Categorized | General Health

Are You Having Problems Getting a Night of Slumber?

So often I hear, I do not sleep well and according to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 30 percent of adults get less than six hours of sleep per night. We should try to average seven to nine hours for good health. Sleep is where we repair and heal the body.

Having an occasional night without good sleep can be tolerated in the body but if you find yourself having ongoing issues with your sleep your emotional and mental health can be affected. Habitual sleeplessness can accelerate aging of the brain, increase our risk of heart attacks, cause irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, stroke, lower your ability to fight things off (weakens your immunity), increase weight/obesity, and increase your changes towards diabetes.

Otherwise healthy people who get too little or too much sleep may be at risk for heart disease. A new study by Dr. Chan-Won Kim found that individuals who have poor sleep habits are more likely to suffer from stiff arteries and calcium deposits on the walls of the major arteries. Coronary calcium develops long before the symptoms occur and can increase the risk of heart disease. (Mouth plaque is the same material as this, so be sure to get your teeth cleaned on a regular cycle).

Insomnia (the most common sleep disorder) can be a number of symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Struggling to stay asleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Experiencing non-restorative sleep (sleeping through then iht but still feeling exhausted and un-refreshed in the morning)

If you have trouble sleeping the majority of the nights in a month then that is considered Chronic insomnia. It can be frustrating and exhausting but often it is temporary. In some cases it can last for months or several years. Stress can be a big contributor to your sleep patterns as well as your daily nutrition.

As more and more studies are showing, the old saying “you are what you eat” we are now looking at whether there should be an addendum to that statement of: “you sleep how you eat.” A small new study from Columbia University Medical Center finds that over just a few nights, diet can make a difference in sleep quality:

People who ate higher-fat, lower fiber diets were more likely to sleep poorly that night than when they ate a healthier diet. They were in a sleep lab, of course, and not in their natural habitats. But if results could be applicable to us at home– then a new tenet of sleep hygiene might be not to have a lot of fatty food before we go to sleep.

I would extend a few more comments to the study above saying, blend the protein, carbohydrates and fat as your last meal so you body will regulate insulin and provide a much better sleep pattern. If you have high fat and high carbohydrates (which tend to go together) you are more likely to store body fat, especially around the middle of you abdomen and increase your exposure to diabetes. In addition, the higher carbohydrate meals bring up congestion, often down the back of the throat, which increases snoring issues during the night. If you choose to have carbohydrates it is a very good idea to have protein with them and especially before bed. If you forget and are congested try sleeping on a sloped pillow to help you body drain the congestion without trapping the tongue on the back of your throat and trying to breathe.

Since sleep is the time where the body repairs itself from the days demands, if there is not enough nutrients available the body will “rob Peter to pay Paul” which often results in the stripping of glycogen (stored in your liver). This causes you to wake between 1AM and 3AM which is the Liver time of the day in Chinese Medicine. The liver also communicates disruption with lines in the area between the eyebrows above the nose. They can show up when the liver is fatigued, either by being depleted or toxic. If you see these lines you might want to set an appointment with me to look at your nutrition or have a BodyScan done. To contact me call (303) 471 4725 or send me an email through my website at

Stay tuned in for Part 2 of this Sleep Blog which will cover some supplements that can help.  


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