Are You Pooped? Tips To Improve Sleep
Are you pooped? Me too! If you’re like me and most of my patients, who have super busy lives, you might be staying up late trying to catch up, burnt out from chronic day to day stressors, or suffering from a disrupted sleep pattern. Your fatigue could be due to some underlying physiological imbalance and if left unaddressed, it could lead to further and more complicated health imbalances.
Almost all of my patients complain of some kind of fatigue. Whether it’s waking up un-refreshed, having a late afternoon energy slump, constantly feeling drained, or menstrual related exhaustion, one thing’s for sure – most of us are really pooped and this is not a healthy normal.
In Chinese Medicine, we recognize different forms of fatigue – it can be physical, mental, emotional or any combination of these. They’re inter-related and one type can cyclically lead to another and can even eventually lead us down the road to depression, adrenal fatigue and/or hormone imbalance.
Here’s how to avoid it:
The first order of business is to take a look at how you are sleeping and consider some of our tips to improve sleep. Are you getting the recommended minimum 7-8 hours of sleep per night? Here’s a link to a recent blog by our Naturopath, Dr. Kali MacIsaac on the Epidemic of Undersleeping.
How is your sleep hygiene? Are you taking your phone or tablet to bed, doing one quick last email or watching one last episode before calling it a night? A recent article discusses research showing that two hours of screen-time is enough to suppress your body's release of melatonin, which is a key hormone in regulating your circadian system and also linked to reproduction. There is much we can do to optimize sleep, click here for a recent blog outlining some practices for supporting healthy sleep.
If you are still suffering from sleep issues despite going to bed early and endlessly counting sheep, there is some internal imbalance that needs to be addressed.
Are you having trouble falling asleep, waking through the night or having disruptive dreams? Is your digestive system keeping you up, are you thirsty through the night or are you having to wake up to go the bathroom? Are you too cold, warm or sweating in the night? These are just some of the important questions to ask when dissecting your sleep health and they all point toward a different underlying imbalance.
Your exhaustion could also be related to some other systemic imbalance. According to Chinese Medicine, looking at these sleep patterns, your general metabolism, digestion, circulation, hormones and stress levels can reveal if your systems are blocked, sticky, deficient, or any combination of these.
You can make lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, and find other ways to minimize stress in order to help shift your body’s health in the right direction. The right prescription of acupuncture points and herbs can further support your body to open up the blockages, clear up the stickiness, or boost the deficiency more effectively too.
Fatigue is not just about sleep, it’s also about over-work, stress, hormone imbalance, or it could even be from not getting enough nutrients from an inefficient digestive system. Bottom line is, why are we so tuckered? Despite it seeming normal because everyone else around us is beat too – it is not normal! And it is detrimental to our physical and mental health, which leads to more fatigue.
Good news is, there is so much that can be done to break the cycle, boost our energy, and reclaim our vitality. So where to start? Well…I am personally going to start by having a glass of water, then I’m going to go for a walk, set an alarm on my phone to signal when to start getting ready for bed tonight and maybe I’ll book myself in for some acupuncture and an IV with Kali…. Perhaps I will see you there! I hope I do!
Dr. Alda Ngo
If you have any questions about how we can help you with your fatigue, please feel free to book a free 15 minute consult, we are happy to help!