Chances are either you or someone that you know has trouble sleeping. Is this just a natural process of growing old, or could it be a symptom of an over-committed, over-stressed culture? Could it be your hormones?
Chances are either you or someone that you know has trouble sleeping. In fact, a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation asked over 1000 adult men and women about their sleeping habits. Approximately 50% of women and 45% of men mentioned that they have difficulty sleeping. Is this just a natural process of growing old, or could it be a symptom of an over-committed, over-stressed culture?
"One of the biggest complaints I hear is from females who constantly wake-up the same time each night, interestingly enough between 2 AM and 4 AM", explains Robert Kress, pharmacist and nutritionist of www.longevityleague.com "And I don't find it to be a coincidence, I believe it is more of a cultural phenomena pointing to stress in our culture and not properly managing it; As a result and our hormones become overworked, and often depleted."
The practice of hormones, especially bio-identical hormones has received increased attention over the past decade; with baby boomers wanting to age healthy, as well as famous people in the news such as Suzanne Somers and Oprah promoting, writing books and dedicating full shows on the topic.
"And what we often hear is about estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, although it is very important to focus on cortisol, which often get's left out", Kress continues.
Kress went on to highlight the importance of cortisol, and how critical it is to test and recognize cortisol as it relates to the balance of peoples hormones. Cortisol is a hormone released from the adrenal glands which allows us to respond and adapt to stress in a healthy manner. We are designed to deal with stress accompanied by intermittent periods of rest and renewal. The problem is that people often do not provide themselves time for the renewal and the adrenal glands, cortisol and even other hormones become depleted.
How can we tell where our cortisol levels are? Robert Kress as well as many other integrative practitioners recommend cortisol salivary tests. By simply collecting saliva into a vial, one can find out very accurate readings of their cortisol levels, and most importantly, can easily check their levels 4 times throughout the day in the comfort of their own home.
"Checking throughout the day is very important because our cortisol levels can alter dramatically from morning to evening. If you were to get a simple blood draw, it is usually only one time in a day, thus missing very big pieces to the puzzle. Cortisol levels should be higher in the morning and gradually decrease as the day goes on, thus leading us into a healthy rest. We often see just the opposite, cortisol levels rising toward the evening or even spiking at certain time, which can be a major reason for people's difficulty sleeping, or even waking them up at certain times of the night."
Kress recommends contacting a practitioner who specializes in the practice of natural hormones. And contrary to many people's beliefs, he says many endocrinologists are not fully versed in the optimal balance, unless they have sought out additional training on the matter. Conventional medical and pharmacy school training often does not adequately address assessment and balance of hormones.
To find out more about natural hormones, nutrition, resources to find the best practitioners, saliva testing, and more, Kress recommends an Apple iphone and iPad application, iHormones which can be found in the Apple app store.