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Insomnia Treatments for a Good Night's Sleep

Getting a good night's sleepWhy Can’t I Sleep?

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 30% of Americans complain of sleep disruption, and 10% display symptoms of insomnia every day. Why can’t we get a good night’s sleep? While many factors come into play, working long hours, participating in multiple activities and everyday stress often take the blame. Of coarse there is more to getting great rest than reducing your stress.

Other contributing factors include, hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, stress, sleep apnea, mood disorders, nutrient and vitamin deficiencies. The food we consume, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and how and where we spend our time influence the balance of these hormones, nutrients, and mental outlook. When our external lifestyle is not healthy it creates a perpetuation of imblance in our internal systems. This can manifest in many physical problems with insomnia being one.

Common Treatments

When we don’t get enough sleep, we are not as effective at work or at school as when we are well rested. Our driving, especially, can be severely impaired.  Failing to get enough rest can become a significant problem that affects every aspect of our lives. Looking for a quick fix? The drug store shelves are overflowing with sleep aids, mostly filled with antihistamine. Overtired people tend to overlook warnings like ‘habit-forming,’ ‘potential side effects,’ or ‘drug interactions’ of these over the counter medications and aids.

People who suffer from persistent insomnia may look to prescription strength remedies that may appear to be helpful for a short time. However, many of these medications are wrought with complications that make your sleep worse in the long run. They can also cause severe allergic reactions, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, and sleep walking or worse. The specific class of medications that are used most commonly for sleep are the worst in this sense. Benzodiazepines like xanax, clonazepam, and other sedative hypnotics like ambien help your sleep intially but eventually stop working becasue of tolerance. Moreover, they do not allow your body to go into the deep restful stages of sleep. So you might close your eyes for 6-8 hrs but you wake up unrested. The worst is, once you start these medications you have to continue them or face not sleeping at all. 

It is not uncommon for patients who are using Xanax or other benzodiazepines to develop an irrational fear of what may happen if they were to stop taking the drug. In the long run, these medications may do more harm than good because they degrade the quality of sleep, particularly deep sleep and dream sleep.

A Natural Approach

In over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids alike, patients risk drug interactions and developing a drug tolerance or dependency that could result in withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia if stopped suddenly. The only way to cure insomnia is to investigate, diagnose, and treat the underlying cause(s). A holistic approach is the best way to eliminate sleep problems forever.

At Southwest Integrative Medicine, our naturopathic doctors look at every aspect of a person’s health and well-being. Each case is different but many times insomnia and other troublesome problems are caused by nutrient deficiencies or hormonal imbalance. After forming a diagnosis, a custom treatment plan will be designed to address any underlying issues that have been discovered. Some of the naturopathic treatments that are effective for sleep problems include:

  • Acupuncture – For thousands of years acupuncture has been used to help patients suffering from insomnia and mental disturbance. A recent study at the University of Pittsburgh found that five weeks of acupuncture increased melatonin secretion (a natural sleep hormone) in the evening and improved total sleep time.
  • Bio-Identical Hormones – When menopause takes over, many aspects of a woman’s life are effected, especially her sleep. Promoting hormone balance can be essential to getting a good night’s rest.
  • Oral, Injectable and IV Nutrient Therapy – Maintaining a healthy diet is critical to all aspects of health and wellness, especially energy levels. Patients who suffer from depression and lethargy can often see significant improvement with IV nutrient therapy and guidance on daily diet. Others with restless leg syndrome may be missing certain minerals. 
  • Herbal Supplements – There are many natural supplements that promote relaxation and healthy sleep habits. These may be included as part of a custom treatment plan.

If you have not experienced the advantages that integrative medicine provides, maybe the time has come. Whether you suffer from sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, stress, anxiety, or depression or even a common cold, the doctors at Southwest Integrative Medicine will help you to identify ways to optimize your health and wellness.


Top 5 reasons patients seek a  Naturopathic Doctor

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