The Functional Solutions You Need to Finally Get Better Sleep

It's no secret that Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. We're working longer hours, commuting further distances, and juggling more responsibilities than ever before. And the demands of our modern lifestyle are taking a toll on our health. One of the most common underlying issues that can worsen almost every marker of health is not getting enough sleep. And it's a common complaint, with many people feeling tired all the time, but having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Today, we'll explore why sleep is such an important part of health and wellness, and we'll discuss some tips for improving your sleep quality and duration.Get to the root of underlying sleep disturbances by contacting our integrative providers today. Help! I'm so tired but I can't sleep Insomnia symptoms and other sleep disorders occur in as much as 50% of the population, and chronic insomnia affects as much as 30% (1). That’s a lot of people who are walking around feeling groggy. Stress during the day, blood sugar imbalances, and possibly even a disturbance in your circadian rhythm are just a few of the things that prevent getting enough quality sleep. Getting to the root cause of your sleep disturbances can improve your quality of life in immeasurable ways, and reduce your risk of developing health complications. How do you know if you're experiencing poor sleep? You're likely: Waking up in the middle of the night Feeling groggy upon waking Experiencing daytime sleepiness Have difficulty falling or staying asleep Book now - Get to the root cause of sleep disturbance so you can wake feeling rested. Optimize your lifestyle, hormones, gut health, and chemistry so you can get your sleep back on track. Contact us today. The more subtle signs you're not getting enough sleep (2,3): Increased thirst Worsening depression or anxiety Low sex drive  You're more apt to see the negative or fall into negative thought patterns easily  Sugar or carb cravings Not sleeping may be doing more harm than you realize Today, sleep is often the first thing that suffers during times of increased stress, and the ever-mounting demands of daily life. And while you may be feeling a little groggy or unfocused that day, your body will feel the effects over time. In fact, not getting a good night's rest on a regular basis may trigger or worsen: Anxiety disorders Neurological disorders like dementia or cognitive decline Chronic inflammation Diabetes, insulin resistance Focus and cognition Emotional regulation Hormone balance Weight gain Is it possible to catch up on sleep? To make up for a lack of sleep, some people end up sleeping abnormally late on the weekends, and/or working in an afternoon nap when possible. Yet despite trying to catch up, you’ll likely still be sleepy. This is because the more sleep you lose, the greater your "sleep debt,” which is a very limited resource. Getting rid of your sleep debt takes consistent effort over several days. The best way to catch up on sleep is to hit your pillow 30 minutes before your normal bedtime, instead of sleeping late, and there are a couple reasons for this. Most of us are on a set schedule that begins in the morning (our day begins with time-sensitive activities like work or school), so it's more effective to front-load your sleep the night before. Our circadian rhythms seem to be strengthened more by going to bed at the same time each night than by waking up at a certain time (even though it's best to stay consistent with both). It's true that taking a nap or grabbing some extra sleep on the weekend can be better than nothing, but the best way to get back on track with your sleep is actually to do exactly that—get back on track. Read: Whether You’re An Early Bird or Night Owl, Here’s How to Get Better Sleep Sleep changes with age In general, older adults wake earlier, which is commonly considered to be related to the deterioration of circadian rhythms (4).  Hormonal changes accompanying perimenopause or menopause can also be to blame for this. As early as a woman's mid-to-late 40s, she may experience sleep disturbances that make it hard to stay asleep, and wake several times during the night.  Sticking to a regular schedule with sleep and wake times, mealtimes, and exercise can help reinforce a healthy sleep-wake cycle. This means better, more restful sleep—and it may even increase your healthy lifespan. Learn more about conditions we treat: Menopause or Perimenopause Circadian rhythm disorders Bright indoor light, TV and other devices, the internet, and so many other things keep us awake and out of sync with natural day-night patterns. As a result, many of us struggle to get adequate sleep. Humans have 24-hour internal clocks. We are diurnal beings, and our bodies respond to light or darkness, and temperature changes that occur during the day and at night. These changes are what tell your body to make hormones that allow for sleep at night and wakef

The Functional Solutions You Need to Finally Get Better Sleep

It's no secret that Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. We're working longer hours, commuting further distances, and juggling more responsibilities than ever before. And the demands of our modern lifestyle are taking a toll on our health. One of the most common underlying issues that can worsen almost every marker of health is not getting enough sleep. And it's a common complaint, with many people feeling tired all the time, but having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Today, we'll explore why sleep is such an important part of health and wellness, and we'll discuss some tips for improving your sleep quality and duration.

Get to the root of underlying sleep disturbances by contacting our integrative providers today.

Help! I'm so tired but I can't sleep

Insomnia symptoms and other sleep disorders occur in as much as 50% of the population, and chronic insomnia affects as much as 30% (1). That’s a lot of people who are walking around feeling groggy.

Stress during the day, blood sugar imbalances, and possibly even a disturbance in your circadian rhythm are just a few of the things that prevent getting enough quality sleep. Getting to the root cause of your sleep disturbances can improve your quality of life in immeasurable ways, and reduce your risk of developing health complications.

How do you know if you're experiencing poor sleep? You're likely:

  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Feeling groggy upon waking
  • Experiencing daytime sleepiness
  • Have difficulty falling or staying asleep

 

The more subtle signs you're not getting enough sleep (2,3):

  • Increased thirst
  • Worsening depression or anxiety
  • Low sex drive 
  • You're more apt to see the negative or fall into negative thought patterns easily 
  • Sugar or carb cravings

Not sleeping may be doing more harm than you realize

Today, sleep is often the first thing that suffers during times of increased stress, and the ever-mounting demands of daily life. And while you may be feeling a little groggy or unfocused that day, your body will feel the effects over time. In fact, not getting a good night's rest on a regular basis may trigger or worsen:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Neurological disorders like dementia or cognitive decline
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes, insulin resistance
  • Focus and cognition
  • Emotional regulation
  • Hormone balance
  • Weight gain

Is it possible to catch up on sleep?

To make up for a lack of sleep, some people end up sleeping abnormally late on the weekends, and/or working in an afternoon nap when possible. Yet despite trying to catch up, you’ll likely still be sleepy.

This is because the more sleep you lose, the greater your "sleep debt,” which is a very limited resource.

Getting rid of your sleep debt takes consistent effort over several days. The best way to catch up on sleep is to hit your pillow 30 minutes before your normal bedtime, instead of sleeping late, and there are a couple reasons for this.

  • Most of us are on a set schedule that begins in the morning (our day begins with time-sensitive activities like work or school), so it's more effective to front-load your sleep the night before.
  • Our circadian rhythms seem to be strengthened more by going to bed at the same time each night than by waking up at a certain time (even though it's best to stay consistent with both).

It's true that taking a nap or grabbing some extra sleep on the weekend can be better than nothing, but the best way to get back on track with your sleep is actually to do exactly that—get back on track.

 

Sleep changes with age

In general, older adults wake earlier, which is commonly considered to be related to the deterioration of circadian rhythms (4). 

Hormonal changes accompanying perimenopause or menopause can also be to blame for this. As early as a woman's mid-to-late 40s, she may experience sleep disturbances that make it hard to stay asleep, and wake several times during the night. 

Sticking to a regular schedule with sleep and wake times, mealtimes, and exercise can help reinforce a healthy sleep-wake cycle. This means better, more restful sleep—and it may even increase your healthy lifespan.

 

Circadian rhythm disorders

Bright indoor light, TV and other devices, the internet, and so many other things keep us awake and out of sync with natural day-night patterns. As a result, many of us struggle to get adequate sleep.

Humans have 24-hour internal clocks. We are diurnal beings, and our bodies respond to light or darkness, and temperature changes that occur during the day and at night. These changes are what tell your body to make hormones that allow for sleep at night and wakefulness in the day.

Arguably, humans are hardwired into this day/night schedule, though some studies suggest that certain people's circadian rhythms may be shifted earlier or later. Circadian rhythm disorders arise when light-darkness cycles are misaligned with internal time, such as shift work sleep disorder, or delayed sleep phase disorder

 

Your gut follows your sleep cycle, too

Your gut microbiome also controls circadian rhythm. In one study, scientists found that when they transplanted gut bacteria from healthy mice into germ-free mice, the recipient mice began to follow a more normal circadian rhythm (5). Basically this showed that gut microbiota could "program" normal sleep patterns.

When your microbiome is in balance, it can help keep your circadian rhythms in check. This means that improving your gut health can also help you get better sleep!

Sleep deprivation increases "bad" bacteria within the gut microbiome

People who get less sleep per night have more pro-inflammatory gut bacteria than those who sleep more.

Poor sleep can result in overactivation of your HPA-axis, which increases intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut), and ramps up inflammation.