Insomnia Case Study by Sue Kira

From waking all night to sleeping like a log

by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist

Client name and identifying information changed

When Judy saw me for a consultation, she said, “I sleep like a baby, waking every 2-3 hrs. But I want to sleep like my teenage son who sleeps like a log and even sleeps through a thunderstorm”.

Now I haven’t seen any research on the sleeping patterns of lumps of wood, but I do know if a mum’s sleeping like a baby, she’s probably waking several times a night.

Judy was going through a rough patch with her husband and was finding it difficult to know what to do with her life, which was having a huge impact on her ability to sleep well.

Judy woke every few hours, tossing and turning, and couldn’t get back to sleep for more than an hour, only to fall asleep again for a while and then wake again. By morning she was exhausted, grumpy and unable to cope with the stress of her upcoming day. Being overtired also meant she didn’t have the energy to talk to her husband about what was bothering her. It was a vicious cycle heading to divorce if things didn’t change quickly.

As a stay at home mum for the first couple of years of her son’s life, Judy did all the chores at home, which she enjoyed. But when she went back to work, the routine stayed the same in that she worked, plus continued to do all the chores.

Basically, Judy needed to express herself better, but didn’t have the energy or the space to think clearly enough to do so. Then with the work stress on top of the house stress, Judy was overwhelmed.

I asked Judy if she could get time off work for a few days (away from the family) for some ‘me’ time.

Consequently, she booked into a cheap hotel near a beach she loved and organised massages, facials and other beauty spoils, including long walks on the beach and swims in the ocean. Knowing she didn’t have to go to work, the stress of poor sleep patterns was one less thing to worry about. The time away was also phone call free so there was no needy child, husband, or work to interrupt her rest time.

I gave her a list of foods to eat and what to avoid, which included no coffee, alcohol, gluten, dairy and sugar to give her body a rest. This was a healthy, nurturing holiday that gave her time to think and contemplate about her life and what she wanted to do.

The combination of these things made a huge difference. After a few days, Judy was sleeping well again and armed with what to discuss with her husband and son about what needed to change at home.

Before she left for her break she was yelling at her son to clean his room, do the dishes and his homework. Her husband was taking her for granted and loved the fact that she mowed the lawns, cooked all the meals and cleaned the whole house.

He didn’t even know there was an issue, but I think he must have worked it out, because when Judy was away, he swung into action and when Judy got home she was surprised to see the whole house was spotless. Both the son and hubby realised that things needed to change, and were very receptive when Judy said they all needed to share the load.

Judy also found that her new food choices helped because she no longer had twitching muscles and restless legs due to the high magnesium foods I recommended. She is calmer and hormonally balanced with the B6 rich foods (and her previous PMS symptoms faded). Judy said her digestive system felt much better, with less bloating and flatulence once she was off gluten and dairy, and (almost) sugar, with only the occasional piece of dairy-free chocolate.

Judy now has more free time to relax and enjoy herself with the ‘space’ to ponder on the important stuff. With less issues spinning around her head at night, she now sleeps…like a log!

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