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Why can't I sleep!

Updated: Jul 8, 2020


Did you know that more than 33% of the population have trouble falling or staying asleep?

What is the impact of poor sleep patterns on my body?

  • Mood and behaviour patterns, such as irritability, depression, lack of motivation.

  • Lowered immunity

  • Inflammation (which can contribute to pain)

  • Diminished cognitive function, causing poor memory recall and alertness

  • Poor physical and psychological cellular repair

Sleep plays such a vital role in our physical and psychological well-being. Just one night of poor sleep can affect memory, judgement, eating patterns and mood and interfere with our normal circadian cycle of sleep.

The sleep cycle pattern


Stage 1 Light sleep - is the transition between being awake and asleep

.Light sleep should make up only be 5% of your total sleep time.

Stage 2 NREM stable sleep – your heart rate slows, body temperature lowers, your eyes don’t move and muscle tone is low.

Stage 2 should make up 50% of your sleep time.

Stage 3 Deep sleep – usually starts 35-45 minutes after falling asleep. (This is when you are woken from a deep sleep and feel confused & disorientated.)

Deep sleep should make up 20% of total sleep time.

This stage is when growth hormone is released, tissue healing and repair occur, and the immune system is strengthened.

Stage 4 – REM sleep – this is when dreaming occurs, there is an increase of rapid eye and middle ear movements as well as muscle twitches. (This stage is when you wake easily)

REM sleep should make up 25% of total sleep time.

During this stage our memory and brain function is revitalised, psychological repair and integration of our emotions and thoughts occur.The hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol has a range of actions: it helps regulate blood sugar, your metabolism, salt & fluid balance, blood pressure as well as reducing inflammation.

Sleep Hygiene

How you live on a daily basis can negatively affect your quality of sleep. All these factors have an impact:

  • Too many stimulants or sedatives - Antidepressants

  • Prescription sleeping medication (stop REM sleep)

  • Alcohol consumption (> 3 drinks) - Nicotine and illicit drugs

  • Shift work - Amount of sun exposure

  • Daily exercise routine - Anxiety and depression

  • Daily wake/ sleep routine

  • Eating foods that negatively affect your digestion

  • MSG and artificial sweeteners (these contain glutamate which stimulate the brain)

What can I do to improve my sleep?

Developing a good sleep cycle starts from the minute you wake:

  • Wake and go to sleep within an hour range each day (ie always go to bed between 9 -10pm)

  • Get your heart rate up for 20 mins (early morning is best)

  • Get some early morning sun exposure

  • Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bed

  • Keep alcohol, caffeine and stimulates to a minimum

  • Ensure your bedroom is not too warm

  • Use orange globes and firelight at night (tells the body it’s sunset)

  • Avoid using screens with blue light at night (TVs,computers, Ipads) this light tells the body it is daylight and it doesn’t start secreting melatonin to prepare the body for sleep. F.lux is an app that changes the screen colour.

  • Take a good quality magnesium supplement

  • Drink a relaxing tea (such as chamomile) before bed.

  • Specific breathing exercises can help with falling asleep, try this one


If you find that your sleep is still not improving you may need some specific naturopathic support for your overall health.Other factors and symptoms that may need to be supported are: stress, female hormonal issues, itchy rashes, digestive health, food intolerances and nutritional imbalances.

Book in here

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