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February 24, 2016
sleeping hay

Unexpected Natural Solutions That Solve Sleep Deprivation
By Erik Vose, ND

Who isn’t sleep deprived these days? Sleep is a major obstacle to healing, and as a naturopathic medical doctor I am excited to share what works for many patients in the integrative medical setting. Growing up with a mother who was an insomniac that later went on to become a sleep therapist taught me a lot about sleep that I am happy to share with you.

Sleep is the basic foundation of health. It’s when our body heals and our mind recovers from the challenges of the day. Without sleep we develop all kinds of issues.

Sleep problems start with stress, and end with terrible consequences for your health. Research shows that sleep problems are associated with everything from high blood pressure to attention-deficit disorder (ADD). But even if you sleep well (and if you do you should count yourself blessed) you still probably need some tips from time to time.

There are two basic types of sleep problems: getting to sleep and staying asleep. I will address both with some great tips that work like a charm.

The hours before midnight are doubly restorative, so getting to sleep early is a top priority for many patients to support the healing process. Sleep begins with setting a routine and schedule for success. By getting out in the sunlight during the day, our bodies naturally want to sleep.

Here are a few tips:

1. Full spectrum light therapy early in the morning: By using full spectrum lighting early in the morning, we can balance our natural rhythm and ability to wake up. Sitting in front of a full spectrum light for 15 minutes each morning will stimulate your brains natural rhythm to get up during the day and go to sleep at night.

2. Melatonin: Taking 2-3mg of melatonin 4 hours before bed has been predictably successful at stimulating the brain to increase melatonin production in time for bed. Many people take it 20 minutes before bed, and taking it 4 hours before bed works even better – and with less morning grogginess too!

3. Some protein before bed will keep your blood sugar levels from dropping, which causes many people to wake up. I regularly recommend a handful of nuts or some protein powder in a little water to patients just before bed so they can stay asleep easier.

4. Nutritional support: Drinking a great green powder drink during the day is one easy way to keep your b-vitamin and minerals levels balanced. The vitamins and minerals in many green powders offer your brain the support it needs to do its job correctly.

4. Herbal sedatives: There are a handful of powerful herbal sleep aids that are all very safe. Passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, and valerian all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you are looking for a quick fix in the short term, these medicines are perfect.

Hormonal imbalance is another main obstacles for restful sleep. Stress and anxiety cause our brains to produce high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol imbalances go hand in hand with other hormonal imbalances. By setting a regular sleep cycle, our cortisol levels balance out and help us deal with stress in our lives.

For more advice on how to customize your natural solutions to solve sleep deprivation, come visit an Erewhon nutrition department near you. Our health practitioners and doctors are here to help you make the best decisions.