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Healthy sleep is an important component of overall physical and mental wellness. It is unfortunately often one of the first casualties when daily life becomes stressful or demanding. Although an occasional night of interrupted or shortened sleep isn’t likely to do harm in the long run, persistent trouble in getting enough rest can have serious negative effects on your well-being. The relationship between sleep issues and physical and mental illnesses is complex—sleep disorders may be a symptom of an underlying ailment, but they can also cause illness if left unchecked.
Insomnia, which is the most common sleep disorder, is characterized by trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Some signs of insomnia include regularly taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night, waking up repeatedly and having trouble getting back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep. During the day you may feel tired, have difficulty focusing, make frequent mistakes, or experience clumsiness. You may also find yourself feeling irritable, depressed, or anxious. These are all signals that insomnia is taking a toll on your body and your mind. You shouldn’t wait to address your sleep problem, because these symptoms will only get worse without treatment.
Extensive research has shown that sleep and mental health have a close relationship. Those who have underlying mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, and depression have a higher rate of sleep disorders. However, problems with sleep have been shown to increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, taking the steps to improve your sleep quality also has a profound effect on your mental health, whether a sleep disorder is the cause of a mental health concern or the result of one.
Fortunately, there are many natural avenues to improve the quality and duration of your sleep. The first place to start is by adopting good habits around sleep: set a consistent bedtime, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening, turn off any digital devices well before you intend to sleep, and make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable. However, if you’ve been struggling with insomnia or other sleep disorders for a while, good sleep hygiene on its own may not be enough to break the cycle.
One biological factor that can play a role in disrupted sleep is poor nutrition. Melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythms and support sleep, can be affected by deficiencies in magnesium and zinc, for example. Nutrition Response Testing can help identify which nutrients your body is lacking that may be contributing to your sleep problems. Standard Process whole food supplements can then provide targeted support to correct imbalances and restore healthy rhythms.
Inflammation is another factor that can both induce and worsen insomnia. Caused by stress, illness, and autoimmune disorders, inflammation has been shown to interfere with normal circadian rhythms. Insomnia itself can also increase inflammation, setting up a vicious cycle. Treatments that reduce inflammation, such as NovoTHOR photobiomodulation therapy, can help treat this source of sleep problems.
Of course, these are only some examples of what might cause sleep problems. Hormone imbalances and harmful toxins in the body can also lead to broken or insufficient sleep, as can other factors. The key to achieving lasting improvement of sleep problems is to correctly identify and address the root source of the difficulty.
At the Natural Healing Center, our process begins with a thorough examination that considers each patient as a whole—rather than treating symptoms, we evaluate your digestive health, hormones, immune function, nutrition, genetics, and more to create a whole-body wellness plan designed to produce sustainable change. Our goal is to help you achieve and maintain good physical and mental health in a positive, natural way. To find out more about our services or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact us here.