Advancing age is often accompanied by increasing dissatisfaction with the amount and quality of sleep.1 Insomnia is often thought of as trouble falling asleep. One form of it, called sleep-maintenance insomnia, is difficulty staying asleep, or waking too early and struggling to get back to sleep. Sleep onset insomnia seems to affect women more often than men. There are many causes of sleep onset insomnia but frequently there is a psychological stress (children leaving home, work etc) that affects the ability to sleep soundly. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and medical conditions such as depression, pain syndromes or sleep apnea can also cause frequent waking. Many of the currently available agents used to treat insomnia, including the antidepressant trazodone, the non-benzodiazepine hypnotics zopiclone, and some of the benzodiazepines, have not consistently demonstrated effectiveness in promoting sleep maintenance. Furthermore, the benzodiazepines with established sleep maintenance efficacy are associated with grogginess the next day, the risk of dependence, or both.2 So what’s a person to do?
Naturopathic medicine can offer a wide variety of simple solutions to improve sleep maintenance. Depending on the individual concerns, naturopathic medicine may focus on sleep hygiene (habits around sleep time), management of the stress hormone cortisol, managing of female hormone balance and menopausal symptoms, blood sugar regulation, addressing underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression and calming the nervous system. If you have questions about how your sleeps could improve, please contact me, visit my website or book online!
Hughes, R,, Sack, R. & Lewy, A. (1998). The role of melatonin and circadianphase in age-related sleep maintenance insomnia: Assessment in a Clinical Trial of Melatonin replacement. (1),52-68.
Rosenberg, R. (2004) Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: Strengths and Weaknesses of Current Pharmacologic Therapies. , (1), 49-56.