Sleep issues can be debilitating. Insomnia, difficulty falling sleep, broken sleep, lying awake, or waking up early all take their toll.
Sleep is vital to good overall health. Less than seven hours a night can lead to problems with energy, weight gain, concentration, memory, and processing information, as well as it being a risk factor to more serious illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Insomnia is defined as difficulty sleeping at least three times a week for at least a month. Sleep apnoea is where, during sleep, the airway becomes partially blocked. You will awaken suddenly, may snore or gasp or snort in your sleep. Sleep quality is affected, and oxygen levels are lower than they should be.
What are the symptoms of poor sleep and insomnia?
- Waking frequently in the night
- When waking, staying awake, unable to fall back asleep quickly
- Taking a while to fall asleep (more than 15 mins)
- Waking unrefreshed
- Reduced concentration and low energy the next day
What causes poor sleep?
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Hot flushes
- Needing to go to the loo
- Issues in your sleeping environment (noise, light, electronics)
- Disturbances to regular night-time routine (travel, night shifts, late nights)
- Certain medications
- Restless legs
Medications to help you sleep. These can have side effects like dizziness, headaches, digestive issues, prolonged drowsiness the next day. Your GP may send you to be tested for sleep apnoea if this is suspected.
Things you can do:
- Create the best sleeping environment – cool room, not too warm, dim lights, comfortable mattress and pillow, dark room.
- Avoid technology at least an hour before bed and keep your mobile phone out of the room – the blue light from technology like laptops and phones disturb the hormones needed to sleep by telling the body that it is still daytime.
- Unwind before bed – have a night-time routine like children do – perhaps have a bath, use lavender essential oils, do a meditation, listen to a sleep story.
- Avoid eating late and avoid alcohol and limit caffeine after noon.
What can Functional Medicine do to support?
- Look at you as a whole person, understand if there are any medical-based issues that are causing your poor sleep and support with lifestyle medicine like sleep hygiene and stress management.
- Examine nutritional deficiencies that may be causing poor sleep.
- Use supplements and herbs to address these imbalances.
5 Pillars of Functional Medicine
Sleep and Functional Medicine
Do you suffer from sleep issues and have tried all the usual approaches?
Functional Medicine can help you, simply book an online consultation or arrange a free 15 minute discovery call and ﬁnd out how we can help.