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Helen Pensanti, M.D.

Quick Order Natural Hormones Dr. Pensanti Interview with John R. Lee M.D.

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by
Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno

Insomnia Information

Dr. Pensanti wishes to thank Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, physicians of Natural Medicine, who have collaborated on the book, "The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," for their contribution of information for this program.

Probably the most important contributors to a healthy lifestyle are: 1) eating a healthy and varied diet; 2) a regular exercise program; and 3) good sleeping habits. Human sleep is perhaps one of the least understood physiological processes we employ, but absolutely essential to both body and mind.

How much sleep does a person need?

It obviously varies with the person, but tends to decrease with age. A one year old baby requires about 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.

A five year old needs about 12 hours in a 24 hour period.

An adult generally requires about 8 hours, with women requiring slightly more sleep than men.

The older a person gets, the less sleep they need, but their ability to sustain sleep gets more difficult also, probably as a result of decreased levels of important brain chemicals, primarily serotonin and melatonin.

What are the causes of insomnia?

The most common causes of insomnia are psychological: depression, anxiety and tension. If psychological factors do not seem to be the cause, various foods, drinks, and medications may be responsible.

How is it treated?

Traditionally, insomnia has been treated with two classes of drugs, antihistamines and benzodiazepines. Antihistamines like Benadryl and Nytol are available over the counter, while benzodiazepines like valium and helicon are available by prescription only. Both classes of drugs are effective in the short term, but can cause significant problems with long term use.

Looking for causative factors of insomnia and treating those is a much more effective approach. But it should be stated that if you have taken a benzodiazepine for more than four weeks, do not stop taking the drug suddenly, for symptoms of withdrawal can include anxiety, irritability, panic, insomnia, nausea, headache, impaired concentration, memory loss, depression, extreme sensitivity to the environment, seizures, hallucinations and paranoia. It is important to work with your primary care physician to slowly taper off the drug.

More natural ways to deal with insomnia on the physical level include making sure your diet if free of natural stimulants, such as caffeine and related compounds like colas, chocolate, cocoa, tea and even coffee flavored ice cream. Alcohol can also have sleep-impairing effects. Nocturnal hypoglycemia (caused by nighttime snacking or overeating of refined carbohydrates) can wreak havoc on healthy sleep cycles as well.

A good exercise program also promotes healthy sleep. Exercise should be performed in the morning or early evening, not before bedtime, and should be of moderate intensity.

There are also numerous muscle relaxing techniques that can promote a sense of well being and prepare the body and mind for sleep.

If a little help is still needed, supplementing your diet with tryptophan (which promotes serotonin release) or melatonin, which are naturally occurring substances, shortly before bedtime, can be helpful.

Don't forget that psychological factors such as depression, anxiety and tension are the number one causes of insomnia. Do what is in your power to do to reduce stress factors in your life, and better rest will follow.

So to summarize, effective treatment of insomnia involves identifying and addressing causative factors, not masking them with over the counter or prescription drugs that can cause bigger problems in the long run.

 

Cordially,

Helen Pensanti M.D.

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  4. 7 Steps to Healing
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  10. Alzheimer's Prevention Plan
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  12. Anti-Aging Tips
  13. Anxiety and Stress
  14. Arteries Clean
  15. Arthritis
  16. Atherosclerosis
  17. Baby Boomers and Alzheimer’s Disease
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  19. Bananas are healthy!
  20. Beating Breast Cancer with Nutrition
  21. Belly Fat
  22. Beta Glucan
  23. Beauty of Mathematics
  24. Bio-Identical VS Synthetic Hormones
  25. Bladder Infection Help - Parsley Tea
  26. Blood Clots
  27. Breast Cancer Inducing Chemicals
  28. Breast Cancer Profile
  29. Breast Cancer and Synthetic Hormones
  30. Buying and Preparing Fresh Fish
  31. Cancer Prevention Tips - Stay Cancer Proof
  32. Cancer Protection List - Household Items to Avoid
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  34. Chelation Therapy
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  37. Constipation
  38. Cortisol and Weight Loss
  39. Calories and Calore Counting
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  45. Diabetes Mellitus
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  47. Diseases Do Not Just Happen
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  50. Eliminate "White Poison" From Your Diet
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  56. Food Toxins
  57. Foot Health
  58. General Question About Natural Hormones
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  63. Healing / Water Clusters
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  65. Healthly Foods Chart for Bone Health
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  67. Healthy Food List
  68. Healthy Living Recipe Options
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  70. Heart Disease and Women - Estrogen does not benefit the heart.
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  73. Highlights from Dr Abraham's interview at the 6th Annual Anti-Aging Conference
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  75. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) linked to Hearing Loss
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  78. Insomnia Information
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  80. Laser Vision Correction
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