after she greeted me on the phone? First I thought, Wow, she sounds tired. However, I hear this SO often I knew it would only be a matter of time between hearing do I have insomnia and wow am I rested!
Sleep “issues” are usually jumbled up into one single problem by most doctors. To illustrate, not sleeping well is all lumped together with whether you might require some help falling asleep, staying asleep or having better sleep quality.
Further, the treatment is usually addictive and ultimately brain-harming sleeping pills. Yuk.
Let’s talk about Laura, a high-level executive with the complaint she never felt rested which is why she asked to do I have insomnia. Do you feel the same way perhaps?
I also wondered if that was “all” so I pressed on trying to isolate the real issues.
Laura’s big complaint was that when she laid down to GET to sleep, her mind raced with thoughts and to do lists. (Sleep “initiation” issues). In addition, she awoke in the middle of the night (interrupted sleep), AND she awoke unrefreshed. This is the trifecta of bad sleep that eventually leads to depression, short term memory loss and even Alzheimer’s. It also does a number on your immune system! Have you been there? Are you THERE now? I personally have been so I relate! Indeed, the answer to her query, “Do I have insomnia,” was a resounding YES!
So, she took our DO I have insomnia quiz:
Let’s see if we can figure out just why Laura (and perhaps you?) are feeling as if you are not sleeping well. Also, let’s find out if the question “Do I have insomnia” is one you might want to ask yourself? By the way, this is one of the top 3 questions asked to doctors who usually just prescribe sleeping pills. Not to mention, these pills are addictive and also linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
How many hours do you sleep at night?
Less than 7-8 is inadequate. Start right there, and you’ll be getting better sleep.
Do you keep a regular schedule of going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time, not just during weekdays but seven days a week?
Is your bedroom “sleep friendly” (Comfortable bed, cool, relaxing and quiet environment, great comfy plush pillow?)
All lights, including LED’s off or covered?
Do you stop all TV or computer work 2 hours before bedtime?
Do you finish your exercise routine at least 4 hours prior to bedtime?
Do you avoid caffeine after noon and alcohol after 8 PM? (Some people are super-sensitive).
Do you stop food consumption at least 2 hours before bedtime?
Do you feel that you are having stress and or anxiety issues?
Do you feel that you need help falling asleep?
Do you wake up early, or have multiple wake-ups not related to having to use the restroom?
Do you take a pharmaceutical grade melatonin supplement of at least 2-3 mg nightly before bedtime or a combo melatonin + another natural sleep aid supplement?
Lastly, do YOU think to yourself “DO I HAVE INSOMNIA” or is it not a thought that goes through your head?
Two or more “no’s” means Laura was not practicing “safe sleep.” In fact, she answered “no” multiple times. So, I was getting somewhere with “diagnosis.” On a whole, those questions relate to proper “sleep hygiene” which I discuss in depth in my free e-book. You can find it at the end of this article.
If it’s hard for you to fall asleep, you have a problem with “sleep initiation.” This issue could be indicative of stress, anxiety, depression or other similar problems. If you awaken multiple times or are not refreshed upon awakening, you are not getting enough “REM” sleep. This is often associated with “adrenal issues” causing energy problems.
Was energy a problem too? Laura was a typical high-stress-high-cortisol personality and being so young her energy should have been great. However, she said it was a 6-7 on a 1-10 scale. Obviously, stress and adrenal stress were present; pretty predictable actually. She was pretty close to needing to take adrenal fatigue supplements. Are you?
So what WAS Laura’s problem? How did I fix it?
The main reason Laura was asking “do I have insomnia” had to do with needing help falling asleep. She had trouble with sleep initiation meaning falling asleep.
Laura first needed some stress management techniques and a natural sleep aid containing melatonin to swish and swallow.
I chose a multi-purpose sleep aid that was quite effective because it was more than an initiation problem. The sleeping aid has a silly name called sito-slumber. It has ingredients you can also find elsewhere I’m sure.
Since sleep initiation issues are commonly associated with too much glutamate and not enough of the relaxing brain chemical GABA due to (common!) magnesium deficiency, I added that too. That, in retrospect, was the “magic bullet.” Specifically, Mg++ threonate is the only Mg++ that crosses the blood brain barrier to work. It’s considered to be the best magnesium supplement for a host of reasons including being the best brain health mineral.
She was awakening with her mind racing before balancing magnesium. In fact, due to the multiple issues requiring more than one ingredient, we allowed her to use another sito-slumber and added two capsules of inositol as well. We ended up also having her use chewable PharmaGABA for wake-ups when she couldn’t get to sleep, and during the day as needed.
If you recall, above, you will remember that Laura’s energy levels were not where they should be. While she did not quite have “adrenal fatigue,” she certainly had adrenal stress requiring adrenal support. So, in addition to stress management techniques, we added the two supplements adrenothrive and the adrenal glandular called adrenal fusion; 2 caps of each 2x a day plus she just loved her relaxing herbal moor-baths pre-bedtime.
Of course, I had to fix her diet to make it whole foods and an anti-inflammatory diet. Why? Well, in general, for her overall health. Additionally, inflammation can actually interfere with sleep quality! In fact, I made sure she cut off the caffeine at noon. She was one of those people who was “sensitive” to caffeine. Further, she sometimes exercised in the evenings, so I had her change that routine too.
Since Laura was a Platinum Circle AWS member, she got to interact as much as she wanted with me and “reported in” frequently on her quality of sleep and stress levels. She preferred email as do most of my busy clients from this website. Non-members can still access a lot of great material- just look all around, and you’ll find lots of articles, help for shopping, books, and even chat with me! Free!
She also had some issues with her sleep environment. Her pillow, for instance, was lumpy and she often awoke with a sore neck. So she needed a great pillow.
We got her a great one! A pillow so good that when members get OUR pillow, their spouses “steal it” and they end up buying another one!
She also needed to get a sleep mask and some silicone earplugs because “someone was snoring!”
In addition, she was addicted to using her tablet in bed (something that for SURE interrupts sleep initiation).
Then, we discovered that she was actually bringing work to bed! Bad!
No wonder she was dreaming about what she had to do at work, right? I got her into low light and low mental energy reading before bed.
Anyway, good sleep in all of the phases takes more than a couple of weeks to fix totally. However, within 6-8 weeks Laura was getting the best sleep of her life! She was also getting compliments about how glowing her skin looked which is something (“great skin“) that always happens when we fix your sleep.