It’s World Sleep Day! (And St. Patrick’s Day. Green Sleep Day?)
If you woke up feeling less rested than you would have liked today, here are a few of the biological factors that might be playing a role.
1. Sex hormones. As we discussed earlier in this month, menopause and its related hormone imbalances can really get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Think night sweats and anxiety wake-ups. Hormone and non-hormone treatment options can often help.
2. Melatonin issues. Melatonin is your sleep hormone, and it tends to wane as we age. But shift work, travel, and screen use in the evening can have an impact, too. Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer can also interrupt melatonin. Good sleep hygiene and melatonin supplementation can be helpful.
3. Cortisol issues. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps us be alert to deal with the world around us. Needless to say, alert and sleep aren’t necessarily good bedmates. Cortisol should be lowest in your bloodstream at night as you get ready to drift off—if you feel “tired but wired,” you may have an imbalance here. Testing cortisol levels throughout the day can help find out. Many natural herbs and supplements can help, ashwagandha being one of them. Not all of them should be taken for long periods.Best to get professional advice.
4. Chronic inflammation. Poor diet, food intolerances, toxic exposures, and chronic infections can lead to conditions like sleep apnea and chronic body pain, which affect our ability to sleep. Testing inflammatory markers and food intolerances can help us find the best diet and lifestyle changes for your sleep.
5. Nutrient deficiencies. Another shout-out to our friend, vitamin D! People with vitamin D deficiency have been shown to have sleep issues. A shame, given that it is easy to test and easy to supplement.
Great sleep comes from a recipe—one made up of lifestyle factors, good sleep hygiene, and underlying functional health. If you need help feeling rested, contact us anytime!