Why Can't I Sleep?

Why Can't I Sleep?

Americans are no stranger to sleep issues — 70 million people in the United States experience chronic problems with sleep. While this can include getting too much sleep, the majority of people aren’t getting enough sleep, which can pose serious health issues.

There are many things that can affect your sleep. In this month’s blog post, Dr. Scott Lafferty and the team here at Lafferty Family Care are going to focus on the roles that nutrition and hormones play.

Here’s a look.

Your diet and sleep

If there are two areas of your health that are critical to your overall wellness, it’s your diet and sleep. While we may understand these areas individually, it’s important to connect the dots between the two, because they’re related.

To better illustrate this relationship, let’s take a look at a few examples. If your nutritional intake is largely calorie-rich and nutrient poor, this can lead to weight gain. One of the sleep issues that’s directly tied to carrying extra pounds is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which causes the soft tissues at the back of your throat to collapse throughout the night, blocking your airways.

As a result of OSA, many people don’t enter deep sleep, which means that even though they may lie down for 7-9 hours, the rest is not restorative as your brain rouses you each time your airways are blocked.

Diets high in refined carbohydrates may also be culprits behind insomnia, according to a study of postmenopausal women published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sugar and refined carbs cause your blood sugar to rise quickly and then drop, which triggers stress hormones that may affect your sleep quality.

Another problem that can affect sleep is nutrient deficiency. One study found a link between sleep problems in women and deficiencies in key nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

Hormones and your sleep

Your body contains 50 hormones that regulate everything from your reproductive health to your sleep-wake cycles.

For women, the roller coaster ride that their reproductive hormones take throughout their lives can affect their ability to sleep well. For example, when your levels of progesterone drop off when you exit your reproductive years, this can affect sleep, as progesterone is a hormone that relaxes you.

As well, the loss of estrogen as you pass through menopause can also affect how well you sleep as you wake up throughout the night due to hot flashes.

Getting better sleep

If you’re not sleeping well, our goal is to fully evaluate your health, as well as your diet, to determine what’s at the heart of the problem.

If we find that your lack of sleep may be tied to a poor diet, we provide nutrition counseling. Eating a more nutritious diet can lead to better sleep and improvements in just about every other area of your health.

If your hormones are wreaking havoc on your ability to sleep soundly, we offer hormone replacement therapies that can help.

Whatever is causing your lack of sleep, we work tirelessly to identify and treat the underlying problem, so you can get the sleep you need.

To get started, contact our office in Bentonville, Arkansas, to set up an appointment.

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