Lorraine’s Sleep Solutions talk will take place on September the 11th at 1pm.
Over the last twenty eight years of treating clients for a wide range of health issues, I am
struck by the increasing number of people in my diary who have some kind of sleep
problems. Difficulty getting off to sleep, difficulty getting back to sleep if woken – by the
children or the need to pee! – bad dreams, even nightmares, worrying about the events of
the day, hot sweats, feeling restless or even getting cramp, not being able to get
comfortable; it seems getting a regular, refreshing and restorative night’s sleep can be an
elusive thing. And worst of all is the tendency to finally wind down and drop off into
delicious sleep, just as the alarm is about to go off.
A major factor is adrenal fatigue, also known as ‘fight or flight’. A modern day phenomena:
our adrenal glands, that make adrenaline as well as many other hormones, are designed to
deal with big stress events, such as a sudden accident or fright. They are not equipped at all
to cope with what is known as ‘adaptive stress’, which is more chronic, long term stress
such as dealing with a difficult daily commute, noisy neighbours, being unemployed, or
struggling with a job we dislike, or living with some kind of ongoing stress such as a
dysfunctional relationship. The adrenal glands are simply unable to adjust to this so they
become increasingly exhausted. The more run down they get, the harder it is to switch off
at night. The stress increases and the cycle worsens. There is an emerging trend with
children having sleep issues, due to constant study and exam pressure, bullying, after
school clubs, a constant on the go mode of living. Problems such as learning difficulties only
adds to this stress.
When sleep patterns have become chronically disturbed, then at this point the person may
in desperation self medicate with comfort food, alcohol, over the counter sleep remedies,
or even prescribed sleep medication. All of these add to the burden of an already over tired
The good news is that there are solutions, to specifically address whatever sleep issues you
are dealing with. For example, you may not know that eating within one hour of rising in
the morning ensures the body makes enough melatonin (a key sleep hormone) for the next
night’s sleep. So skipping breakfast is an absolute no no! Magnesium, as a supplement, or
as Epsom Salts in the bath encourages relaxation and deeper sleep.
‘Blue screen’ appliances mess with our melatonin production, so introducing a ‘wind down’
routine, much like you would with a toddler, is helpful for everyone from children and
teenagers to pensioners. Switching off the Ipad, banning emails an hour before bed, or
even installing LUXE (a free software program that knows when it is evening and changes
the light on your PC so melatonin production is not damaged, all help. Lavender on the
pillow, or a soothing bath – with Epsom salts added for extra muscle relaxation – can trick
our adrenal glands into switching off.
There are many herbs, supplements and natural treatments that nourish the adrenal
glands, so they can recover and sleep can normalise.
We need sleep to process emotions, to file the events of the day, and if our sleep is
disturbed, we are deprived of the correct cycles of REM (rapid eye movement), which we
should ideally go into for thirty minutes every 90 minutes through the night. When this
natural cycle is broken, we feel stressed, wired, overwhelmed and get things out of
perspective, and certainly won’t start the next day ready to face anything. Chronic sleep
deprivation lowers our immune system and makes us less resilient to disease and life
So in the case of recovery from disease, improving our ability to sleep effectively is a
priority. If a client comes to be with serious health issues, perhaps Lyme disease or chronic
fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia, I will always address sleep issues quickly, so recovery is
assured. A big factor in overweight issues is that the body simply isn’t sleeping well enough
to carry out detox and metabolic processes needed for weight loss.
Homeopathy is superb at managing sleep issues, with effective remedies that stop the night
time bathroom visits, restlessness, a busy mind, with thoughts racing, or even nightmares.
These remedies, especially in tissue salt form are easily managed by the client to get the
In severe cases you will need to ‘bio-hack’ your sleep, a relatively new term which just
means you need to play around with doses of supplements, remedies, foods, stopping
caffeine slightly earlier in the day, and treatment protocols until you get the sleep you
want. I always encourage my clients to take responsibility by trying things for themselves,
adjusting things until that perfect night sleep occurs. They can then replicate it consistently
and other health issues begin to respond. Heaven!
Lorraine Whitby LCPH Homeopath and Integrative Complementary Therapist.