“In the morning, you beg to sleep more; in the afternoon, you are dying to sleep, and at night you refuse to sleep.” ~ Unknown
The quote above was true of my life for over a decade. I’m guessing that if you are reading this article, you, too, are frustrated with your insomnia.
Do you feel stress building as you approach bedtime? In my work at Tiger Medical Institute, I meet with successful professionals, almost all of whom say they are struggling with sleep. You aren’t alone.
I want you to know you can improve your sleep and feel better. It will take time and some discipline, and you’ll have to invest some hard-earned money into the solution, but if you stick with it, you can sleep wonderfully again. This was my journey, and here is what I learned.
This article will cover three significant points:
- What are Common Causes of Sleep Problems?
- What are Effective Solutions to Sleep Problems?
- Who Should I See for My Sleep Problem?
First, I want to educate you on why you aren’t sleeping well. Awareness is the beginning of making better choices which leads to better results.
What are the Common Causes of Sleep Problems?
When individuals struggle with sleep problems, it can typically be caused by one of these six major causes:
- Pain – chronic pain keeps you from going into deeper, restorative sleep.
- Restless legs – like pain, this will prevent healthy sleep.
- Apnea – many are undiagnosed. This is a significant roadblock to good sleep.
- Eating too late – rather than recovering, your body is digesting when you eat late.
- Alcohol consumption – alcohol disrupts the natural sleep cycle process.
- Poor sleep hygiene – poor room conditions and too much blue light hurt sleep quality.
- Daytime stress - the cumulative effect of stress in your daily work against experiencing a good night’s rest.
What are Effective Solutions to Sleep Problems?
For individuals without chronic pain and other neurological disorders, here are eight ways to eliminate sleep problems:
- Stress Management – stress prevents your body from getting into a restful state.
- Sleep Hygiene – simply eliminating poor practices will help your sleep.
- TRE – time-restricted eating will improve your sleep as you correctly time your eating.
- Test/Resolve Apnea – resolution of Apnea will dramatically improve your sleep.
- Genetic Testing – genes play a role in your sleep quality. Learn precisely how you can treat your sleep disturbances.
- Root Cause Testing – supplementation to support imbalances will improve your sleep.
- Health Habits – engaging in daily movement, hydration, good nutrition, and mindfulness practices will improve your sleep.
- Targeted Supplementation - With a doctor’s help, you can target specific weaknesses based on testing to improve your sleep.
Who Should I See About My Sleep Problems?
Who is the best provider to help you assess and treat your sleep problem? Here I’ve outlined six options for you to consider. As you read, consider which provider will help you employ all eight above methods to improve sleep while eliminating clinical causes.
- Your primary care doctor can help diagnose and treat insomnia. Depending on your health history and symptoms, they may refer you to a specialist. For example, they may direct you to a neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or alternative medicine practitioner. If you cannot afford to go outside your insurance plan benefits, your best bet is to work with your primary care doctor and the doctors they refer you to.
- A sleep doctor can diagnose insomnia and work with you to help identify its causes. She will work with the sleep team at an accredited sleep center to treat your insomnia. Consider keeping a sleep diary for two weeks before your visit. This can be a good route if you have the resources to dig deeper into your sleep problem. The downside is that it may not be as comprehensive as you need to get to the root cause of your sleep disturbances.
- Psychologists who do Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be effective solutions for those with significant insomnia instead of sleep quality issues. Your primary care physician will determine if you are struggling with sleep quality or suffering from insomnia and will refer you to a psychologist.
- Dentists specializing in sleep treatment can also be an effective route to pursue if you know you have airway blockage issues. Dentists can create oral devices you wear at night to open your blocked airways, thus improving your sleep. Dentists have other treatments, such as laser therapy, you can pursue in your search for answers to your sleep problems.
- Neurologists tend to provide treatment for sleeping disorders when the cause is thought to be neurological. Central sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome can all be related to neurological issues and are best treated by a neurologist. Neurologists have the facilities to perform a sleep study and evaluate other nervous system contributors to your sleep problems. If pain, breathing issues, and restless leg syndrome are present, work with a neurologist to resolve those issues first.
- Functional doctors employ different methodologies to assess and treat common problems such as sleep challenges. In my case, I chose to go this route. My functional doctor ran a genetics test and found I had a significant propensity to experience sleep disturbances genetically. This explained why I still struggled to sleep consistently well, despite good stress management and sleep hygiene habits. In addition, my doctor ran a comprehensive battery of root cause tests and found other physiological imbalances that he then prescribed targeted supplements to support. He created a personalized supplement plan from my genetic results to treat my natural sleep-related weaknesses. The combination of good habits with precision data ultimately resolved my sleep problems!
If you have the resources to pay privately, outside medical insurance, this can be an excellent way to resolve your sleep challenges by getting to the root cause.
What Can I Do Next?
Based on the contents of this article, think about what may be causing your sleep problems. Certain sleep solutions can be implemented immediately to start your path to improving your sleep.
If you have pain, restless leg syndrome, or suspect airway problems, you should see a neurologist to address these core issues. If you don’t, all the other solutions won’t work.
If you aren’t in pain or struggling with restless leg syndrome and have the resources to dig into the problem from a root cause perspective, I would encourage you to see a functional doctor with experience in resolving sleep problems.
At Tiger Medical Institute, our doctors are experienced in sleep resolution. We employ a full spectrum of testing to get at the root cause. This includes genetics, and an in-home sleep study, which is more convenient than a full-scale clinic study. Our health coaches are skilled at sleep optimization by teaching stress management, sleep hygiene, and several health habit changes that, combined with good, sound investigative work, can lead to a complete resolution of your sleep problems.
If you know you have a sleep problem, have decided to work with a functional doctor, and want to learn more about how Tiger Medical could help you eliminate your sleep problems, click here to book a call and get started today.