Are You Getting Enough Rest?
Rest may refer to leisure, human relaxation or sleep. All are important and FDN clients are encouraged to get enough of all three. So how much is enough? Experts don’t always agree, but we’ve found that women need about an hour more per day than men. Believe it or not, research shows that teenagers need the most, about an hour more than women.
The way you know you are both healthy and getting enough rest is if you can get up in the morning feeling refreshed and have enough energy to be active throughout the day and into the evening. Of course some people are naturally slow starters but once they get going they have seemingly endless energy well into the night. This could be normal for them, just as others can hit the floor running at first light but fade more easily at night and hit the pillow early.
Both these scenarios represent healthy rest cycles as long as the person is actually entering deep, restful and restorative sleep for at least 7, 8 or 9 hours depending on age, gender and metabolic type. Unfortunately poor sleep is one of the most common symptoms today and there are a number of reasons people aren’t getting enough rest. In any case, getting to bed and getting a good night’s sleep is part of all FDN protocols. We’ll discuss some of the problems we see every day as FDN practitioners.
With the monthly rise and fall of hormone levels and the changes their bodies go through during pregnancy and menopause, it’s no wonder that women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep. A recent survey by the Better Sleep Council indicated that almost 70 percent of U.S. women sleep less than the recommended eight hours per night. If you are not getting enough shut-eye, then take heed, because lack of sleep has been linked to increased health risks in a number of areas such as heart disease, obesity, and chronic fatigue.
So, why are women having trouble getting enough sleep? Stress from work or family, anxiety, illness, allergies, diet factors such as too much caffeine, sugar, or alcohol, are just some of the reasons. FDN practitioners are able to determine the underlying issues through their investigative assessments.
We cannot completely control our stress levels, but we can try to slow down in the evening, relax or meditate for a few minutes, and prepare our bodies for a good night’s sleep. As we’ve already noted, adequate, restorative sleep prepares us to lead a productive day.
Improving your quality and quantity of sleep
If you suspect you need to improve your quality and quantity of sleep, we suggest you get a complete assessment from a certified FDN practitioner. In the meantime, here are some hints for getting you the sleep your body deserves:
- Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get. Aerobic exercise each day and weight lifting twice a week is optimum.
- Avoid nicotine (this is only one reason you shouldn’t smoke). Nicotine can lead to fragmented sleep if used close to bedtime.
- Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Take 1/2 hour before bed to use for relaxing, such as soothing in a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, and/or listening to calming music.
- Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Do not consume caffeine after 2pm if you have trouble sleeping.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as if can interfere with your sleep later in the night.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
- Establish regular times for bed and for waking.
- Improve the sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature.
- Don’t drink liquids before bedtime. Drinking liquids before bed time could be causing you to wake up because you have to urinate.
- Supplements can also help with sleeping.
The best approach to getting adequate sleep is to try the suggestions above. If these don’t work, don’t let this condition go unattended. Get a comprehensive Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® evaluation.
Cortisol, Stress and Insomnia
There is a hormone in your body that controls when you wake up and when you fall asleep named Cortisol. Blood Cortisol levels are supposed to be high in the morning and low in the evening. The high levels in the morning help you wake up and the low levels in the evening help you feel tired in preparation for sleep. As stated, many FDN clients come to us with insomnia.
Upon testing Cortisol levels, we find that Cortisol levels are often exactly opposite of what they should be.
Using Adrenal Stress Profile we often discover that Cortisol levels are too high in the evening. This can be from for a number of reasons including eating too late, bright lights or even parasites. For some people, eating late can cause them to stay awake. If the problem persists, we will continue our investigation until we uncover the root cause.
Urinating During the Night
Many people don’t sleep because they are urinating throughout the night. This could be because of too much coffee or fluid consumption at night. So stop it! Excessive thirst or urination can, though, be a significant problem called Diabetes Insipidus.
Diabetes Insipidus is caused by a deficiency in the hormone Vasopressin or Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH). This is one of the main hormones that helps the body retain the water it needs. If a person doesn’t make enough ADH, then they may become chronically dehydrated. Diabetes Insipidus can cause dehydration, joint pain, vertebral disc dehydration, cartilage problems, dizziness, and fatigue. It is documented by urine and blood tests.
Do you have pain that is keeping you up at night? We find that many of our client’s insomnia is due to pain. The best treatments we have found to relieve pain is Chiropractic and Acupuncture. If you have pain keeping you awake, then Chiropractic and Acupuncture could be the key to a good night’s sleep.
Adequate sleep is the key to good health! Make sure you get it! Ask your FDN Practitioner to help you investigate why you are not getting all the rest you need and deserve.