Sleep . . . Are you getting it?

SleepingThere are a number of ways to intervene for symptom relief, medications being only one. I know of an individual who works varying shifts and has difficulty being able to initiate and maintain sleep (referred to medically as DIMS). This individual had successfully used a very low dose of clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, and desired to get off of medication. Apparently they had read information stating that any use of benzodiazepines must be avoided.

You must understand that I believe that lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of physical and emotional symptoms. The time that a person sleeps is time that the body uses to recover from the stresses and toxins of day-to-day life. Your regular times of going to sleep or awakening can be a significant barrier to effective sleep.

The particular individual to which I refer here apparently has a long history of seeking sleep remedies and has used most over-the-counter remedies available with little or no success. They are now repeating the process of going into a “health food store” to seek relief, with their primary resource being the label on the various sleeping aids. I consider this equal to going into a pharmacy and selecting medication based on television commercials or the attractiveness of the label on a particular medication.

There are many ways to evaluate the body’s need for chemical intervention without randomly selecting chemicals to ingest, in the hopes that relief will be just around the corner. Lack of sleep can be a symptom of a variety of underlying problems. Depression or anxiety are only two of the underlying reasons and in both of these cases talk therapy has been shown throughout the history of treatment to be at least as effective as any chemical intervention. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a highly recommended method to address sleep issues without chemical intervention.

Chemical imbalances as well as amino acid imbalances, such as serotonin, can be accurately evaluated through urine and saliva samples. I recommend researching as one potential resource. I’m sure that there are other testing facilities, and I would like to hear about more of them, but I have used NeuroScience personally and professionally and find them to be highly credible and effective as well as scientifically based. Many insurance companies will actually cover the cost of the testing.

Relaxation therapy, such as biofeedback, is another effective method to address underlying issues that impair relaxation and therefore can get in the way of sleep. Like medications, not all biofeedback is created equally and therefore I recommend dealing with professionals who understand the science behind biofeedback.

Vitamin and mineral supplementation is also very effective but knowing what deficiency exists and whether the intervention is effective is essential. Randomly taking high doses of vitamins and minerals can be as harmful as using the wrong medication.

Your body is a biochemical machine and needs to be in balance to operate at peak performance. You wouldn’t dump random chemicals into your car. Give your body the same respect.

Remember, managing life is a choice. Make informed choices, including the chemicals you put into your body.