Trouble Sleeping? You May Be Deficient in this Nutrient

If you’re having trouble getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night you’re not alone.

About 1 in 3 Americans gets less than 7 hours of sleep.

According to Harvard University Sleep Center, insufficient sleep can lead to poor learning, memory and decision-making as well as increased risk for  disease.

Since sleeping medications have their own significant risks, where do you look for answers?

The place to start is to sleuth out the cause. Not every sleep issue or person, responds to the same treatment. I find it helpful to distinguish between two different types of sleep disturbance.

Two Types of Sleep Issues

  • Extrinsic – which is due to some factor outside of you, your spouse’s snoring, dog barking, light, noisy neighbors or even traveling to a different time zone.
  • Intrinsic – which is caused by an internal imbalance in your circadian rhythm, or a specific nutrient deficiency, such as iron.

If the cause is external like light or noise, read some simple steps to eliminate these factors, click here. If the cause can’t be controlled, many people find it helpful to use some herbal remedies to help take the edge off. Herbs that act as muscle relaxers, like valerian and mental sedatives, like passionflower can help you relax enough that external factors aren’t disruptive.

However, if you find that you get drowsy at 10pm but regularly push through till the wee hours so you can complete that project for work or watch a movie or finish housework you may have an intrinsic cortisol imbalance.

The most restful type of sleep, called Deep Sleep, occurs primarily between the hours of 10pm and 2am.

Cortisol is one of the hormones made by your adrenal glands in response to stress.

When you find you’re regularly up till 2am and then wake exhausted – it’s time to have your adrenal function checked with a simple saliva test.

Another intrinsic factor that can affect your sleep is your iron level. Research shows that low levels of ferritin, which is the storage form of iron, are associated with sleep disruption. If you suspect this is an issue for you – do NOT supplement iron without first having your levels tested. Excess iron can increase the risk of heart disease.

To learn more about what your nutritional imbalances are, click the link to take the Nutritional Profile Quiz. You’ll get your results immediately.

 

Take our Nutrition Profile Quiz!

 

Dr. Marina Rose, practices Functional Medicine in Los Altos, CA. Her practice focuses on digestive issues, mood imbalance, hormones, fatigue and sleep.

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