By Sandra Chaloux
More than a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Sleep problems can be due to a lack of exercise and a poor diet, anxiety, depression and stress. Watching TV and surfing the net in your bedroom can keep you up at night. Drinking alcohol can make your sleep less restful.
When you’re looking for the cause of a particularly stubborn bout of insomnia, there may also be something on the metabolic level to blame, and the following tests may help you identify the problem.
Test your hormones
Low levels of progesterone in post-menopausal women is often a culprit. For men, low testosterone levels can prevent restful sleep. Cortisol levels, the stress hormone, can significantly impact our sleep/wake cycles as well as our energy level throughout the day.
Check your micronutrient levels
Low levels of some micronutrients, such as magnesium, can lead to poor sleep.
Improve your gut health
Serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter that most antidepressive medications manipulate, is especially important in sleep. About 70 percent of our body’s serotonin is in our gut. Certain bacteria, such as Claustridia, can also negatively affect your brain’s neurochemical balance and disrupt your sleep.
A “functional medicine” practitioner can provide this kind of advanced metabolic and biochemical testing.
Sandra Chaloux (Sandra@wellnesshubnova.com) is the founder of WellnessHubNOVA.com, the premier source for alternative medicine information and consumer-recommended service providers in Northern Virginia.