Here in America, recent statistics indicate that 1 in 8 people have difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Many adults are turning to drugs such as Ambien that have reported side effects like amnesia, sleep walking and unconscious “sleep-eating” during the night.
Even preschoolers have insomnia. We have learned from the hundreds of parents in our BEDROK group that autistic children also have severe sleep disturbance. Sadly, many parents – out of desperation and not knowing any other alternative – give their little ones melatonin supplements that were once only recommended for much older adults.
This phenomenon is a significant concern to us here at Body Ecology because deep sleep is one of the most fundamental ways our body heals itself. Ideally while you sleep your body should be busy repairing itself, so I’d like to offer you some insight that I feel will help you obtain your much-needed sleep without the negative side effects of drugs or even supplements like melatonin.
To start, it’s important to explore why we have difficulty sleeping. Over the years I’ve learned that the hormone cortisol can play a major role in robbing you of a good night’s sleep.
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The Stress or Death Hormones
Cortisol is called the “stress hormone” because it is secreted during times of fear or stress, whenever your body goes into the fight or flight response. Cortisol is made in your adrenals. In the constant state of stress so commonplace today, cortisol creates chronic to severe inflammation that eventually causes premature aging and leads to an earlier death. In fact, cortisol is often called, “the death hormone.”
Cortisol suppresses another important, DHEA, the “youth” hormone.
Cortisol causes blood sugar to elevate and this then leads to an acidic blood condition. Acidic blood leads to the modern life-style epidemics we see today like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.