When you talk about epidemics, insomnia isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for most people. However, the growing number of people who suffer from sleep disorders is staggering. Almost a quarter of Canadian adults report chronically having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, a number that has steadily been increasing. Furthermore, approximately half of all adults report occasional sleep problems.
Insomnia isn’t just about not getting enough sleep. Globally, insomnia causes increased absenteeism from work, safety issues, and a decrease of daytime functioning. In Canada alone, it’s estimated that insomnia costs each person $5,000 a year, mostly in the form of lost work and wages.
The personal impact of not sleeping is also far-reaching. Beyond feeling tired and irritable, people who struggle with chronic sleeplessness are at a higher risk for a number of health conditions, including stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Insomnia also increases your risk for mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and poor concentration.
The Many Faces of Insomnia
Insomnia occurs in many different ways, and how your sleeplessness manifests offers up clues to your health care provider in how best to treat you. Your insomnia may be chronic, occurring for months or longer, or you may experience sleep problems in episodes over a couple of nights at a time. There is also a wide range of how people experience insomnia on a nightly basis. You may have problems falling asleep, wake up early, wake repeatedly over the course of the night, or not sleep at all. In addition, insomnia is considered to be primary if it’s not related to another health issue. Stress, noise, light, and jet lag may cause primary insomnia. Secondary insomnia means that some other health problem is contributing to your sleeplessness. Some of the causes of secondary insomnia include:
- Emotional health issues, such as depression and anxiety
- Hormones, such as a thyroid imbalance, PMS, or menopause
- Sleep apnea (lapses in your breathing)
- Restless leg syndrome
- Medication side-effects
- Use of caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco
The Good News: Insomnia is Treatable
At BodaHealth, we have found that in most cases your insomnia can be effectively treated. If you seek treatment for sleep issues at our clinic, our first order of business is to uncover the cause of your insomnia. We have a number of practitioners and treatment options to offer you the most effective natural treatments available. They may include:
-Acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In the clinic, we have found that acupuncture is an effective way to treat insomnia, and research is backing this up. Studies have found that subjects treated with acupuncture reported improved sleep quality and duration. Acupuncture works to promote relaxation, balance your hormones, relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and promote good digestion; all of which may enhance your sleep. At BodaHealth, our acupuncture practitioners understand the many different diagnostic patterns and subtleties that may be contributing to your sleep problems. For the best results, they can combine body acupuncture with auricular (ear acupuncture) treatments, heat therapy, and acupuncture with electric stimulation. In addition. Using the healing principles of Chinese medicine, an herbal formula may be added to support your acupuncture treatments, and dietary and lifestyle modifications may also be included in your plan.
-Naturopathic Medicine. Our naturopathic doctors are primary care providers who are also able to get to the bottom of your insomnia. They can assess your diet, hormonal status, levels of stress, digestion, and any toxicities that may be contributing to your sleeplessness. Using a whole body approach, they will prescribe nutritional or herbal supplements, lifestyle changes, vitamin injections, and nutritional guidelines. They can also address medical conditions that may be affecting your sleep, and when needed they can prescribe medications and order lab tests.
-Diet and Nutrition. While what you eat and drink may seem to be unrelated to your insomnia, in many cases your diet may be playing a big role. Vitamin deficiencies, stimulating foods and drinks, digestive problems, and even the timing of your meals may all impact how well or poorly you sleep. At BodaHealth our acupuncture practitioners use Chinese nutritional therapy to prescribe foods and food preparation to best suit your specific needs. Our holistic nutritionists and naturopaths assess your nutritional status and incorporate vitamin, herbal, and nutritional supplementation into their treatments. In addition, they may prescribe probiotics to augment your digestion, vitamin injections to address deficiencies, and nutritional and lifestyle guidelines to address your insomnia.
-Massage Therapy. When stress, anxiety, depression, or an emotional upset interrupts your quality of sleep, massage therapy may be helpful—and a feel-good choice. Massage is much more than a pleasant way to relax your tight muscles and relieve aches and pains. Researchers have documented that massage is associated with decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. In addition, they’ve found that levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are calming neurotransmitters, were elevated after massage therapy. At BodaHealth, our massage therapists are trained in a variety of therapeutic styles, and are committed to providing you with an effective, yet relaxing option to address your insomnia.
If you’re regularly struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you understand the impact of insomnia on your life. Feeling exhausted, poor concentration, irritability, as well as the long-term physical and emotional health conditions that come with insomnia are very real. At BodaHealth, we get it. Our commitment is to offer you the best natural health solutions in a relaxed and caring atmosphere. If insomnia is upsetting your health and quality of life, contact us today to find out more about the personalized solutions we can offer you.