Functional Nutrition Tool: Sleep Assessment
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
Sleep is what I call a “Non-Negotiable.” It must be addressed. Right away.
In fact, one of the principles that helped me solve the “unsolvable” cases and help guide people to resolution even when they’d been everywhere and done everything is this:
If they’re not sleeping, pooping, and their blood sugar isn’t stable, you (as a clinician) can’t move forward with many of your other treatments, recommendations or interventions. That means your infection fighting protocols, your chelation proposal, and even your weight management remedies may not work, no matter how hard you (or they) try.
While I know it’s tempting to search for a single miracle solution to your client’s symptom or diagnosis, I assure you this is a trap.
To truly get to the roots of your clients suffering, (please) don’t forget to address the Non-Negotiable Trifecta—sleep, poop, and blood sugar balance. Otherwise, rather than clearing the muddy waters, you may actually be adding mud to those proverbial waters and making those roots more difficult to find!
Because this Trifecta is so important to practicing Functionally, I’ve created assessments and tracking tools to help you work with each one. Today I’m eager to share our Sleep Assessment with you, but first let’s look at why sleep is so very important.
Importance of sleep
A good night’s sleep supports immune, neurological and hormonal function. It helps balance the microbial diversity in the gastrointestinal tract. Sleep is one of our most critical (and natural) forms of detoxification. And sleep is one of the biggest factors that I’ve found to be clinically relevant in weight loss resistance.
If your client isn’t getting a proper amount of sleep to meet their body’s unique needs, they’re likely to show up with several of these symptoms:
- detoxification challenges
- impaired immune function
- and more
Sleep issues can even induce addictive behaviors because, without proper rest, someone is likely to look for substances to keep them energized.
Sleep as a skill
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as easy as getting your body into bed at the proper time. Sleep disorders are one of the most common yet most frequently overlooked health problems. Questions about sleep are rarely asked by physicians. And yet, failing to recognize sleep issues not only hinders treatment and diagnoses, it also eliminates the chance of preventing subsequent health complications.
There are myriad factors that impact someone’s ability to fall asleep at night, and to stay asleep for the hours required to reap the benefits of this physiological state of rest.
This means that the inability to catch those nightly Zs most likely isn’t a melatonin deficiency!
Sleep Assessment Tool
To help you decode this all-important pillar of health (for yourself and your clients!) I’m giving you the Sleep Assessment that I created for my own clinic. Click the image below to download, and feel free to print it out and use it with your clients.
How it works
We use this with our clients every day, even the ones who’ve been everywhere and tried everything. In fact, it’s sometimes those clients who’ve already seen the top doctors and been to practitioners of all sorts that find the most relief in this Non-Negotiable Trifecta.
Many practitioners are racing ahead to the sexy solution. In doing so, they miss the opportunity to take the necessary time to uncover what the situation is and where resolution may come from. When you do take your time to properly assess, you’ll set yourself apart from the rest. You’ll no longer feel the anxiety of having to find the cure for your clients because you’ll begin to uncover clues other practitioners have missed. Plus, you’ll be able to help far more people than ever before.
Slow down, start with these basics (with an understanding of the physiological implications of each thing you track), and make sure to catch your own Zs to keep you on top of your game!
Related Blog Posts
Smith RP, Easson C, Lyle SM, et al. Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. PLoS One. 2019;14(10):e0222394. Published 2019 Oct 7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222394
Hirotsu C, Tufik S, Andersen ML. Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Sci. 2015;8(3):143-152. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2015.09.002
Bishir M, Bhat A, Essa MM, et al. Sleep Deprivation and Neurological Disorders. Biomed Res Int. 2020;2020:5764017. Published 2020 Nov 23. doi:10.1155/2020/5764017
Eugene AR, Masiak J. The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep. MEDtube Sci. 2015;3(1):35-40.
Garbarino S, Lanteri P, Bragazzi NL, Magnavita N, Scoditti E. Role of sleep deprivation in immune-related disease risk and outcomes. Commun Biol. 2021;4(1):1304. Published 2021 Nov 18. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02825-4
Besedovsky L, Lange T, Haack M. The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease. Physiol Rev. 2019;99(3):1325-1380. doi:10.1152/physrev.00010.2018
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