How important is sleep, really?? In my opinion, it is one of the four pillars of health and longevity: quality sleep, optimal hormone replacement, good nutrition, and nutraceuticals. My patients often struggle with sleep for so long that it becomes normal, and some don’t even recognize it as a problem. They learn to live with it or technically without it. During sleep our bodies regenerate. Our cells go through “autophagy” or cellular turnover. The body goes through and identifies damaged cells that are no longer healthy, and breaks those cells down to allow for newer healthier cells. The two best ways to induce autophagy are quality sleep and intermittent fasting. This process of autophagy is very critical to brain health and fat burning. Imagine your kitchen if you didn’t take out the trash for a week! Poor sleep can affect appetite, weight, mood, energy, and depression. Lack of quality sleep could be due to hormonal imbalance for both men and women. It’s important to have your levels checked with a specialist in hormone optimization. Patients who frequently snore or don’t wake rested may suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and would benefit from a sleep study. If you have been diagnosed with OSA, it is imperative for your overall health and longevity that you routinely use your CPAP machine. OSA significantly increases the risk of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and dementia, if left untreated. Male patients are impressed with the improvement in sexual function by simply using their CPAP machine. When looking for OTC options to help with insomnia, many patients have tried sleep aids to help, but unfortunately, purchase medications that actually can be dangerous long-term. I frequently learn of my patients taking antihistamines to help sleep without knowing the risks. Research shows if taken routinely, they can actually be harmful to brain cells. Dr. Dale Bredensen, leading neurologist, frequently discusses how they increase the risk of dementia. This is the key ingredient found in many OTC meds ending in “PM”. Instead, the healthiest OTC option to help adults with sleep is melatonin, a natural hormone with huge health benefits including decreasing inflammation, cancer, and dementia. Melatonin secretion decreases with age. It is important to find high-quality supplements as most are not tested to prove the ingredients. Your best option is to purchase from your local physician’s office or local pharmacy as they tend to carry “neutraceuticals” which are OTC supplements that undergo the quality testing of a prescription. Melatonin is available in several doses and immediate release or sustained release forms. Immediate release tends to help patients fall asleep, while sustained-release tends to help patients stay asleep. Some will need a combination of both to achieve their sleep goals. Our staff is happy to discuss options with you based on your health concerns. Another favorite for insomnia is Ashwagandha. It is known for its calming properties and can be taken during the day for anxiety or at bedtime to help calm the busy brain. At Weaver Clinics, we offer hormone testing and provide a complete line of nutraceuticals online or in one of our five clinics. Stop by and visit with our staff about which supplements are best for you to help you look and feel your best!
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.“
Proverbs 3:24 NKJV
Blessings & Health!
Dr. Kim Weaver, MD, Founder / CEO Weaver Clinics