Insomnia is a disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, or both. Difficulty sleeping can be related to many factors including mental stressors like anxiety and depression, altered hormonal levels, need for medications and poor food choices.
Insomnia is a problem that impacts over 60 percent of Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundations 2011 report.
The impact of poor sleep can exacerbate any existing health condition because it's during sleep time that our bodies rejuvenate, restore and recover after our daily activities. If your body is already healing from another health condition, lack of proper sleep is actually acting as an additional stressor from the body.
Today I want to share a profile of one of my patients whose life has been transformed by getting her sleep back on track.
She came in complaining of hot flashes, back pain and inability sleep through the night. She is a very balanced person who practices yoga, and who engages in meditative practices on a regular basis. She eats a diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with a combination of healthy grains and meats.
She had tried a variation of mind-body techniques on her own and achieved some level of improvement but she was not achieving the results that she wanted, and finally decided to get some professional support.
My patient and I started with a hormonal profile that looked at several different hormones. According to the Mayo Clinic, hormonal shifts occur as a woman transitions from having her monthly cycle to menopause. The hormonal changes which impact sleep the most are night sweats and hot flashes.
The menopausal tests revealed that her female hormones were low, even for a menopausal woman. She needed estrogen and progesterone. We also found that her thyroid hormone was low, along with her cortisol and DHEA levels. This is a very typical result for many of my menopausal patients.
The treatment plan included giving her bioidentical female hormones: estrogens, progesterone and DHEA. These require a prescription.