Since 1994, when Dr. Andrew Weil established the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, integrative medicine has been a recognized medical specialty.
The specialty advocates for the treatment and care of the patient as a whole person while integrating the evidence-based therapies of conventional medicine with select practices from treatment areas considered to be complementary and alternative to conventional medicine.
At Concierge IV Nutrition in Beverly Hills, California, naturopathic physicians and integrative medicine specialists Dr. Brian Myers and Dr. Dien Nguyen bring extensive experience and expertise to integrative medicine. One of the ways they apply this holistic practice is in helping you to sleep better.
What are some common sleep conditions?
There are many different sleep conditions, and two of the most common and best-known are insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Both of them can be treated using integrative medicine.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder. Acute insomnia lasts from a single night to a few weeks. Chronic insomnia occurs at least three nights a week for a period of three months or more. Both come in three types:
- Sleep-onset insomnia: You have difficulty getting to sleep
- Sleep-maintenance insomnia: You have problems sleeping through the night, or you wake too early
- Mixed insomnia: A combination of the above two
Primary insomnia refers to sleep problems not linked to any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia refers to sleep problems caused by pain, prescription or over-the-counter medication, substance use/abuse, or an underlying health condition — such as asthma, arthritis, depression, or heartburn.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissues relax in the back of your throat while you sleep, temporarily blocking your airway and causing you to stop breathing for short periods. As your brain realizes it’s not getting enough oxygen, it briefly wakes you up, making you snort or gasp. This can happen dozens of times a night. Loud snoring is one of the classic signs of OSA.
The results of difficulty breathing manifest in daytime sleepiness, general fatigue, and irritability, as well as medical issues such as a decreased immune response, difficulty focusing, and an increased risk of heart failure.
How can integrative medicine help sleeping problems?
While specific treatments depend on the exact cause of the sleep problem, some general steps can help you sleep better. In the case of insomnia, if an underlying medical condition like diabetes or menopause is the cause, treating the condition may improve the quality of your sleep. If it’s due to medication, altering the time you take it, changing the medication, or reducing the dosage may help.
Some alternative therapies that can improve sleep include lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, biofeedback, meditation, massage, and acupuncture.
In the case of sleep apnea, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is often the conventional treatment of choice. Alternative options include:
- Altering your sleep position
- Losing weight
- Using a humidifier
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Using an oral appliance
When you come in for a consultation at Concierge IV Nutrition, we conduct a comprehensive evaluation that may include a physical exam, micronutrient testing, thyroid testing, and other lab work so we can determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. And we have a somewhat different approach to alternative therapies.
Your personalized treatment plan doesn’t just treat your sleep problems. It also aims to enhance your immune system, cleanse your body, and minimize the side effects of aging. Some of the complimentary therapies we recommend include:
- IV vitamin therapy
- Vitamin injections
- Custom-blended nutritional supplements
- Bioidentical hormone therapy
With your body replenished with the nutrients it needs, you can more effectively deal with a variety of health problems, including sleep disorders.
If you’re not getting the restful sleep you need, it’s time to come in to see one of our naturopathic providers. Give Concierge IV Nutrition a call at 424-260-8912 to set up a consultation, or request an appointment online with us today.