– Sonya Nobbe, ND
Our ability to enjoy good quality sleep is one of the ultimate indicators of balance in our lives. Sleep is a reflection of our relationship with our external environment, and it enables us to connect internally to our subconscious mind in the form of dreams. Many ancient medicines use dreams and a person’s “sleep health” to help identify imbalances so that a prescription for whole mind-body wellness can be determined. Conventional medicine considers restorative sleep to play a critical role in the proper functioning of our mood, hormones, and immune system. Disordered sleep is a risk factor for a multitude of health conditions, including breast cancer and heart disease.
Successfully adapting to our environment may reward us with quality sleep. Stress for example, is experienced by many people as an external situation that exceeds their capacity to cope. The body moves into a “fight or flight” mode in which constant streams of stress hormones makes it difficult to relax the mind and body for sleeping. Over a long period of time the body loses its ability to produce appropriate amounts of stress hormone and difficulty falling asleep progresses to difficulty maintaining sleep and feeling very un-refreshed in the morning. A person in this state may also experience bouts of low blood sugar, anxiety, and lightheadedness when rising too quickly from a lying position.