The problem of sleeplessness is more common than one would think with an estimated 40% of Americans suffering from sleep related problems. In fact, 26.6 million prescriptions were written for Ambien in 2005, despite all of the class action lawsuits filed claiming that Ambien causes behavior changes and nocturnal eating disorders. Can you imagine people getting up in the middle of the night and raiding the refrigerator without even knowing what they are doing? It happens! I know...crazy, right? Sadly, the cost to ongoing insomnia can be tremendous. I read a study not long ago that linked sleeplessness to automobile accidents and other terrible events with the commonality of victims not paying attention appropriately. Have you ever interacted with someone who has been up for hours on end. I have! In fact, I visited not long ago with a mid-30's gentlemen who had not been asleep for close to 72 hours. His insomnia was due to medication withdrawal, but I won't soon forget it. The conversation with him was very disturbing as he seemed extremely impulsive, edgy, and overly talkative. I probably could have recommended anything and he would have purchased it without question. He was desperate, but thankfully, I was able to reign him back a bit and recommend a safe and stepwise approach to help him get some rest.
There are certain medical disorders that are associated with a reduction in quantity and quality of sleep (i.e. arthritis, heartburn, lung disorders, sleep apnea, menopause, and pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS). However, the most common causes of insomnia in the medical literature point to stress, depression, physical illness, and pain. Dietary consumption of caffeine, night TV and computer surfers, and shift workers also have difficulties in getting a good nights sleep. In todays blog, I want to point out another link (noted in the photo) for those reading and following. WEIGHT GAIN!! I've had plenty of people ask me through the years if I can create a magic pill for weight loss. I suppose the answer to that would be yes, but my response back is always a question. What are you eating? Are you exercising? Are you SLEEPING well?
Did you know that sleep deprivation causes changes in hormone processes that regulate gastrointestinal function and appetite? Some researchers today go so far to say that type 2 diabetes is inextricably linked to the lack of sleep. Therefore, along with addressing blood sugar issues (even hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia), I suggest that insomnia should be included in a patient evaluation.
Research has shown over and over that there are measurable decreases in leptin and increases in ghrelin (hunger satisfaction hormones) related to sleep deprivation. Progesterone deficiency is also quite common in both PMS and in Menopausal women who complain of insomnia. Furthermore, there are innumerable reports of carbohydrate craving with sleep loss. If you are not sleeping, you will most certainly crave carbohydrates to keep your system alert and focused but then crash not long after you consume them. It's a viscous cycle. What's even more frustrating is to feel exhausted and then not be able to sleep. I hear this over and over and over in my office as I do private consultations with patients. Fix sleep, fix a LOT of what's going on. It makes me think of the Irish proverb, "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures for anything." So true!!
There are various approaches to helping someone with restful sleep and there are many key agents that can be initiated before going the route of prescription medications. That's where those in Anti-Aging, Functional, and Regenerative medicine work best. We are trained to help with the complimentary agents, hormone balancing, vitamins, and nutritional supplements. So, don't stay away another night. Call me if I can help you get to the root of your restlessness. In the end, you'll feel better and live better, ...longer.
To your good health,