This article outlines a variety of health realms that can influence sleep.
Understanding the big picture
Because the body is a complex system, disrupted sleep may be impacting several other physiological systems and/or may be the result of alterations of another physiological system.
Psychology and unmanaged stress
Psychology and unmanaged stress may be reducing the restfulness of your sleep by decreasing your body’s arousal threshold, increasing your cortisol level at the wrong time, decreasing your evening melatonin levels, or increasing your body temperature, among other effects. These changes can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Treatment options to improve this realm of sleep include implementing stress management techniques into your life, cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia, or appointments with a psychologist.
Diet and metabolic issues
Certain foods don’t jive with certain people. Despite having a clean diet, you may be consuming foods that cause inflammation, leaky gut, or glucose instability in your body, all of which can impair your sleep.
Additionally, you will crave more carbohydrates and be more insulin intolerant when you are sleep-deprived. This realm is vast and complex and Ashley can connect you to providers that will assist you in sorting out your nutritional and metabolic needs to maximize your sleep.
Pain may be disrupting your sleep and disrupted sleep may be making your pain worse. When the body does not sleep well, inflammation increases and your pain threshold decreases. If this is the biggest barrier to great sleep, Ashley can help you decrease pain with physical or oral motor therapy.
Hormonal changes associated with menstruation
Hormonal changes associated with menstruation commonly impair sleep quality for females past the age of menses. During the second phase of menstruation, the spike in estrogen and progesterone followed by a sharp drop in these hormones correlate with impaired sleep quality on a monthly basis.
The onset of menopause causes dramatic changes in estrogen and progesterone levels leading to altered body temperature, mood, and impaired sleep. Once stable, low estrogen levels post-menopause have been linked to poor sleep quality for older women. Altering temperature, normalizing monthly cycles of hormones, and stabilizing circadian rhythm can all improve your sleep despite strong hormonal shifts.