Insomnia

Surprising Sources of Insomnia - by Dr Gayle Maguire, BSc, ND


For chronic insomniacs, gentle herbal remedies like Chamomile, or targeted therapeutics such as melatonin, may not be the right approach.  Here are some other common areas to investigate with your medical or naturopathic doctor:

Stress: Our stress hormone interferes with our production of melatonin.  Many stressed patients will report feeling "tired but wired" - they put themselves to bed out of exhaustion but get a second wind as soon as they hit the pillow.  Others will complain of restless sleep.  Anxiety and caffeine can all appear as stress inside the body, so these areas should be addressed and stress management techniques be a focus.

Diet: We see many patients with food sensitivities that also report sleep improve after removing the offending foods.  It appears that fighting to digest a food disrupts the quality of their sleep and I've noticed this effect particularly in children.  
Diet can also seemingly affect sleep quality via nutritional deficiencies, such as magnesium, healthy fats, adequate protein, or B vitamins.  Often simple changes in the diet can create great improvements in sleep after a few weeks.

Hormones: Low progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone can all play a part in poor sleep.  Thyroid disease can also create too little or too much sleep.  Simple bloodwork can be an excellent starting point.  Naturopathic doctors also perform private lab testing for hormones and stress, many of which can include melatonin or genetic information too.

Blood sugar: For those with sleep-maintenance insomnia, or trouble staying asleep, blood sugar levels dropping a little too low in the night can be a cause.  If you know you cannot miss a meal without getting light-headed, shaky or irritable, having a protein and healthy fat-rich snack before bed can improve sleep quality.  Due to concerns of gaining weight by eating too closely to bedtime, discussing options with your healthcare provider or nutritionist is advisable.

Caffeine & Alcohol: Both caffeine & alcohol are known to disrupt sleep.  Between them, they have a wide range of negative effects on sleep hormone production, blood sugar control, hormone balance, and digestive health.  Many patients feel a need to use them as the result of their poor sleep, but over time, these compound the issue.  When patients tell me they love their coffee, I might ask them "does it love you back?"  Often times, a reduction or short holiday is all that is needed.
There are many areas to investigate with sleep, but be prepared to experiment and devote some time & patience to the process.  

This blog is for educational purposes only and does not constitute a medical relationship.   Please consult your medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, or pharmacist for advice that is right for you and note that this blog not substitute medical advice.

--
Dr. Gayle Maguire, BSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor

She/Her

I acknowledge and honour that I live,work, and play on the lands of the Treaty 7 Nations (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Nakoda and Tsuut'ina) of Southern Alberta, and the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3
Member of the CNDA (College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta), CAND (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors), Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians (PedANP)

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Insomnia

Acupuncture for Insomnia

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. Vikki Mcguire TCM

What is considered insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder where an individual has difficulty falling asleep and/or remaining asleep through the night. Upon waking in the night, the person might then have a tough time falling back to sleep. Insomnia can be either acute, which means it’s short-lived and goes away. Acute insomnia might be due to a stressful life event, for example, a student may not be able to sleep the night before an important exam. Chronic insomnia is when a person experiences it a minimum of three nights per week lasting at least three months. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it could also include sleep that is disrupted by nightmares and dreams.

Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night and without that people can experience both a physical and mental toll, especially if the insomnia is chronic.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, insomnia can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Some causes of sleep disorders include:

After a full assessment, a TCM doctor will design a treatment plan to help address your sleep issue. It may include a self-care lifestyle plan, herbal recommendations, nutrition options, acupuncture and cupping treatments.

How can Acupuncture Help with Sleep?

Acupuncture is a treatment where fine needles are placed into certain points in the body that will help to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. With regards to sleep directly, acupuncture therapy can help to activate your body's generation of the sleep hormone melatonin and works to  lower overall stress and anxiety by relaxing the body, in turn sending you to sleep easier. Working with the flow of energy in the body, acupuncture can help bring back flow to areas of the body that may be obstructed or are experiencing an imbalance. Many people experience an extremely peaceful sleep immediately after an acupuncture session.

If you're having trouble falling asleep, here are a few pieces of low-hanging fruit that you can reach for to see if they make a difference:

If you’re interested in learning more to find out whether acupuncture could be right for you, please book in with Dr. Vikki Mcguire TCM at Active Sports Therapy.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Treating Insomnia Naturopathically

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. Gayle Maguire ND

For chronic insomniacs, gentle herbal remedies like Chamomile, or targeted therapeutics such as melatonin, may not be the right approach. Here are some other common areas to investigate with your medical or naturopathic doctor:

Stress

Our stress hormone interferes with our production of melatonin. Many stressed patients will report feeling "tired but wired" - they put themselves to bed out of exhaustion but get a second wind as soon as they hit the pillow. Others will complain of restless sleep. Anxiety and caffeine can all appear as stress inside the body, so these areas should be addressed and stress management techniques be a focus.

Diet

We see many patients that fight with food sensitivities that disrupts the quality of their sleep, or with nutritional deficiencies, such as magnesium, healthy fats, adequate protein, or B vitamins. Often simple changes in the diet can create great improvements in sleep after a few weeks.

Hormones

Low progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone can all play a part in poor sleep. Thyroid disease can also create too little or too much sleep. Simple bloodwork can be an excellent starting point.

Blood sugar

For those with sleep-maintenance insomnia, or trouble staying asleep, blood sugar levels dropping a little too low in the night can be a cause. If you know you cannot miss a meal without getting light-headed, shaky or irritable, having a protein and healthy fat-rich snack before bed can improve sleep quality.

Caffeine & Alcohol

Both caffeine & alcohol are known to disrupt sleep and should be avoided by anyone with sleep issues. Between them, they have a wide range of negative effects on sleep hormone production, blood sugar control, hormone balance, and digestive health. Many patients feel a need to use them as the result of their poor sleep, but over time, these compound the issue. I often ask my coffee or wine lovers if the coffee or wine loves you, as much as you may love it!

There are many areas to investigate with sleep, but be prepared to experiment and devote some time & patience to the process.

*This blog is for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice.  Please consult your medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, or pharmacist for advice that is right for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]