Insomnia & Sleep Issues

Insomnia isn’t a life threatening condition, but if you have suffered with sleep issues for a while, you would do anything to bring back that good night of sleep. Insomnia is determined if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. While a bad night of sleep happens once in awhile, when it becomes chronic, it becomes a real concern.

Often times medical doctors and naturopathic doctors forget to ask some of the most important questions; Are you getting a good night’s sleep? Do you feel refreshed in the morning? Just because you do alright falling asleep and staying asleep, doesn’t mean you are getting the quality sleep your body needs to function.

Sleep is important for body recovery, and when insomnia becomes chronic it can predispose you to many chronic illnesses. Some of the more common conditions associated with sleep deprivation are: heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue. Sleep issues can also be a trigger for substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents as well as memory and focus issues.

Dr. Tali, Toronto Naturopath, believes that 8 hours of sleep isn’t enough to say that you have a good night of sleep. Your deep sleep and how you feel in the morning are just as important!

Let’s talk about your circadian rhythm – your body is a biological clock. While pharmaceutical sleeping pills may be putting you to sleep, they are not only addicting but they also don’t fix the issue that has to do with your biological clock.

There is so much we can talk about when it comes to the importance of sleep, but here is a study done on weight loss: 2 groups, same average weight, same diet, same age and same exercise program. One difference: hours of sleep. Those who slept a bit more were able to lose 50% more weight and and were able to maintain it, in comparison to the group that didn’t get enough sleep.

women has insomnia and cant fall asleep


Signs and symptoms you may not be getting enough of your beauty sleep:

  • Feeling unrefreshed in the morning
  • Waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep
  • Difficulty falling asleep even though you are tired
  • Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
  • Anxiety around bed time
  • Waking up at night and feeling wide awake
  • Waking up at night and difficulty falling back asleep
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Irritability
  • Day time sleepiness

Different types of symptoms mean different types of sleep issues, however, the most common types of insomnia are:

  • Transient Insomnia – lasting less than 4 weeks
  • Short term insomnia – lasting 4 weeks to 6 months
  • Chronic insomnia – lasting longer than 6 months


You always want a competent health care practitioner, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, to assess whether you have primary insomnia (not due to any medical conditions or mental health) or secondary insomnia. Most of the time, insomnia is due to other reasons and it’s important to address the root cause.

  • Substance abuse – doesn’t have to be recreational drugs. It can be anything from coffee to smoking and alcohol. Smoking cessation can also influence your sleeping patterns.
  • Anxiety, depression and other psychosomatic.
  • Menopause – almost half of women experience sleep changes due to hot flashes, night sweats, hormonal changes and melatonin reduction.
  • Hormonal imbalances – Did you know you sleep better when progesterone is high (mid cycle) and may experience insomnia on your bleeding days?
  • Pregnancy – many factors can contribute such as hormones and frequent urination.
  • Asthma – often the medication used for asthma cause insomnia.
  • Medications – asthma, blood pressure medications, steroids, etc.
  • Digestive conditions such as GERD and other medical conditions such as sleep apnea, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain etc.
  • Diet- sugars before bed interfere with your sleeping cycle and hormonal production.

Most importantly, direct lifestyle factors that influence sleep circadian:

  • Excessive computer and screen time
  • Night shift and consistently changing working hours
  • Travel and time zone differences
  • A note on marijuana – while many people find it useful, marijuana will put you to sleep but the THC prevents you from reaching a deep sleep. This is why most people experience a long enough sleep but feel tired and unrefreshed in the morning with chronic usage.

Insomnia Naturopathic Treatment

Naturopathic treatment for Insomnia is very effective according to the current literature. The goal of treatment is to figure out the root cause of your insomnia while preventing recurrent episodes. For Dr. Tali, a Toronto Naturopath, it is really important not to stop there. She strives to ensure you are not only getting your hours of sleep but also having a quality sleep.

You need a curious licensed health care professional, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, to be able to get to the bottom of your sleep concerns. Dr. Tali will go through an in-depth intake and you will dive deep to figure out the root cause to your insomnia / poor sleep quality. You are unique and no two bodies are the same, hence why it will be addressed with an individualized treatment tailored to your body and needs. This will be done using evidence based herbal medicine, acupuncture, supplements, diet and lifestyle. She will also teach you unique ways and tools you can use whenever you are having a difficult night to fall asleep.

If you struggle with adrenal fatigue, anxiety or depression, testing may be necessary to determine if your stress hormone / cortisol levels are the reason to your sleep issues. Adrenal Fatigue Testing will show your cortisol levels throughout the day and will be combined with a Salivary Melatonin Testing. Read more about it here.