7 Things You Can Do For Better Sleep
1) Address the gastrointestinal system. Melatonin is a hormone that is commonly associated with sleep. However, the gastrointestinal system contains 400x more melatonin than the pineal gland. Addressing the gut for sleep should be considered while assessing for common GI complaints such as gas, bloating, belching, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea etc. This may be associated with yeast overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, dysbiosis, low stomach acid etc.
2) Test for nutritional deficiencies that may affect sleep. This includes magnesium, omega fatty acids and vitamin C.
3) Testing cortisol and melatonin. Both hormones are part of the circadian rhythm that also have different times of peaking during a 24 hour period. Melatonin is high at night, while cortisol remains low. During the day cortisol fluctuates as melatonin remains low. Cortisol levels may also be associated with increased stress, which can disturb sleeping patterns.
4) Not eating late at night. Eating late at night increases blood sugar which can raise cortisol levels. Higher cortisol levels lead to lower melatonin, which is essential for sleep.
5) Decreasing light exposure at least 1 hour before bed. Light exposure slows/halts the production of melatonin, which is essential for sleep.
6) Decreasing EMF exposure.
7) Herbal supplements. Popular botanicals include Chamomile, Skullcap, Passionflower, Kava and Valerian. Please work with a provider when using herbs as many herbs are safe to use, but there are situations in which they are contraindicated.
Though there are many ways to improve sleep, it is important to find the root cause of the sleeping problems.
*This is not personal medical advice, please consult your doctor for more information