure the bedroom is completely dark
  • avoid caffeine, alcohol, and rich foods late in the evening as they can all negatively affect sleep quality
  • avoid bright lights + mental stimulation in the hour before bed – send the body the message to relax with quiet, non-stimulating habits
  • optimal temperature for sleep is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit (15-18 degrees Celsius)
  • spend time outdoors during the daytime in natural light to reinforce the body’s natural circadian rhythms
  • exercise regularly – a  Stanford University Medical School study showed that after 16 weeks, adults who engaged in regular exercise (about 4 times per week) were able to fall asleep 15 minutes faster and sleep 45 minutes longer at night
  • progressive muscle relaxation can help to relax the mind and body
  • try to be asleep for as long as possible before 12 a.m., as each hour of sleep prior to midnight is as worthy as two hours after
  • melatonin only tends to work if body levels are low (especially common in the elderly and shift workers)
Dr. Clare Craig, ND, CD(DONA)
Naturopathic Doctor
Certified Doula
Island Optimal Health & Performance


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Dear Paul, unfortunately I do not have that audio rcodreed yet. But, there are some factors to consider. First you want to rule out anything organic or metabolic that may be playing a role. For example, what are your ages and phase of life hormone-wise? Are there any physical conditions that either you or your wife have that would cause physical or emotional influences on libido or acting on sexual desire? Have there been any marital conflicts that may still need some resolution or forgiveness? Once those questions are answered, then you should consider getting a copy of How to Have Magnificant Sex: The 7 Dimensions to a Vital Sexual Connection by Lana L. Holstein MD. I know Dr. Holstein personally and I think the world of her work. In fact, she and her husband, David Taylor MD have been doing workshops on couple's intimacy/sex for many years with outstanding results. Oprah had them on several times and sent many couples to them and had them back on her show to tell of the great results. Dr. Holstein & Dr. Taylor live in Tucson, and many of the doctors here in town have attended their weekend workshops with smiles on their faces with the resulth achieved.Now, most cannot attend a workshop such as the one mentioned above, but the book I mentioned is a good start. My wife and I got a lot out of it and I recommend it highly. In fact, the audio I am outlining to increase libidio draws heavily from Dr. Holstein's work. I don't know what other books she and her husband may have out since How to Have Magnificant Sex. And, of course, there is always the benefit of seeing a therapist locally that specializes in sex and intimacy. You'll find them n your phone book under psychologists or counselors.When I get to recordng and finishing an audio on this topic, it will be on my website and anyone on my email subscriber list will be notified.Thank you for visiting my website and the trust you placed in asking me this question.Dr. G.
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