Friday, March 26, 2010

Having Trouble Sleeping?

Wow! Spring is here for sure now and it is yet another beautiful day. But if you are one of the many who have trouble sleeping it may be hard to enjoy, as beautiful as the day is. So for those of you who are having trouble sleeping- I have put together a little guide and checklist to work through.

So, here goes.

There are two basic types of sleep challenges that I encounter on a regular basis: Trouble getting to sleep and trouble staying asleep. Todays article will address trouble getting to sleep and the next article will address trouble staying asleep.

The top reasons why people have a tough time falling asleep are as follows:

Sympathetic Nervous System Dominant- If you are type A , always rushing, cramming too much into your day, aggressive, hard driving, uncompromising, win at all costs type of person, you live in a continuous world of stress. Your nervous system is more sympathetic dominant or more biases toward the fight or flight response. As a result, you have a hard time relaxing, stay angry longer, and have trouble falling asleep.

so here is what you can do about it.

Overstimulation- if you are overstimulated and have trouble getting asleep start by turning off the TV and computer at least one hour prior to bed time. Pick up a book. Not an exciting one. Do not have stimulating conversation or arguments with your spouse ( these stimulate the stress response and wake you up). Do not expose yourself to bright lights (like a xerox machine) or loud music (stimulating). Ditch the late night exercise session (it wakes you up). Find a relaxing routine to do every night for the last hour prior to bed.

If you are having trouble getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, your hormonal balance may be off. During the morning hours, your cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise, waking you up. In the evening your cortisol drops as your melatonin levels rise, making you sleepy. If these cycles are out of whack, they will affect your bed time as well as your wake time. You can balance them through good bedtime habits and through diet and supplementation.

Maybe you like to have a glass of wine in the evening or a drink to relax. This is a good idea right?...not so fast. Turns out that alcohol- especially wine and spirits can stimulate your body to stay awake. Additionally, the presence of foreign substances in the body (like drugs and pharmaceuticals) has been shown to inhibit sleep. Be careful to have that drink early enough ( at least 4 hours prior to bed) so that it doesnt impact the quality or length of your sleep. Better yet, only drink on special occasions.

If you are sympathetic nervous system dominant, I recommend that you consider a 10 series of structural integration.
SI has been shown to calm the response of the nervous system and bring it back toward a more ideal balance between the Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (R&R) response. Call me today at (949) 375-7278 or email me at
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