HomeHealth articlessleepWhat Is the Importance of Sleep in Naturopathy?

Importance of Sleep in Naturopathy

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Sleep is a physiological process that gives the mind and body a chance to unwind. It enhances a person's cognitive capacity to perform daily tasks.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vishvendra Singh

Published At December 8, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024

Why Is Sleep Important?

Even though most of us take sleep for granted, many people do not get it. Many people find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep and wake up exhausted. Systemic physiology and brain function both heavily depend on sleep. This covers the processes of metabolism, controlling hunger, and operating the immunological, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems.

Adults who receive less than seven hours of sleep each night report daytime irritation, exhaustion, poor attention, and memory problems. Lack of sleep negatively impacts our relationships, well-being, and professional life. It also raises the possibility of ongoing medical issues. Also, when insomnia becomes persistent, more severe metabolic and cardiovascular health problems can emerge.

How Does Sleep Affect Health?

To maintain good health and well-being throughout life, sleep is essential. What occurs when one is asleep influences how the person feels when they wake up. Human body is working to support optimal brain function and keep us physically healthy while we sleep. Getting insufficient sleep can increase the chances of developing chronic health issues. Additionally, it may impact our daily activities.

  • Effect on Heart and Circulatory System: The parasympathetic nervous system governs our body while sleeping, and the heart does not beat as quickly as when awake. The sympathetic system is triggered during REM sleep, raising the heart rate and blood pressure. People who do not get enough sleep or wake up frequently during the night may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, obesity and stroke.

  • Effect on Metabolism and Sleep: Different circadian clocks, including those in the muscles, fats, and liver, influence how our body processes fat. If a person eats food at a strange time, the body might process fat differently. The metabolism is influenced by sleep as well; a person who is otherwise healthy can develop prediabetes after just one night of interrupted sleep.
  • Effect on Hormones and Sleep: Our body produces different hormones at various times of the day. Our circadian rhythm or sleep pattern may be involved in this. The body releases hormones, such as cortisol, to increase alertness in the morning, which aids in waking us up.

  • Effect on Respiratory and Immune Systems: We breathe less frequently and deeply during sleep, which results in less oxygen intake. People who suffer from health issues like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may experience issues due to these changes. Different immune system components, which are active at different times of day, are also impacted by sleep.

What Are the Effects of Poor Sleep on Health?

Short-term effects of poor sleep are:

  • Daytime fatigue and drowsiness.

  • Increased stress reactivity.

  • Increased sensitivity to pain.

  • Impaired judgment.

  • Mood disorders and emotional distress.

  • Deficits in cognition, memory, and performance.

The long-term effects of poor sleep are:

  • Hypertension.

  • High blood lipids or dyslipidemia.

  • A cardiovascular condition.

  • Diabetes mellitus type 2.

  • Intestinal cancer.

  • Weight gain.

What Are the Ways to Enhance Sleep?

A few ways to enhance sleep are:

  • Reduce or get rid of stimulants like sugar and caffeine.

  • Establish a dark sleeping environment; go to bed simultaneously every night.

  • Purchase comfortable bedding and a mattress.

  • Limit the alcohol intake.

  • Read a book in bed or engage in some relaxing techniques.

  • Reduce time spent on TV, phones, or computers an hour before bed.

  • Find a meditation app that relaxes, and use it at night to create black backgrounds with white writing using an app that inverts the illumination on the screen.

  • Exercise frequently.

  • It may take some time to adjust to sleeping habits, especially if one has had trouble falling asleep for a while.

What Are the Strategies That Can Help to Improve Sleep?

Lack of sleep can damage cognitive and motor function, increase the risk of obesity, affect hormone production and metabolism, and increase the risk of chronic diseases. It affects one's capacity to work, learn, and enjoy life and contributes to workplace, car, and other accidents. In other words, obtaining little sleep is a major health problem that requires quick attention. Below are some natural methods to improve sleep.

  • Environment: Sleep disturbances are frequently caused by noise, light, temperature, and other environmental irritants. NDs search for and address environmental exposures that might result in inflammation, irritability, or adverse effects on circadian rhythms. Pollen, noise, and blue light from phones and displays are common irritants. To enhance melatonin generation, which promotes restful sleep, receiving enough full-spectrum light exposure outside is also critical.

  • Nutrition: Our eating habits, like when, what, and how much, can affect how well we sleep. Studies show that even a little sleep loss affects the gut microbiome. Changing the gut microbiome should help to sleep better. Diet is the simplest method to accomplish this. Your naturopathic doctor will assist you in choosing the best diet for you and help you locate sources of stimulants throughout the day.

  • Hormone Imbalances: A few hormones, such as cortisol, serotonin, estrogen, melatonin, testosterone, and progesterone, can be out of balance and cause sleep issues. Also, people with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone to keep the body functioning normally, experience sleeplessness.

  • Emotional and Psychological Causes: The emotional causes of sleep disruption include emotional shifts, clinical depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. These disorders can also exacerbate or further disrupt sleep.

  • Medication and Supplement Side Effects: Sleep deprivation can be a side effect of some prescription drugs, including those used to treat high blood pressure, asthma, depression, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, and nasal allergies. Even medications frequently recommended for sleep issues, like Ativan, can impact sleep quality. B vitamins and herbs like rhodiola can stimulate the nervous system.


First, adequate sleep is essential for "brain plasticity" or the brain's capacity to change in response to stimulus. Too little sleep makes it difficult for us to digest what we have learned throughout the day and makes it more difficult for us to recall it afterward. Additionally, it is thought that sleep may facilitate the elimination of waste materials from brain cells, which happens less effectively while the brain is awake. Individualized naturopathic treatment places a priority on modifying one's lifestyle. It might improve nutrition, environment, and sleeping habits, eliminate stimulants, get more exercise, and establish routines. The doctor could recommend probiotics and fermented foods.

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Dr. Vishvendra Singh
Dr. Vishvendra Singh



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