Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions

Insomnia: Causes and Natural Solutions

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In order to fall asleep and stay asleep we must be calm both physically and mentally. Without this balance we will have a hard time falling asleep and maintaining sleep. Anything that overstimulates our brain will negatively impact our sleep cycles. The most common causes of sleep disturbances generally stem from stress, environmental stimuli and in some cases substance abuse.  Too much stress or a hectic home environment can preoccupy our brains to the point of insomnia. This is especially true with work or tasks that deal with a great level of responsibility.

New York City at night

Of course there are natural methods to help facilitate sleep. First sleep in a dark environment (light inhibits the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone in our brain). A great way to relax before sleep is by meditation, reading a relatively boring book, taking a hot bath or shower, drinking a warm glass of milk with honey (milk contains tryptophan which stimulates sleep and honey contains simple sugars which also facilitate sleep). If you need something stronger you can opt for melatonin, tryptophan or herbal teas that contain valerian, hops, chamomile or passion flower. All of these are well known sleep herbs.

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A word about alcohol: Alcohol is a neural depressant. This means that it acts as a depressant on the brain. It relaxes the nerves and the brain. When you stop drinking there is a rebound effect in the opposite direction. The brain is overstimulated and you will have problems sleeping for a while. This usually lasts a few days up to a couple of weeks (depending on how much and how long you have been drinking for). Drinking more alcohol will temporarily help in this situation. But you don’t want to do this as it will lead to alcoholism. Try the natural options listed above. If you still have major problems sleeping look into the use of medical marijuana for insomnia. You can legally get a prescription and it is an effective method for insomnia (especially the indica strains that are high in CBD content).

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Remember also that other deficiencies (other than melatonin) can also lead to sleep problems. The most common type is the deficiency of the B vitamins. Try a B complex vitamin before sleep and you may notice a significant difference. Try not to eat a large meal right before bed and be sure to exercise at least a few hours before bed (right before can cause over-stimulation). Again, hot milk and some simple sugars (in the form of honey for example) induce sleep, while stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, black and green tea can inhibit sleep. Of course, also steer clear of stimulating illicit drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, etc before sleep (and at times if possible).

Finally, try and stay away from over-the-counter sleep aids or prescription sleeping pills if possible, as they can be highly addictive. If you must use something strong try medical marijuana. But remember it may leave you drowsy in the morning. Till next time.

 

Dr. Karol

Author: Dr. Karol, MD

Alternative medicine expert, educator, medical health advisor and author. Recognized as a health expert who is highly knowledgeable in conventional medicine, supplementation, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition and diet and exercise programs. Karol graduated with a B.Sc. with distinction from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Following this Karol completed a doctor of medicine degree as well as the medical post-graduation internship in Europe. Karol started his media career by hosting the radio Radical Remedies portion of The Natural Health Show. The Natural Health Show brings together a collection of health experts to discuss natural health solutions in a way that’s easy to understand. Karol also speaks on health matters and the potential of healthy ingredients on video blogs and at health tradeshows. He currently works closely with and represents some of Canada’s leading health product companies. Karol is currently the Medical Director of Vitarock.com, an online store for all things healthy. Here Karol reviews the products considered by Vitarock to ensure they meet the company’s four core pillars; to be pure, green, safe and fair. He also interacts directly with Vitarock’s online shoppers, being available by phone to provide a free medical consultation and to recommend the best possible products. He is also a senior advisor for dicentra, one of Canada’s leading regulatory and scientific consulting firms. Karol reviews science and compiles reports for Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help companies bring new and exciting products and ingredients to market. His overall philosophy is that as a society we should implement a more personal approach to our existing medical system showing more empathy, personal attention, as well as emotional and psychological support to individuals in need of help. He also believes in the value of integrating modern Western medical practice with natural remedies, exercise, time spent with nature, and a healthy diet rich in super foods.

2 thoughts on “Insomnia: Causes and Natural Solutions

  1. Dr. Karol,
    Thank you for the article on insomnia. It was very helpful. Keep up the good work, your articles are very much appreciated!

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