awake all night, sleeping in, can't fall asleep, can't wake up early

Are Some People Just Born Night Owls? The Truth About Insomnia

Some patients tell me they’re “naturally” night owls, and they just prefer to stay up late and sleep in. But the truth is that optimal sleep patterns don’t fall into the category of preference.

We are hard-wired to sleep when it’s dark. And specifically, before 11pm.

Over millions of years of human evolution sleep patterns kept in synch with the daily rhythm of  light exposure. We rose with the sun, and went to bed soon after sundown. This is what our bodies are adapted for.

What’s Really Keeping You Up At Night?

In almost all cases, having a lot of energy late into the night is a sign of an adrenal imbalance. Normally, cortisol, which is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, should be high in the morning and taper off through the day and into the evening.

This normal pattern of cortisol gives us the energy we need to wake up in the morning, and allows us to start winding down after dark so we’re ready to sleep. In people who’ve been exposed to significant chronic stress, this rhythm goes haywire.

They have low cortisol in the morning (they wake up exhausted) and high cortisol at night, which gives them that late second wind. While drinking several cups of coffee can kick start the morning it also continues the cycle by revving them up in the evening.

When I treat these “night owls” to address cortisol and blood sugar dysregulation, sometimes they get worried because they’re tired at night-time. But of course feeling tired at night is a good thing! It can take several weeks for the body to adjust to a more natural rhythm and to adjust the activity schedule. No more leaving a project to be started at 11pm.

Click here to take Dr. Rose’s Nutritional Profile Quiz and get an overview of what your nutritional imbalances could be. You’ll get your results immediately.

Dr. Marina Rose uses functional medicine to help people in and around Mountain View, CA to get the good quality sleep they need to rest, rebuild and repair.

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