Tag / Insomnia

Are Your Hormones Making You Tired?

sore throat, shown red, keep handed, isolated on white background

Fatigue and low energy is one of the most common concerns that patients come to see me for. Sometimes the fatigue is a new symptom but for the majority of people, it is something they have been struggling with for years. In many cases it presents itself gradually, like a slow but steady decline.  Now they find themselves with so little energy they can’t do the activities that they want and it is affecting their quality of life. There are many different root causes for low energy but one’s hormonal state is usually a major player. I want to briefly cover two hormonal issues that can lead to low energy.

Insomnia Disorder

Hispanic woman looking at alarm clock

According to the Canadian Sleep Society, up to 40% of Canadians have insomnia symptoms and up to 13% qualify as having a sleep disorder. Generally speaking, if you’re distressed by poor sleep at least 3 nights a week for a minimum of 3 months, and there is no obvious explanation for your sleep problem (such as a drug side-effect or crying infant), then you qualify as having insomnia disorder. 

Sleep & The Chi Cycle

newletter-sleep-secrets-chi-cycle-oneSarah Knight, PhD, RM

How energy flows through the body is intrinsically linked to how we function during the day, and how we sleep at night. If you have ever lain in bed in the middle of the night, eyes wide open, mind and body alert, then you will have a clear understanding of this.

Life force energy, or “chi”, moves through our bodies in a 24 hour cycle. Just like a boat travelling down a river, there are specific times of the day where our chi is most active along certain energetic pathways (called “meridians”) in the body. For example, most people rise during stomach time, 7-9 am, when the stomach chi is most active. This is a good time to have your first meal, and signals to the rest of the body that you have arrived in to this new day. 

Bio-Identical Hormones Information Session

Angela HuntBio-identical hormones offer treatment options for menopausal symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. They also play a role in men’s health, and fertility. Dr. Angela Hunt, Naturopathic Doctor at KIHC, is pleased to announce the addition of bio-identical hormone prescriptions to her practice. For more information, please attend her complimentary information session next month, or visit our facebook page. Call or email to reserve your spot – registration is required for this event.

Tuesday September 27th, 7:00pm

Free Admission

Workshop Space at KIHC

Hormone Testing

Hormone testing can be a helpful way to evaluate menopausal symptoms, PMS, fatigue, weight challenges, and mental health concerns. They are also a useful pre-requisite for bio-identical hormone prescriptions from your Naturopathic Doctor.

10 Strategies To Improve Brain Function and Preserve Brain Health

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

People often ask me for a supplement or herb that preserves brain health and treats changes in brain function, such as decreased word recall or concentration. However, well before an effective supplement support can be chosen, the following basic principles must be addressed, as changes in brain function are commonly a consequence of the body compensating for some other disturbance.

1. Eat fresh, local, organic produce, when possible. Organic vegetables produce their own pesticide chemicals that protect our bodies from inflammation and damage. Some of these chemicals, generally called phytochemicals, are directly linked to optimal brain function and nerve protection.

2. Figure out why you’re so tired all the time! Many of the underlying mechanisms of chronic fatigue also cause poor brain function. For example, thyroid hormones are also brain hormones

10 Tips for Sleeping Well

wake-up-with-energyClick here to read our entire online February e-newsletter on Insomnia.

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

Our ability to enjoy good quality sleep is one of the ultimate indicators of balance in our lives. Poor sleep is a risk factor for a multitude of health conditions, including obesity, breast cancer, depression, and heart disease. Severe sleep problems have many contributing factors and the underlying cause may take some time to resolve. However, these tips are an important first step and might be all that you need to achieve a good nights’ sleep.

1. Get your circadian rhythm on track.

Stimulation and Muscle Tension Aggravate Sleep Cycles

Click here to read our entire online February e-newsletter on Insomnia.

by Carol Belanger, BA, RM, BHS

Our brain stem connects the spinal cord with the structures of the brain. The white matter of the brain stem relays sensations and information from the body to the brain. Scattered throughout the white matter are patches of gray that affect our physical functions. Part of the gray matter we are concerned with on the topic of sleep is called the reticular formation (rf). It governs both sleep and consciousness.

Consciousness normally depends on sensory information received from all over the body. This information is sorted, and sensed for essential, unusual and threatening information, and passed onto the brain. This information influences our levels of consciousness from attentiveness and alertness, to relaxation and inattentiveness. Signals from the rf to the brain stimulates our wakefulness. When the sensory stimulation of the rf is low, inhibited or slowed, sleep can occur.

There are many sensory stimulants: caffeine, exercise and activity, emotional stimulation from nervousness, anger, grief, worry or fear and even happiness, giddiness, etc., as well as computers, television, cell phones and more. They can significantly increase reticular formation activity, stimulate us and thereby impair sleep cycles or delay sleep, even if we are or should be tired.

Inflammation: What exactly is it, and how does it cause my chronic pain?

Click here to read our entire online January e-newsletter on inflammation and pain.

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

INFLAMMATION. We’re told that it causes anything from heart disease to arthritis to aging. Medical science has developed countless pharmaceutical and surgical interventions to suppress or circumvent its destructiveness, to alleviate pain and treat chronic disease. We even have drugs that affect how our DNA is involved in the generation of inflammation! But now science is starting to understand the long-term consequences of this approach, including the real possibility that our anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals are actually contributing to prolonged low-grade inflammation that makes us more ill. There are safer, more complete ways of addressing the inflammation that causes pain and disease.

Inflammation is a whole-body complex biochemical process initiated by the body’s immune system as a response to some form of “danger”, such as an injury or infection. It’s the red soreness of a scratch on our skin, the ache in our lower back, the stomach pain that follows a meal that didn’t agree with us. It’s the body’s warning that something isn’t right and so… we suppress it.

Prescription for Reducing Inflammation and Pain: The Big Picture

Click here to view our entire online January e-newsletter on inflammation and pain.

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

Please see “Inflammation: What Exactly Is It, and How Does it Cause my Chronic Pain“.

1. Eat a clean, whole foods diet that includes some raw veggies daily. Many of these foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties as well as nutrients that support optimal organ and tissue function. Processed foods of any kind are linked with inflammation, chronic disease, and premature death. Food intolerances such as gluten or dairy are also linked to chronic disease and pain. Please speak with a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Nutritionist to optimize your diet for reduced inflammation.

2. Relax. This branch of the nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, has some real healing potential. Meditation, Qigong, and time in the quiet outdoors are repeatedly associated with decreased pain and inflammation. Many older philosophies suggest that consciously working with the pain, rather than against it, provides significant relief.

3. Breathe. Our bodies detoxify

Insomnia suggestions

By Jocelyne Leyton, D.O.M.P.

As part of the team at KIHC, I volunteered to be one of the contributors for the December Newsletter on Insomnia. Little did I know that I would suffer from insomnia in the last two weeks. In my life I have had little difficulty in sleeping with the exception of emotional stress.

In my work as an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner I hear complaints from many patients about insomnia as well as from children. Most of us commonly experience sleep disturbance due to stress and environmental changes but when it becomes chronic this becomes a health burden. For some people, pharmaceutical intervention is sought and for others non-prescription supplements, mind-body relaxation techniques and sometimes alcohol.

One dictionary definition says insomnia is a chronic inability to fall asleep or to enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Our sleep/wake cycle is influenced by our biological clock called the circadian rhythm. This circadian rhythm affects our physiological process. Our circadian rhythm tends to be synchronized with cycles of light and dark as well as

Insomnia… Drug-free relief.

~ Dr. 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 habits 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.

Insomnia is Such a Pain… In More Ways than One

~ Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND

Sleep disturbances can be one of the more prevalent complaints in people with chronic pain. Of course it is hard to relax and get to sleep when you cannot get into a comfortable position. However, what if it was your lack of sleep that was making your pain worse? Or maybe it was the lack of sleep that caused your chronic pain in the first place?

Recent research has shown a reciprocal relationship between chronic pain and sleep. Some studies showed that sleep deprivation indeed caused an increase in pain perception in previously healthy adults. The participants felt overall muscle and joint pain, tenderness and fatigue. Therefore, the less sleep a person got, the more pain they felt.

Can’t Sleep? Can Massage Therapy Help?

~ Joel Ackerman, RMT

It is easy to associate massage therapy with relaxation, stress reduction, and ‘working out the knots’. However, one of the most underappreciated aspects of receiving a good massage is the wonderful night of sleep that so often follows a massage therapy treatment. In a society that seems to be moving towards an epidemic of sleep debt, where an estimated 50% of adults in North America are chronically underslept, it is vital that we understand the importance of sleep in our lives and find ways to improve how we sleep.

Sleep was once thought to be a passive activity, but as the science of sleep develops, we now understand how important sleep is! Sleep is actually a highly regulated process, in which the body performs several vital activities, some of which simply don’t occur at any other time.