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What your doctor should be asking you about your sleep

Updated: Mar 23

Your doctor isn’t asking the right questions.

You’ve talked to your doctor about your sleep issues. She runs blood work and tells you everything is “normal.”

He tells you to stop watching TV before bed.

Or he prescribes you a sleeping pill.

Or she tells you it’s anxiety and it’s all in your head.

Your insomnia is not from watching TV at night. Your insomnia is not from being deficient in sleeping pills.

Your insomnia is not all in your head.

There are systems in your body that aren't functioning properly and it’s affecting your sleep. Your doctor is not getting to the root of the problem.

Here are the questions your doctor should be asking if you can’t sleep:

Do you have signs of hormone imbalance? (This applies to men, too!)

-foggy thinking

-low libido


-mood swings

-PMS and menstrual issues

One of the first things you can do is get your hormones checked. Low estrogen and progesterone (even for men) and high testosterone can disturb your sleep.

High and low cortisol at night can also cause sleep issues.

If hormones are out of balance, you also want to address why they're out of balance instead of taking a supplement forever. Hormones get out of balance when you're stressed and your body has to make cortisol all the time. The only way to get your hormones back in sync is to minimize stress in your mind and your body and give your body a chance to recover.

Do you have digestive issues?

Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation?

If you have any of these symptoms, then your gut isn’t healthy. If your gut isn’t healthy, it can’t make the neurotransmitters and nutrients you need for good sleep. If your gut isn't healthy, your gut lining will start to break down leading to food sensitivities and nutrient deficiencies.

If you aren’t sleeping well, your gut isn’t healthy.

Do you have signs of a gut infection?

-digestive issues

-Sugar cravings

-Food sensitivities

-Yeast infections


Pathogens like parasites, H. pylori and candida are most active at night. They cause a lot of inflammation, especially around 4am, which causes your body to release cortisol which wakes you up.

Do you have blood sugar issues?

-sugar cravings

-difficulty focusing

-shakiness or anxiety if you go too long without eating

-low energy

-irregular or fast heartbeat

When your blood sugar drops too low, your body releases cortisol to raise glucose levels so you have energy. When it happens in the night, you’ll be wide awake with your heart and mind racing.

Keeping your blood sugar steady is critical to sleeping well and being healthy.

Do you have inflammation?

-joint and muscle pain

-Belly fat

-Memory loss


-Get sick often

Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone so your body will release cortisol whenever there’s inflammation. When this happens at night, cortisol wakes you up with your heart pounding and your mind racing. Learn the 3 main causes of inflammation in this blog post.

How healthy is your liver? Do you have:

-Poor digestion

-Hormone imbalances

-Weight gain

-Skin problems


-Chemical sensitivities

Your liver is most active at night. If there are more toxins than your liver can handle, those toxins circulate around causing inflammation. Your body releases cortisol to deal with that inflammation and you’re awake.

I’ve listed some of the most common reasons why people have trouble sleeping. If you have any of the symptoms above, you have clues about why you can’t sleep normally. The only way to know for sure is to do functional lab testing looking at everything going on in your body that’s out of balance so we know what to fix. This is exactly what I do with my clients. I get to the root cause of their insomnia and give them a simple plan to fix it.

My client BW wrote, “I started working with Martha a few months ago, and my sleep and life has been changed for the better.”

You can get the sleep you want, too! Schedule a call with me to find out how I can help you sleep and feel better soon.

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