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Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Body (Plus Natural Cures!)

We’ve all been there. That late night where we push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion, telling ourselves that a few more hours of work will make up for the sleep we’re losing. But what many people don’t know is that chronic sleep deprivation can have some seriously harmful effects on our bodies. From making us less productive to increasing our risk of disease, read on to learn about the dangers of not getting enough Z’s and some natural remedies to help you get back on track!

A lot of people think they can get by with not getting enough sleep, and not realizing how it can have some negative health consequences. 

Sleep deprivation has been linked to negative effects on the body, including weight gain and mood swings.

Studies prove it 

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is important for maintaining good physical and mental health. But according to recent studies, sleep deprivation can also have some serious consequences for your waistline and your health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that sleep-deprived people are more likely to be obese than those who get enough sleep. And the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that women with chronic sleep deprivation are at an increased risk for developing diabetes. 

Not sleeping well is going to affect your hormonal levels and accelerate aging. It contributes to many conditions, including obesity depression cancer diabetes among others 

Not getting enough rest can lead you into an endless cycle where the lack of quality causes further problems which then result in even fewer hours spent catching up on shut-eye. This means that over time we’ll experience more stressors like work pressure or family obligations taking away from our ability to enjoy life while also having less energy because all these things take effort.

Attempts to counter sleeplessness

The term insomnia describes what approximately 82 million Americans are experiencing. They are those who routinely have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. For those who have experienced a sleepless night or a few in a row, you’re likely familiar with that feeling of desperation. 

In the middle of the night, you wake up and think: “Am I ever going to sleep?“ At the same time, you have some sort of anticipation if it’s going to happen again night after night.  It’s hard to function during the day.

Insomnia is common, but you’re not alone. Close to 40% of Americans report experiencing some type or other form of it in their lifetime – difficulty falling asleep and waking up frequently at night especially if they can’t get back down for the count after a certain amount of time has passed

A third sign could be waking up feeling unrefreshed which happens when someone does not sleep well due either because there were stressful thoughts before bedtime. 

It’s no surprise that the drug companies are scrambling to create new and improved sleeping pills. The industry is now close to a $4 billion a year market. There are some issues with the long-term use of sleep medications, which are called hypnotics. Studies show that they decrease the lifespan and they increase cancer risk.

A case from Linda 

She came to see us because she wasn’t sleeping well. She had started menopause and the sleep issues had been going on for about 10 months. She had tried all the common over-the-counter medications, including Benadryl. She had gotten a prescription from her doctor for Ambien, but she was scared to take it since she knew about the addictive qualities that it had. 

She called us to find out if natural medicine could offer her any relief. Her main issues were she had a hard time falling asleep, and often couldn’t fall asleep until after midnight. She told us that after finally being able to sleep, she would wake every half hour. Then in the morning, she will continue staying in bed until11:30 AM each day because she was just so exhausted.

She couldn’t function or run her household like she wanted to. She was dreading each night when the cycle would repeat itself over again. I worked with her for eight weeks. After that, she reported that her sleep was better. She was asleep by 11 p.m., waking up before 9:00 AM, and she felt rested. She was feeling hopeful. Moreover, she had more energy during the day and she started to feel more like her old self. I just love it when people say that!

How natural medicine offers support

We know the long-term use of sleep medications is not ideal. Natural medicine offers four different categories of support.

Sleep hygiene 

You can start by sleeping in complete darkness or as close to that as possible. This is because when light hits your eyes, even if your eyes are closed, it just starts to disrupt your circadian rhythm. The pineal gland releases melatonin and serotonin. A little light in the bathroom is alright especially if you have to get up in the middle of the night. 

Keep your bed for sleeping and sex. If you’re used to watching TV or doing work in bed, it is best to get the screens out of the bedroom at least 30 minutes before bedtime. A lot of us get in the habit of TV before bed, and it’s indeed tempting. So you need to get the TV out of the bedroom completely. It’s the blue light from screens that are too stimulating for the brain. When the brain is stimulated, it takes longer for it to shut off for you to fall asleep.

It’s important to have a consistent bedtime routine. What’s ideal is going asleep at the same time every night and waking up similarly early for your body to get into better sleep rhythms, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep as well as wake up on time each morning.

If you exercise daily for at least 30 minutes, it can help you fall asleep. Exercise helps us blow off the stress that has accumulated in the body over the day. It helps us release stress so that we can have a better night’s sleep. The sound of rain or waves may be enough to help you relax and fall asleep. Natural sounds have been shown time after time that they can lower our heart rate, and respiratory rates as well as decrease blood pressure in people who suffer from these conditions! If exercise isn’t an option for whatever reason then try listening with white noise—a fan might do just the trick if it’s not too loud but still has good volume levels where one would listen without being distracted by other noises around them like TVs turning on downstairs, etc.

Mind your hormones 

If you’re menopausal or peri-menopausal, it’s important to get checked out by a good practitioner of natural medicine. The hormonal changes at this time can cause a lot of sleep issues. They can also wreak havoc on your mood, energy levels, and overall health. A good practitioner of natural medicine can provide support and guidance during this time of transition. They can also help you identify and address any underlying health issues that may be contributing to your sleep problems. Don’t wait until you’re feeling exhausted and burnt out before seeking help.

Balancing Nutrition

According to the National Institutes of Health, over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep deprivation. This can lead to a host of health problems, including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and an increased risk of accidents. While there are many potential causes of sleep deprivation, one often-overlooked factor is nutrition. Natural medicine can help to address this issue by balancing the nutrients in your body and promoting better sleep. For example, magnesium is a mineral that has been shown to support healthy sleep patterns. Herbs such as chamomile and lavender are also commonly used to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. By addressing the underlying causes of sleep issues, natural medicine can help you get the rest you need to feel your best.

Specific supplementation

There’s a lot to be said for natural medicine. When you work with an alternative practitioner, they can run the right tests and make the proper supplement recommendations for you. This is especially helpful if you’re struggling with sleep issues or other health problems. With the right support, you can often get your health back on track without resorting to harsh medications. 

The struggle of getting a good night’s sleep is exhausting. You’re not yourself when you can’t find enough energy to get through your day, and the guilt from feeling like this every single morning only makes things worse! It might sound crazy but there are solutions – medicines don’t work for everyone either; they may have unwanted side effects which make it difficult or impossible sometimes even though we want them to.

We hope you’ve found this post helpful in understanding the effects of sleep deprivation on the body and some natural cures. If you are one of the many people who suffer from sleeplessness, please know that help is available. Schedule a free discovery call with us to discuss your specific situation and how we can help you get the sleep you need and deserve. 

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If you’re looking for a more natural way to manage your health, please contact us for a discovery call to see if our approach would be appropriate for your situation.

DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.