Getting a good night’s sleep

Insomnia
Insomnia, or sleep depriva­tion, is a very frus­trat­ing con­di­tion.

Lack of sleep, or insom­nia, is very com­mon but the reas­ons why people do not sleep are unique to their bod­ies and their lives. The mind-body con­nec­tion is very much alive when sleep­ing is not occur­ring; either our minds have taken over and are unable to shut down to allow us the rest we need, or our bod­ies can­not get us to sleep as they should know how to do. Sleep depriva­tion con­trib­utes to high­er incid­ences of aggres­sion, depres­sion, sui­cide attempts, as well as increased num­bers of auto­mobile acci­dents. If not sleep­ing is actu­ally harm­ful to one’s health, then why are we not sleep­ing?

  1. We are com­pletely stressed out and can­not quiet our minds
  2. We have too much light and elec­tron­ics in our bed­rooms (and thus melaton­in, our hor­mone pro­duced in the pineal gland when our eyes per­ceive dark­ness, is not prop­erly released
  3. Our sig­ni­fic­ant-oth­er snores, or we have noise out­side our bed­rooms that pre­vents us from sleep­ing

So, you are des­per­ate to sleep. You turn to phar­ma­co­lo­gic­al sup­ports.

Pharmacological Sleep supports: the Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. You can sleep, and you won’t go crazy

Cons

  1. You can sleep, but you wake up feel­ing inebri­ated (i.e. after one too many alco­hol­ic bever­ages…)
  2. You can sleep, but you have become addicted to your sleep sup­ports and can­not sleep without them
  3. You can’t sleep but if you don’t take the sleep sup­ports, you have with­draw­al

Current phar­ma­co­lo­gic­al sup­port for insom­nia involves sed­at­ives such as ben­zo­diazepines (i.e. Valium) which do induce sleep, how­ever their addict­ive prop­er­ties induce depend­ency with­in weeks, as well as con­trib­ut­ing to memory loss and a feel­ing of fatigue through­out the day fol­low­ing. While sleep­ing, dis­turb­ing night­mares occur when using ben­zo­diazepines, which can often be more troub­ling than not sleep­ing.

Herbal Sleep Supports: Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. They help to sup­port the sys­tems act­ively involved in sleep and re-estab­lish nor­mal rhythms
  2. They are not addict­ive
  3. They can be taken indef­in­itely
  4. There are a range of doses to get a per­son back to sleep

Cons

  1. Knowing the reas­on for why you are sleep­ing makes these sleep sup­ports more effect­ive. If you don’t know why you are not sleep­ing, then you will inev­it­ably pick the wrong one and won’t see bene­fit (i.e. GABA helps with a more anxious and busy mind and melaton­in is a bet­ter choice when the sleep rhythm is com­pletely out of bal­ance).
  2. It takes awhile to restore sleep pat­terns, and without some patience, it will be dif­fi­cult to get these back to nor­mal
  3. If you are try­ing to wean off phar­ma­co­lo­gic­al sleep med­ic­a­tions and sub­sti­tute with herb­al and/​or nutri­tion­al sup­ports, you MUST seek the sup­port of a phys­i­cian (con­ven­tion­al or integ­rat­ive) as the dosages are com­plex
  4. If you are really stressed out in gen­er­al, then it will take longer to re-estab­lish sleep.

There are many pos­sib­il­it­ies to help you get back to sleep – choos­ing the right one for you may involve a rela­tion­ship with a natur­o­path­ic doc­tor, but it is pos­sible!

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