Fifth Pillar: Sleep

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Researchers are still asking that question as they learn more about Mitochondrial Dysfunction and its effects on the development of different disease processes.  It turns out, sleep plays into this same quandary.  Sleep deprivation can actually trigger gene mutations that can cause Mito Dysfunction.  Additionally, sleep apnea can induce intermittent periods of hypoxia that cause increased oxidative stress shown to damage Mitochondrial DNA, triggering Mito Dysfunction.  But just as important, Mito Dysfunction can cause or exacerbate a number of sleep issues which induces further Mito Dysfunction.

Sleep is vitally important to both physical and psychological health.  Adequate sleep allows the body to recover from injury and aid in cellular repair, strengthens the immune system and bolsters the fight against illnesses, and assists in overcoming other physical and mental stress factors we encounter each day through the proper regulation of hormones.

You’ll never know how much a lack of sleep is impacting your life and overall health until you begin to consistently acquire sufficient sleep.  Once sleep patterns are normalized to include adequate, undisturbed sleep, newfound energy and overall well-being will follow.


Burning the Candle at Both Ends:  Whether you have a high pressure job that demands every waking moment of your an ever expanding day, or you keep yourself busy with some combination of work and fun, scheduling adequate time for sleep should be just as much of a priority in your life.

Sleep Apnea:  Don’t think you have it?  A majority of adults have at least mild sleep apnea.  If you suspect sleep issues, it is worth pursuing a sleep study.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):  Becoming ever more popular, restless leg and other associated syndromes is thought to affect up to 10% of the population.  Research is finding that a vast number of patients (50% or more) experience significant relief and even full resolution of symptoms through appropriate Iron supplementation.  Johns Hopkins discusses Iron supplementation on their site.  Interestingly, it is listed last under treatment options but discussed more in-depth than pharmacological options and touts a 50% success rate.  A Walter Reed sleep expert stated that their clinic has upwards of 80% success in treating RLS through low-dose (45mg), slow release Iron supplementation.  He explained that a full lab evaluation looking at Iron and Farritin levels was necessary but that even people with Iron levels in normal ranges still showed benefit from Iron supplementation; but warned that frequent labs are necessary to ensure against Hemochromatosis (Iron overload).

Hormone Imbalances:  Hormone imbalances can be caused by multiple factors from aging, to stress, to the foods we eat, to the effects of weight, to medical treatments / pharmaceuticals, to voluntary uses of birth control, to toxin exposures.  There are ways to detoxify the body and help restore hormone levels.  For those with more serious impairments, NATURAL (Bio-identical) hormone replacement by a qualified healthcare provider can help you achieve not only better sleep but better overall health.

Nutritional Imbalances:  Several nutritional supplements can provide the body with essential nutrients that can assist in falling asleep quicker and sleeping better.

Stress:  Learning to manage stress not only helps conserve vital energy, but also helps to allow for a more restful sleep.  Stress keeps you awake and often burning even more energy with a brain that won’t shut off as you toss and turn.  The more frustrated you become, the less likely you will get a good night’s rest, even if you do eventually fall asleep.


» Sixth Pillar: Complimentary Therapies

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