Can’t Sleep? How to Treat Sleep Issues Without Medication

Can’t Sleep? How to Treat Sleep Issues Without Medication
Sheila Patel, M.D.

Sleep is vital to your health and well-being, but for some people, it’s elusive. According to the American Sleep Association, there are an estimated 50 to 70 million U.S. adults who experience some type of sleep loss or sleep disorder. Sleeping issues can interfere with the quality of your life, your physical health, and negatively affect your emotional balance, cognitive ability, and motor skills. If you suffer from sleeping issues, you understand that this disruption can cause problems in your home, work, and community life.

While sleep issues may be common, it doesn’t mean you have to accept them as a part of your everyday life. Take control of your well-being by understanding how sleep issues negatively impact your health and the best treatment options for long-term change.  

The Consequences of Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders

While the amount of sleep a person needs can vary depending on age and other health factors, it seems that for optimal health, you should get seven to eight hours per night. This amount of sleep should be good quality and during the right times, so your body can restore and rejuvenate. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, you don’t wake up feeling rested. Outside of the normal fatigue, negative attitude, and fogginess that you may experience with lack of enough quality sleep, it has also been linked to a host of long-term health problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood disorders
  • Poor immune function
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Reduced life expectancy

The body functions by means of an “internal clock” that regulates the physiological processes in the body, including hormonal and metabolic cycles. This is known as your circadian rhythm. Research is beginning to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that control this biological clock. It functions automatically via “clock genes” in every cell of the body, and is also affected by external stimuli such as light, timing of meals, and emotions. To be the healthiest you can be, your waking and sleeping cycle should be aligned with this programmed biological clock. Chronic disruptions to the internal circadian control mechanisms predispose you to many health conditions.

The most commonly reported sleep disorder is insomnia, which occurs due to various biological, psychological, and social factors, including chronic stress. Insomnia can include issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, or quality of sleep. Diagnosable insomnia affects approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population, but, like other sleep disorders, can often go undiagnosed and untreated.

Treatment Options for Sleep Issues

There are many different treatment options available for sleep loss and sleep disorders. However, not all treatments are created equal. In today’s clinical culture, it’s easy to view sleep medication as an attractive option to treat sleep loss and sleep disorders because it’s common, easy to use, and readily available. While sleep medication, and even alcohol used to induce sleep, can offer short-term relief of your …read more
Source: Deepak Chopra  

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