Sleep and insomnia

Natural treatment for better sleep

 

Are you getting less sleep than Las Vegas?

Life is busy and stressful.

How do you find enough time to manage your career, be there for your family and fit in a social life?

Prioritising time for quality sleep at the expense of these can leave you feeling guilty.

There’s always so much to do.

I hear you.

I’ve traveled the insomnia road myself. Long work hours and racing around on weekends to fit in everything and everyone. I was exhausted.

It would take me over an hour to get to sleep, or I would wake up at 3:00 am and not go back to sleep until 6:00 am, just before the alarm clock went off.

I was irritable, anxious, craving sugar, gained 10 kilos and my brain felt foggy.

Sound familiar?

Make sleep your superpower

 

Imagine going to sleep quickly, sleeping deeply through the night and waking up feeling refreshed.

It is possible.

I know how amazing good sleep feels. I want that for you.

How can Naturopathy improve your sleep?

Treat the underlying cause

The naturopathic approach to getting better sleep is about discovering the underlying reason why you are not sleeping. Identifying and treating this provides lasting results.

“If you’re sitting on a tack, you need to remove the tack not just treat the pain”.

 A 75-minute initial consultation allows plenty of time for us to explore your health in detail. There are 13 key areas I consider.

There’s no “cookie-cutter approach”. Each treatment plan is customised to your needs, lifestyle and budget

Diet & Lifestyle

The foundation of healthy sleep has diet and lifestyle habits which support it!

By getting to know your diet and lifestyle, we can make realistic and achievable changes at a pace you feel comfortable with.

Herbs and nutritional supplements

I use herbs and dietary supplements if indicated. These support your body to relax and manage stress better. I see herbs and nutritional supplements as short-term helpers to guide you back into healthy sleep habits – not a long term solution.

Although I love my herbs, the reason for your insomnia is not due to a lack of Valerian.

Sleep education

Understanding the core concepts of sleep and relaxation make it easier for you to implement lasting lifestyle and diet changes.

You’ll get practical information and tools you can use to understand your sleep better. My goal is for you to get to a point where you’ve got this sleep thing mastered and don’t need me anymore.

(Of course, I’ll always be here if you do!)

What to expect in a consult

  • Detailed analysis of your current sleep patterns
  • Determine your optimal sleep hours
  • Health history
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Lifestyle

You’ll get

  • A personalised sleep plan
  • Advice on creating a daily “wind down” routine
  • Advice on diet and nutrition to support sleep
  • How to create the right sleep environment
  • Tune your circadian rhythm
  • How to avoid things that sabotage your sleep

Case Studies

Waking up at 3:00am

Jenny** was a 41-year-old mother of 2 teenagers who worked full-time. Weekends were full of errands, domestic chores and children’s sport. In the previous six months, she had started waking up around 3:00 am and found it challenging to get back to sleep. She was feeling exhausted and finding it difficult to concentrate. Even though she enjoyed walking, she didn’t have the energy for exercise. She had also noticed some additional weight gain on her stomach and would often feel bloated after eating.

Testing from her GP showed an elevated fasting blood glucose and raised cholesterol. There was no family history of diabetes or heart disease.

 A review of her 7-day diet diary revealed that although she was eating adequate fruits and vegetables, she also had mid-afternoon “pick me up” snacks such as cookies or muesli bars. She had slipped in the habit of drinking 2-3 glasses of wine in the evening to help her wind down.

She was also responding to work emails in the evening and would check her phone if she woke up during the night.

Clinical case taking determined her sleep improved when she was on holidays.

What was going on?

Jenny’s nervous system was stuck in “flight or fight” mode (sympathetic dominance). A salivary hormone test showed her cortisol was chronically elevated. Cortisol should drop in the evening and overnight while the sleep hormone melatonin should rise. High cortisol will raise blood sugar and cholesterol while also depositing fat on the abdomen. High cortisol can also slow thyroid function, which may have contributed to Jenny’s brain fog and digestive issues.

Treatment goals

Rebalancing her nervous system and getting some sound stress management practices in place was the treatment priority. I was also keen to get her back into an exercise routine as exercise supports sleep, blood sugar regulation and cholesterol management. I knew, however, that we had to get her sleep back on track first so she would have the energy and motivation to do the exercise. 

What we did

First consult

Diet:

  • Swapped the afternoon biscuit with a herbal tea containing liquorice, oats and skullcap. Liquorice is sweet (but not blood sugar spiking), and all three herbs support the nervous system without being sedating.
  • Stopped the after-dinner wines. I advised total abstinence for a month, and Jenny was happy to comply. While alcohol can help you get to sleep, it disrupts deep sleep, which is vital for blood sugar control and cortisol regulation. Alcohol also causes restless sleep later in the night, making it easier to be woken.

Lifestyle

  • Set firm boundaries around work and non-work time. No checking emails from phone. Firstly because it means your brain is not having a break from work and secondly in the evening the blue light suppresses the production of your melatonin.
  • Provided a strategy to help her fall back to sleep if she did wake up.

Supplements

  • A customised herbal tonic to support stress management, cortisol reduction and blood sugar regulation.
  • A nutritional supplement taken at night to support melatonin and lower cortisol

Two-week follow-up

Jenny observed she was now regularly sleeping through until 4:00 am and sometimes through to 6:00 am. She had noted the one night she had a couple of drinks she noticed the impact on her sleep. This made her determined to continue to be alcohol-free.

  • Some afternoon sugar cravings remained
  • Energy had improved, and concentration was better

Prescription amendments:

  • In the morning getting off the bus two stops earlier and walking to the office, without sunglasses on, to support circadian rhythm
  • Daily sessions of focused breathing exercise to help relax the nervous system
  • Herbal tonic was adjusted to support the reduction of sugar cravings
  • Nutritional supplement continued

Four-week review

  • Now sleeping through 6/7 nights until 6:00 am
  • Back into a regular exercise routine
  • Bloating gone
  • Still alcohol-free
  • Herbs and nutritional supplement discontinued.

Three-month review

Jenny is maintaining deep, restful sleep with only a couple of days per month waking early. However, she can now usually get back to sleep within 15 minutes.

A retest of blood glucose and cholesterol revealed all results are back in the healthy range.

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Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Naturopathic sleep treatment. You can also check out the general FAQs page or get in contact with me.

How much does an appointment cost?

My current prices can be found on the Book a Consult page. If you’d like more information about how I practice or have more questions you can book in a free 15-minute Discovery call.

How long will it take?

To paraphrase Loe Tolstoy,” everyone has insomnia in their unique way” so it is difficult to give a single answer on that question. It depends firstly what the underlying cause is and secondly on each individuals capacity to implement new habits.

Getting progress is essential to me, and I encourage regular feedback from my clients to ensure we are moving forward. I would usually recommend a minimum three appointments (Initial and two follow-ups) within a 4-6 week period to get the best outcomes.

Do you work with other health care professionals?

Yes – I certainly do. I regularly and happily collaborate with specialists, doctors and other health care professionals. If I feel it would be useful, I may recommend you also include other practitioners in your care.

Where are the testimonials?

Good question. Due to legal restrictions, Naturopaths are not permitted to have testimonials displayed on our websites.

Can I access testing through you?

I have access to a range of both standard and functional medical tests. I will recommend these if I feel they are essential to the success of the treatment plan.

 ** These tests are not covered under Medicare.

Sleep studies (Polysomnography) will need to be ordered via a referral from your General Practitioner.

Are you ready for better sleep?

Make sleep your Superpower!

Want to chat?

I'm Norelle Hentschel.

I'm an experienced Naturopath with a clinic in Crows Nest, Sydney. I've helped many people improve their health. I'm ready to help you feel better and regain your energy and vitality.

Clinic hours

Mon: Closed

Tue: 10am-8pm

Wed: 12pm-8pm

Thur: 12pm-8pm

Fri: 10am -5pm

Free download: How to get to sleep faster

5 simple and effective lifestyle tips to get your sleep back on track.