Sleep Cycle Issues

Up until the 1950's, most people thought that sleep was a time the body lays dormant.  However, we now understand the brain is very active while we sleep.  In fact, sleep is crucial for the body to function and maintain optimal health. 

Sleep plays a large role in the body's ability to cope with stress, or what we call "the stress response."   The body has natural systems in place to control both physical stressors (over-training, diseases, toxic exposures, etc.) and emotional stressors (worry, anxiety from work, financial stress, the loss of a loved one, etc.).  In both cases, the body responds to stress in the same way- by releasing stress hormones such as cortisol that is designed to protect the body on the short term from the stressful event.  However, most Americans have some form of stress on a daily basis.  Over time, cortisol elevations cause shifts in other hormones (such as DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone) as well as neurotransmitters.  This often leads to sleep cycle disturbances, which then causes more stress on the body; and the cycle continues.   

There are many ways to naturally restore sleep cycle disturbances.  Testing your neurotransmitters and cortisol levels can be helpful to pinpoint what type of support will provide the fastest relief.  However, there are more basic techniques that can be implemented for relief such as belly breathing techniques, yoga, prayer & meditation, or other stress management therapies.  Hypoglycemia can also be a culprit for sleep cycle problems.  It is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day for healthy sleep cycles at night.  Try to avoid heavily processed and highly refined foods, especially in the evening if you