Updated: Feb 3
One of the common problems I see my practice is sleep disorders or insomnia and how it worsens symptoms of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
If you are one of those people, who have trouble falling asleep or wake up multiple times in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, you might be suffering from insomnia.
In this blog, I am going to cover, how you can treat insomnia, naturally by boosting your gut health.
Step 1: How to improve your sleep through nutrition Improving your diet can go a long way towards helping you sleep well. Here are some changes you can make to your diet that can ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Avoid stimulants after 4 pm. Most of us know that tea and coffee can keep us awake. Did you know that chocolate, tobacco and alcohol can also affect sleep? Some people are more sensitive to them than others. Replace caffeinated drinks after 4 pm with fruit team or Caroline team which can have a relaxing effect on your body and can assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
Eat half a banana before bed - Bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium, which allow your body's muscles to relax. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body to produce serotonin that aids your body to regulate sleep.
Increase Magnesium and Calcium intake by eating certain foods or through supplements - Research shows that magnesium can affect your quality of sleep in several ways. First and foremost, magnesium is critical to the body’s absorption of melatonin. Melatonin controls when you fall asleep at night and when you wake up in the morning. It is crucial for a restful sleep. Magnesium also regulates calcium which is a mineral that can cause muscles to contract. This means that magnesium can help relax your muscles so you're ready to sleep.
Magnesium is needed in order to use calcium
Non-dairy calcium-rich foods include
Green leafy vegetables
Use of magnesium salts to your bath can help you absorb magnesium through your skin.
Eat enough protein throughout the day
Eat good quality protein from either plant-based sources such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, cottage cheese or turkey, chicken that will help with the production of serotonin.
This intern is converted into melatonin, which we need for sleep.
Step 2: How you can improve the Melatonin production which is the hormone your body’s releases when you sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone released by the body when we sleep. Usually, the better we sleep, the more melatonin we release. This hormone might be the major connection between sleep and digestive system/ gut.
It has been shown that poor sleep leads to lower melatonin which then directly correlates to gut damage. Many IBS suffered are low in melatonin. Studies show that by improving your melatonin in the body resulted in decreased abdominal pain and overall improvement of other IBS symptoms.
While it is possible to get supplements of melatonin, I think it is better to do our best to increase this more naturally such as sleeping in a darkened room and eating the right foods.
Foods for Melatonin production
Although we need darkness to make melatonin, we also need the nutrients from which it is made. We need the amino acids, tryptophan which comes from food to make serotonin which in turns makes melatonin.
Eat foods like
- Turkey, chicken
- Sesame seeds, various nuts
- Eat enough protein throughout the day
- Camomile tea is relaxing
Step 3: How can Homeopathy help with Insomnia
Insomnia has a strong connection with stress and adrenal fatigue. Some might have been prescribed OTC sleep medicines to help them sleep, but they need to take them over and over again and this could have long term side effects on their health.
Contrary to conventional medication, homeopathy approaches chronic insomnia by looking at how a person is affected by insomnia. The root cause of their problem (which could be grief, trauma, stress, adrenal fatigue), symptoms picture (how is it affecting their health in particular) and how it is influenced by underlying health conditions. By using this individualised approach the vital force of the individual which was blocked due to emotional causes could be renewed to help clear all the symptoms. My patients notice not the only improvement in sleep quality, but also their overall energy, digestion and resilience to stress improve. And all this using natural remedies that have no side effects.
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