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Researching Your Sleep

I had been fighting insomnia for decades, but refused to take sleeping pills because I have experienced too many people get addicted to them. I had become irritable, unproductive, and generally a negative person to be around.

In researching what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be, an old adage appeared: what gets measured, changes.

Intellectually, I knew this, although I didn't necessarily want to admit it, because it would require me actually DOING something, rather than having some miracle bestowed upon me.

But I also was damaging relationships left and right, and feeling miserable in general. So, begrudgingly, I created a spreadsheet where I could track my sleep.

This consisted of:

  • what time I got ready for bed (out on pajamas, brush teeth, etc.),
  • what time I turned the lights out,
  • what time I fell asleep,
  • if I woke up,
  • how long I was awake if I did wake up,
  • what time I actually woke up from the night,
  • and what time I got out of bed.

The news startled me. But, I...

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Losing your mind while trying to sleep

Trying to get good sleep is a quest that many people are on, and some are just about willing to do anything to get it.  However, some remedies which can help you sleep, and have been prescribed to help you sleep can be a bigger problem later on down the line.

 

Recent research has found some rather strong correlations between using benzodiazepines (drugs commonly used for anxiety and insomnia) and development of dementia later in life.  Losing one’s mind to get some sleep now is not a good strategy.  Additionally, dependence on these kinds of drugs can and does happen frequently, meaning that you would have to take more of these over time for the same effect. 

 

Additionally, using a common allergy medication (diphenhydramine) to help insomnia seems to cause lower brain metabolism and higher brain atrophy.  This was seen on MRI and PET scan imaging by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers.

 

There are other, healthier, and...

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Passionflower for sleep

Insomnia can be a big problem for a lot of people, and many want to use more natural, sustainable alternatives to pharmaceuticals.  I was at the gym the other day, and one of my gym buddies told me that she was so excited to find wild passionflower on her farm. When I asked why, other than I thought it was an interesting looking flower, she said that she made a highly effective tincture from it which helps her sleep, as well as reduce pain and inflammation.

I was excited to find out more. Going online, I found a few articles indicating that passionflower is very effective for sleep, anxiety, pain, and inflammation.  While there are studies ongoing, its uses to this end look very promising, as well as possibly helping with seizures and epilepsy.

I told her that I would like to try it for myself, and have some tinctures available in the office for you to purchase, so you can see how well it works for you.

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The Problems with Being a Med Head

insomnia medication Aug 01, 2019

Insomnia sucks. That is for sure. There is really nothing worse than having to do word problems in your head: “if I fall asleep NOW, I can get 3 and a half hours of sleep.” And then worrying about how you might be on three and a half hours of sleep, which kills the half hour, so now you are down to three hours. So, maybe an Ambien might be a good thing… Or not…

Careful there. This time last year, a Georgia woman was arrested when she was driving the wrong way on the highway the day after using Ambien, AS PRESCRIBED, to help her sleep. She failed the standard sobriety test and told police that she had no idea of how she ended up going the wrong way.

So many times, it can be tempting to just “pop a pill” and make things all better. But sometimes that may have side effects which actually make insomnia worse, or you might have something else that is keeping you up, that you might not realize is keeping you up.  One time, a colleague who is an...

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Fixing just one thing can make a big difference

Are you tired of being tired? And wouldn’t a good night’s sleep probably make everything else seem less problematic?

 

In treating insomnia, I have found that when someone can do what needs to be done to get a good night’s sleep, and maintain this for a while, they were also able to do what needed to be done to beat depression, anxiety, and trauma. It seems like there is some more research to back this up.

 

In a study published this year (2019) in Sleep Medicine, it was shown that treating insomnia with psychotherapy actually improves depression and heightened anxiety before going to sleep. While this study was done with postmenopausal women, it has been my experience that this has worked for others as well.

 

It’s amazing how treating one thing can lead to so much health in other areas that weren’t even being targeted in treatment.

 

If you would like to see how getting a better night’s sleep can help you, schedule a 15...

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Customizing Insomnia Treatment

I am always on the lookout to find additional non-pharmacological ways to help you get the sleep you need, so that you may have the energy you need to live the life you want.

While I have found experientially that hypnotherapy has been helpful for those with insomnia, I found an interesting study with solid evidence that shows how helpful it is.

In an article published last year, in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, a study concluded that combining both cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) with hypnotherapy for insomnia (HT-i) resulted in great outcomes for people. This was true for people with depression and insomnia, as well as those who didn’t have depression, and still had insomnia.

The study concluded that combining both CBT-i and HT-i is effective in reducing symptoms of depression and improving sleep. For those without depression, they experienced a significant increase in sleep efficiency and an increase in performance.

Isn’t it...

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