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Sleep issues are very common, roughly 70% of people have insomnia and never mention it to their doctors. About 23% of those people are taking over the counter medication and 28% of insomniacs have both insomnia and depression and are turning to alcohol for relief.

Did you know, that less than 7 hours of sleep a night is sleep deprived? There are many issues that are affecting our sleep: Kids, stress, work schedule, night life, TV, eating too late, anxiety, depression as well as other reasons.

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Poor sleep quality greatly affects your health; one issue that I see every day with people is musculoskeletal pain. Poor sleep quality lowers your ability to heal from day to day stresses on your body and creates inflammation and pain. It also increases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, autoimmunity disorders, obesity, cancer, memory issues, immune dysfunction, micronutrient deficiencies, neurodegenerative issues and addictions.

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Our bodies have an internal clock known as the “circadian rhythm.” This internal clock is to help the normal secretion of hormones at the correct times, both day and night. It helps to regulate body temperature, blood pressure, mental alertness, neurotransmitter production, physical strength, blood sugar levels and metabolism. We have used this circadian rhythm for thousands of years but we have recently dramatically started to change and fight against our “normal clock.”  We have changed the night with TVs, computers, tablets, nightclubs, movie theaters, restaurants, 24-hour grocery stores and convenient stores. Because of these changes your life and your kids’ lives are dramatically different then your parents and grandparents’ lives, and we’re seeing the impact on our health from it.

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Unfortunately, too many people are turning to medications, machines and alcohol to try and “fix” their sleep dysfunctions. This may aid in temporary support but it is not going to resolve the issues. To correct sleep dysfunction, you need to address the cause of the problem. Lifestyle changes should be implemented to return your body to its normal rhythm. The stresses in one’s life, whether they are physical, emotional or physiological need to be addressed and reduced. The body’s natural hormones such as cortisol, DHEA and melatonin as well as the brains neurotransmitters need to be returned to their normal circadian rhythm. Medications and stimulates such as caffeine need to be looked at and evaluated in regards to the patients sleep.

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For many people correcting sleep disturbances can be done relatively easy with simple lifestyle and nutritional changes as well as adaptogenic supplementation; for others they may need additional hormone testing and treatments. If you are having sleep issues and are looking to improve your quality of sleep and health, let us know so we can help.

Dr. Nathan T. Eldredge DC, CPE, ACN, CCWFN, FBCA

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