Healthy Hoboken – March 2009
[Every month, Hoboken411 will be posting a column to give answers to Hobokenites’ most frequently asked health questions. The column is written by Dr. Laura Brayton of Hoboken Chiropractic + Wellness. Please send all health-related questions to DrBrayton@HobokenChiro.com.]
Lack of sleep sucks!
“Dear Dr. Brayton,
I have been suffering from insomnia and difficulties falling asleep for the past several months.
I am feeling so fatigued all the time because I just toss and turn all night and can barely get out of bed in the morning. Because I’m not sleeping well, my job performance is suffering and I don’t even want to go out with my friends as much because I have no energy. I am afraid to start taking prescription sleeping pills like Lunesta or Ambien because I don’t want to get addicted to them.
Are there other alternatives to helping me sleep?
Sleepless in Hoboken”
Hormonal Imbalances – and Solutions
Dear Sleepless in Hoboken,
Insomnia or other sleep difficulties is becoming more and more common in the United States as people are juggling increased responsibilities with work, family, social, etc. When the body is constantly under chronic stress, or in “fight or flight” mode, the adrenal glands (little organs that sit on top of your kidneys and produce hormones like adrenaline) are overworked and eventually burn out.
This causes multiple hormonal imbalances that can affect the thyroid, pancreas, and even the pineal gland inside the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin from the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is directly involved with the circadian rhythms. Since melatonin and serotonin levels can be depleted from chronic stressful states, the body’s ability to perceive the sleep-wakefulness and light-dark cycles will directly be diminished. Therefore, supporting the body’s hormonal balance by eating nutritional food, especially dark leafy greens, drinking enough spring water (half your body weight in ounces/day) and getting between 6-8 hours of restful sleep/night are so important.
If you are not allowing enough time for your body to unwind and destress at the end of the day, it may still have that “wired” feeling that doesn’t allow your body to fall asleep. Some people find meditation, journaling, restorative yoga, deep breathing through the belly all help to put the body in a state of relaxation necessary to fall asleep. In addition, aromatherapy oils like lavender are calming to the nervous system in addition to bodywork modalities like acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. Helping your body eliminate any pent up stress will allow it to relax and fall into a deep, restful sleep which is restorative and healing.
Yours in health,