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Don’t Let Sleep Issues Keep You Up At Night!

How well are you sleeping? Your sleep is an important health indicator so it’s important to determine if a disruption in sleep patterns is an isolated incident or a symptom of something more serious.

In today’s busy world, most people believe that feeling tired is just part of life and something they have to deal with. After all, there are lots of reasons to be tired; sick kids, challenging job, late night television, holiday demands, and we all know that the list goes on. But if you are constantly in need of coffee or find yourself falling asleep the moment you sit down, you may need something as simple as a few more hours of sleep to recover. However, it’s important to rule out a more serious condition as the offender.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2009 Sleep in America Poll, we get only about six hours of shut-eye on weeknights. This increases to seven hours on weekends. However, most adults need seven to nine hours nightly to ensure good health. So before you blame your busy life for lack of sleep, take a careful look at these typical “Sleep Offenders”.

Offender: Vitamin and/or Mineral Deficiency
Having low levels of B vitamins will cause anxiousness, fatigue and weakness since it helps nourish the nerves and tissue. Vitamin D deficiency will also cause fatigue and lowered immune function. Low levels of Calcium and Magnesium can cause leg and muscle cramping that will make it difficult to relax and go to sleep.

Offender: Your Adrenal Glands
Many of us live in a constant state of stress and dealing with that is known as the fight or flight response. This response should last only seconds to a couple of minutes. However, if this response continues, the small gland that sits above your kidney, know as the adrenal, will get over-worked and the hormone levels will drop putting you into a constant state of fatigue. Many Americans are walking around with adrenal fatigue because they are in an environment that keeps them in a constant state of stress. The adrenal hormone, known as Cortisol, becomes so low that you feel tired constantly or wake in the morning only to feel un-refreshed. If you wake at 3 a.m., +/- an hour, at least every other night and get sleepy or cranky if you don’t eat regular meals, this could be the culprit. We are able to treat this very successfully with a combination of supplements and stress reduction.

Offender: The Blues
People with depression may be more likely to experience fatigue. If your blues occur more in the wintertime you may have Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD). Using a full spectrum bulb and turning it on each morning can be very helpful. In many cases getting 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can minimize the blues and get your sleep patterns back on track. If neither of these solutions is effective, then please consult a physician.

Offender: Food and drink
Food-sensitivity isn’t just a trendy buzzword. Many people are suffering significant symptoms from eating foods that their body reacts to. This means by simply avoiding certain foods you can bring the body back into harmony and feel better. Testing is done with a simple blood test that is sometimes covered by insurance. Another possible offender is a caffeine habit. That afternoon pick-me-up may actually make you sleepier as it dehydrates cells and tissue causing fatigue.

Offender: Underlining illness
Viral illnesses that basic blood work may not pick up, such as Lyme’s disease, can cause chronic fatigue. Estrogen dominance, otherwise known as low progesterone, can also have a side effect of fatigue. Sleep Apnea may be something that is going undiagnosed and can easily be determined with a sleep study. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be a combination of multiple health issues. It’s important to consult a health care professional to help you determine your exact condition.

originally posted December 01, 2010.

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