Donald K. Liebell, DC, BCAO
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F
(By Appointment Tu, Sat)
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions
Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief
Reset Your Sleep Cycles to
Upgrade Your Health
Learn Why a Perfect Night's Sleep Takes Much
More Than a Prescription
By Dr. Donald Liebell
Americans are a very sleep-deprived nation. A high percentage of adults and children do not get enough sleep and/or have poor quality of sleep on a regular basis. If one traces back one hundred years or more, we used to sleep a whole lot more. The health consequences of sleep problems are steep and varied.
Sleep problems interfere with the function of your immune system, hormone balance and production, as well as heart function and overall metabolism. This can in turn cause depression, weight gain, brain dysfunction, increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, and many other health problems.
Keep in mind that your body repairs during sleep, so it’s critical to take it seriously, unless you prefer to be less able to fight off all kinds of illnesses. In this article, I will explain the significance of sleep problems, and the treatment approaches I use to help. My protocol includes applications of a specialized acupuncture system, homeopathic supplementation, and important advice for each individual’s particular situation.
These days, many people are actually taking pride in being sleep deprived. This is a disturbing trend—bragging about working (and playing) too hard and too long. This is actually a conscious decision to decrease ones health. It sickens me that many doctors take sleep problems lightly. Prescribing medications as a primary approach has no scientific basis and in my opinion, a frightening practice. Yes, there are circumstances where I think it is appropriate. However these are rare in light of the average American’s usage of sleep drugs.
If you are one of the millions of Americans, who depend on daily caffeine in the form of coffee, colas, teas, and other stimulants… you must take this information very seriously. And if you think taking “natural” supplements such as melatonin is okay… guess again.
Living things have 24-hour internal “clocks” known as circadian rhythms. Your internal clock enables you to adapt to your environment. The bottom line is that we are supposed to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light. This is of course, no brilliant observation, yet it is largely not followed. So, our circadian rhythms are often messed up, resulting in physiological confusion in your body. It is notable that sleep disorders and deprivation can result in hormonal imbalances linked to obesity.
It is true that there is considerable disagreement among researchers on the question of how much sleep we need. It seems logical that it depends on the individual. Nevertheless, most agree that people don’t get enough, and the quality of sleep is often impaired. You can have an 8-hour night’s sleep and still feel tired. One night doesn’t restore sleep cycles, nor does it account for your “sleep debt.” Recovering from sleep deprivation requires consistent good sleep over time.
Is the Pharmaceutical Approach to Sleep a Healthy Way?
Prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids are Western medicine’s answer. It is essentially a “brute force” attack meant to induce drowsiness. Yes, drugs DO make you sleep, but they have many side effects, including strange sleep behaviors, morning-after drowsiness, as well as and dependency. Plus, the quality AND quantity of sleep matters! Drugs do NOT restore normal healthy sleep. What’s even scarier are some of the serious side effects from some of the most popular PRESCRIPTION sleep drugs, including: amnesia, hallucinations and delusions, coordination difficulty, increased appetite, decreased sex drive, and impaired judgment. There have been reports of people not remembering activities such as driving a car, eating, talking on the phone, having sex, and sleep walking.
Correcting the CAUSES of Sleep Troubles Takes Much More Than Merely Prescribing a Drug… It Takes Serious “DETECTIVE WORK”
Sleep problems are often an effect of other underlying medical conditions, and there are many possible reasons for poor sleep. One major problem is low production of the essential hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is produced by a pea-sized organ—the pineal gland, which is located in the brain. The pineal gland responds to different levels of light, and thus is instrumental in your “biological clock.” Your melatonin production takes place only when it is dark. When light strikes the retina of your eye; nerve impulses to the pineal gland shut down melatonin production.
It appears that pineal gland and melatonin are not only involved in sleep, but other aspects of our health, including fertility and aging. People diagnosed with “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) should know about the pineal gland. Researchers hypothesize that the pineal gland has greater importance than ever considered.
“What About Melatonin Supplements… I thought they were a natural sleep aid?”
Taking melatonin hormone suppresses your body’s need to produce and regulate it by itself. This is NOT a healthy long-term solution, and thus I do not advocate it. I could easily sell melatonin in my practice, as patients read countless articles about this "natural" approach to sleep. I will not. To achieve perfect sleep, your body must REGULATE its own levels of melatonin. This results in truly restorative sleep that regenerates both mind and body. I favor homeopathic supplements, which are an energetic approach to trigger hormonal regulation. Specialized acupuncture techniques geared towards stimulating pineal and other glandular function, are a great complement, combined with behavioral modifications. Bedtime rituals must be addressed with each individual patient. It is critical to treat the PERSON… not the “sleep disorder.”
Causes of Sleep Difficulties
Many people simply don’t have enough energy to support and sustain their own sleep cycles. Add to this, anxiety, stress, and worries, which can be part of having a hyperactive mind and body. This is complicated further by regular use of substances like caffeine and alcohol. Rarely considered by doctors, but tremendously important are undetected chronic toxicity and infection. Chronic Lyme disease is a perfect but tragic example of an underlying cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders that is typically ignored as a cause. Prescription sleep medications fly off the shelves, while the cause of the problem isn’t even remotely considered (let alone treated).
Addressing the causes of sleep problems is an essential part of the natural, whole-body systems treatment approach. My goal is to address regulation of hormones and energy factors using comprehensive homeopathic and acupuncture systems. We must address underlying causes of stress and illness, and take our time to find realistic solutions (and realistic time frameworks to achieve them).
It is critical to address correction of sleep cycles, but not to attempt to cause drowsiness. Causing drowsiness is the single-minded pharmacological approach. I do NOT however, suggest that any patient discontinue usage of prescription sleep aids without discussing it with the prescribing physician. My approach is actually fully compatible with all traditional Western medications. The goal is to safely and gradually reduce the need for sleep medication over time as cycles are normalized.
The homeopathic supplements I provide are NOT doses of medicine, but rather energetic essences of various substances, designed to trigger sleep cycle regulation, and address underlying causes of many health problems.
If you suffer chronic pain, sleep difficulties may play a large role in preventing recovery. I am proud to safely and sensibly address this aspect of my patients’ health in a unique manner.
-Dr. Donald Liebell
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The Liebell Clinic: 477 Viking Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 631-9799 www.LiebellClinic.com