If you’re having a difficult time sleeping, you are not alone. There is an estimated 80 million Americans who suffer from insomnia. Your life can be affected in every aspect from your job, health, relationships to your competency behind the wheel of a car. Several data sources approximate that more than 100,000 motor-vehicle crashes are caused annually in the United States by driving while drowsy.

Women require eight to nine hours of quality sleep per night, men need seven to eight hours.

Sleep deprivation can have a harmful affect. Insomnia causes tiredness, lack of energy difficulty in concentrating and irritability. Increase risk of depression. Errors are more common at work.

Insomnia can cause changes in hormones, increase hunger, effect the body’s metabolism (making it more difficult to lose weight), accelerate aging, and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Women are more susceptible to insomnia – one survey states that three out of every four working mothers experience fatigue due to poor sleep. Insomnia comes in several forms: Either inability to fall asleep or inability to stay asleep. Also, it can be temporary (just once in a while due to travel, excitement or temporary stress); Short-term (lasting less than 3 weeks and usually due to worry or stress); Chronic (lasting more than 30 days and is either nightly or several times a week). Chronic insomnia is commonly due to a health condition. Taking medications give the feeling of sleeping do not take care of the REASON WHY you can’t sleep.

The reasons why people can’t sleep varies. Imbalance in hormones, an imbalance in the way the body manages blood sugar, or you might have a health disease that effects sleep. Restless leg syndrome, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, heart palpitations and hot flashes are common health conditions or symptoms effecting sleep. Poor sleep also will contribute to obesity! If one of these (or other conditions) prevent you from sleeping, healing the condition is necessary, not just medically managing it long term. The side effect of handling the condition responsible for limiting sleep is that not only will the condition be better, but the side effect will be of sleeping well!

I am amazed at how few people, who walk into my office for care, sleep well. In fact, it always surprises me when I ask the question “how is your sleep”, and they say “good”. When they are getting four to six hours of sleep a night on average.

It’s important to discover WHY my patients aren’t sleeping. What is the body telling us? Insomnia is nothing more than a warning flag from your body telling you something is wrong. There is something it needs that’s missing, or something it’s getting that is inhibiting function. Until that is addressed, sleep deprivation will persist. Until your blood sugar handling problems, such as hypoglycemia or cortisol imbalances are addressed, you will continue to have fatigue – not just insomnia-related, but lack of fuel to drive your energy machines-related as well. If your hormones are imbalanced, not only will you be sleep deprived, but you will have other symptoms you don’t need to have as well.

Herbs are helpful, however, you don’t want to use herbs to chase around the symptom – you still need to address the underlying cause. Several times a spinal shift located in the cervical area will be effecting many of my patients’ sleep. Acupuncture and Massage have shown to effectively help in assisting people sleep but again they tend to chase the symptom not the cause. When patients are treated for different health conditions in my office, one of the first things they notice is that they sleep better. Not because we are treating them for insomnia necessarily, but because we are treating the REASON WHY they have insomnia. That’s the real success!

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