Functional Medicine approaches to Sleep Issues

Sleep Imbalances

Functional Medicine approaches to Sleep Issues

I weaken all human beings for hours each day.

I show you strange pictures while you are away.

I take you by night, by day you get your own back,

None suffer when they have me, but they do tremendously from my lack.

What am I?


More than 75% in the North Americas have sleeping difficulties, and it’s a chronic and very common condition that is being seen by practitioners across the healthcare space. 

But what is sleep? And why is it so important?

Introducing sleep

Every animal sleeps. 

It’s a crucial biological process that allows for repair, growth and development to take place. 

Of course, some animals need less sleep than others, but, as humans, we need a fair amount; think about all of the processes that the human body needs to modulate during this period of rest. 

These processes include:

  • Regulating energy
  • Balancing your mood
  • Storing memories
  • Repairing damaged tissues
  • Building muscle
  • Performing digestive processes
  • And a whole lot more!

Now, some of us believe we don’t need as much as we’re encouraged to have, others are desperate for even more. And, while sleep is based on individual requirements, not getting enough can have a serious and debilitating impact on your health. 

Some of the most common reasons for sleeping difficulties are:

  • Stress
  • Chronic pain
  • Medical conditions (like asthma, sleep apnea, or reflux, for example)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Environmental factors (a partner who snores, a room that is not dark enough, stimulation prior to sleep)
  • These conditions can then further leave you at risk of other concerns like:
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating and memory lapses
  • Irritability or aggressive behaviour
  • Weight gain and cravings
  • Poor performance 

But we’re here to help! No matter what your sleep issue may be, it’s essential to tackle the root cause of it so that you may once again get the rest your body needs to heal itself and go through the processes that can only take place once you’re in deep sleep. 

Naturopathy: We know that good quality sleep, every night is the foundation of good health. Dr Jennah can help you to determine the cause of your sleep imbalances through assessment of your hormones, your overall health and whether sleepless nights are as a result of nutrient imbalance of other lifestyle habits. She can help you to discover the underlying cause of your imbalances and offer interventions that can help you to get the rest you need once again. 

Nutritional Therapy: Your diet plays an important part of your sleep/awake cycle. If you have a nutrient deficiency or your diet does not contain the right types and amounts of foods, it can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to fall into a state of relaxation and prepare for sleep. Not only can this be the reason you toss and turn during the night, it can leave you waking up frequently when you’re supposed to be asleep. Small changes can have a great impact on your ability to rest and sleep well, every night. 

Acupuncture: Often, sleep issues are caused by worry, anxiety and stress, which are all well-researched areas of acupuncture intervention. Sleep itself has also been a target of acupuncture for centuries, where this area of Chinese medicine is used to bring about relief when you face difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. 

Counselling: Any form of stress or trauma can affect your mind’s ability to wind down and prepare for sleep. Worry and other challenges that affect your emotional health can keep you up at night and be the reason you don’t get a good night’s rest. Counselling through your troubles may help you to manage them in such a way that they no longer affect you as significantly and thus allow you to sleep and rest as you need. 

Osteopathy: Pain can have a serious impact on your ability to sleep. Osteopathy may help to balance the nervous system that not only targets the cause of your pain but can reduce the overall tension in your body that will help you to fall asleep and sleep in deeper states that are required for overall health. Cranial osteopathy may alleviate stress-induced sleep disorders, too, and so help with conditions like insomnia, for example. 

Massage Therapy: Massage therapy is well-known for its effects on improving sleep. It helps you to relax, can relieve pain and even stimulate sleep-inducing chemicals to be release from the body that are beneficial for rest and sleep. 

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