Breaking the stress-insomnia cycle is imperative to recovery from both stressful situations and the insomnia that may ensue.
Recent studies into sleep disturbances has revealed that 4 out of 10 Australians do not get enough quality sleep every night. While an individual’s need for sleep may vary, the generally recommended 8 hours are all too often not achieved. And it’s not only adults that miss out on the healing impact of sleep, many teenagers are struggling on less than 6 hours sleep.
Going to bed late, working on the computer/tablet/phone, shift workers and parents of babies often suffer health consequences of too little sleep.
The Biochemistry of Insomnia and Stress
Insomnia can be caused by any number of factors, but commonly becomes an issue in response to stress. Interestingly, not every person responds to stress with disruption to their sleep. Individuals with a highly reactive sleep system experience greater deterioration in their sleep due to stress. In turn, poor sleep quality has a negative impact on one’s ability to cope with stress causing exaggerated neurobiological and cognitive-emotional responses. For this reason, breaking the stress-insomnia cycle is imperative to recovery from both stressful situations and the insomnia that may ensue.
How stress changes sleep patterns Stress impacts sleep in a number of ways, including by altering brain wave activity, neurotransmitter levels, and hormone production. Brain wave patterns required for rest and sleep are delta and theta brain waves, whereas those involved in attention, focus, stress and anxiety are primarily beta brain waves. An imbalance in brain wave activity, such as an increase in beta waves due to stress, is associated with insomnia and restoring balance can improve sleep.
Stress also causes increased arousal through activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis resulting in a release of in stress hormones such as adrenocorticotropin releasing hormone (ACTH), corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), cortisol, epinephrine/adrenaline, and norepinephrine/noradrenaline. These hormones impact sleep as their decline in the later part of the day and overnight is required for relaxation and restorative sleep and their elevation, especially later in the day causes an increase in sleep latency and sleep fragmentation.
Options to a great night’s sleep
In order to achieve long term relief from insonmia, the underlying causes need to be identified and addressed. While taking a sleeping pill may appeal for a quick fix, it is not a viable long term option.
Contact us at True Medicine where your individual needs are assessed and various treatment options are available. These may include herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, nutrition and nutrigenomic support.
Call the clinic to arrange an appointment on 0468 774 633.