Written by Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND
Last year an important cohort study published in the UK in the BMJ was released. It stated that people taking anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills significantly increase their chance of dying. The participants were followed over a period of 7 years and they ranged from 16 years old and older. So what does this mean to the millions of people who suffer from anxiety and insomnia who take these medications?
In addition, it is well known that these medications are also highly addictive and they are associated with impaired cognition, falling and unintentional injuries. Now, this does not mean that they don’t work, but the questions should be “at what expense?” It is important that patients try to spend as little time on them as possible and that we consider other more natural options.
Naturopathically, our objective is to always get to the root cause of health problems. Here are some possible reasons why you may be feeling anxious and with racing thoughts at night:
– Deficiency of Magnesium and other essential minerals – Minerals have a very calming effect in our body. They help to relax muscles. Due to our very busy and hectic lifestyles, it is not unusual to be deficient on these nutrients.
– Excess stimulants – Coffee, tea, pop, tobacco, and energy drinks containing caffeine are all stimulants and they will make anxiety worse and it will prevent you from falling asleep. Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours and it takes 5 half lives to completely clear ad drug from our body. So what does this mean? This means that after drinking a cup of coffee, it will take 30 hours for your body to completely clear it out. So yes, even if you are drinking only 1 cup of coffee in the morning, it will still be circulating in your system by night time. Can you imagine the effects of 2 or 3 or even 4 cups of coffee per day!!
– Hormonal Imbalances – Starting from the age of 40 (in some even 30) we start to experience fluctuations in our hormones. This can be due to environmental or dietary toxins or from stress and unhealthy lifestyles. Some examples are, low progesterone, high estrogens, or high or low cortisol levels. These imbalances will lead to anxiety, racing thoughts, feeling overwhelmed and irritated all the time.
– Imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA – This is why anti-depressants are prescribed. But did you know that there are nutritional changes and supplements that will encourage your own body to produce more serotonin. One of the most basic changes you can make is increase your protein intake to 3 or 4 servings per day. Protein gives you amino acids which are the building blocks for serotonin. Why not help your own body to produce what it needs!!
These are just some of the reason why you may be experiencing your symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. There are different functional tests that can help determine what is the root cause of your anxiety and insomnia. Decreasing the need of medication will help you live a healthier and longer life. Start today!
The practitioners at Miranda Naturopathic Clinic will be happy to help in evaluating your current health condition and guide you through the right changes to help you feel better. We offer 10 min free “Meet & Greet” appointments. Call us 905-239-3900