As most of us have been affected by COVID-19 one way or another, sleep has been one of the most common lifestyle concerns.
Monash university has begun a study due to be published by the end of the year, a Victorian study with 2000 respondents, who of which are 80% affected by some form of sleep disturbance and 41% are waking up during the night more than 3 times a week. This is a sign of insomnia.
The study will show that 46% are sleeping poorly in comparison to 25% prior to the pandemic. However, different stressors or lack thereof, had a different impact on our sleep patterns, such as anxiety or tension, environmental changes, financial distress etc.
Also, Melinda Jackson, is a Senior Lecturer in the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University, finds a link between sleep apnea and increased risk of dementia (Jackson et al., 2020).
The most common effects from lack of sleep are fatigue/malaise, memory and concentration, mood/irritability, lack of motivation or initiative reduction, prone to make errors/accidents at work, tension headaches or gastrointestinal symptoms and concerns and worry about sleep.
Naturopathy can help with these issues as it is customised to suit the individual. Whatever your sleep issue is. Whether it is due to stress, fear, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed or just over worrying. Botanicals are a gentle solution with no side effects, along with the right dietary and lifestyle advice, you will be sleeping like a baby in no time!
Of course there are other, more serious complications that can affect sleep, such as apnoea, parasomnias, pain or discomfort, recreational drug use, period limb movement, depression, and anxiety that all need to be addressed individually.
Some dietary inclusions should be protein and essential fatty acids. Protein requires replenishment as it is made up of amino acid L-tryptophan and its part in melatonin and serotonin synthesis, which plays an important role in the regulation of sleep. Try to have larger doses at night-time (light and easily digestible) along with Omega-3’s (avocado, flaxseeds, oily fish such as salmon and sardines, walnuts and soybeans), which have shown to play an important role in sleep regulation. They are required for neuronal membrane pathway. So the two together in meals will enable sufficient relaxation to initiate a sustained sleep.
There are also wonderful herbs and supplements used specifically tailored for the individual. Such as Humulus lupulus (Hops), a herbal sedative, especially where there is anxiety and nervousness and commonly combined with Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) shown to decrease sleep latency for better sleep quality. Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) is also used for restlessness and nervous stress, it promotes REM sleep which helps with feeling freshness on awakening. These are just a few.
Sleep hygiene is also especially important. Avoid bright lighting at lease one hour prior to sleep and expose yourself to bright light in the mornings, restrict phone use or laptops before sleep and avoid heavy meals or stimulants like caffeine before lights out!
If you are having trouble sleeping, let me help you get a good nights’ sleep!
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Jackson, M. L. et al. (2020) ‘Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Associated with Higher Brain Amyloid Burden: A Preliminary PET Imaging Study’, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. IOS Press BV, 78(2), pp. 611–617. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200571.