Insomnia is one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctor. Sleep medications, however, come with a variety of side effects, can actually further disrupt sleep patterns, become addictive, and often fail to address the root of the problem.
Long-term health depends on the regeneration that occurs during deep sleep. Growth hormone, or the “anti-aging” hormone, is released during sleep and stimulates tissue regeneration, liver cleansing, muscle building, the break down of fats and the normalization of blood sugar. Basically, restful sleep keeps you healthy and young.
The most common causes of insomnia are stress, caffeine and alcohol intake, imbalances in hormones, lack of routine and side effects from medications. We are now more medicated, more stimulated by caffeine, more stressed and spend more time in front of a screen than ever before. This visual stimulation and artificial light tricks our bodies into thinking it is still daytime, inhibiting the release of melatonin and making it difficult to sleep at night.
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. As it gets darker, melatonin is released from our pineal glands making us feel tired. Without it, we struggle to fall and stay asleep. The right amount of sleep varies from person to person, but most adults require about 7-8 hours a night. The best time to go to bed is no later than 10:30 PM. People that stay up past this time typically miss important components of deep sleep. Studies have shown that the 2 hours of sleep between 10 PM and midnight is more restful and beneficial to wellbeing than the hours of sleep past midnight.
By Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz