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If you aren’t doing these two things, you aren’t as healthy as you think!

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Our society is beginning to redefine what it means to be healthy. Previously, health was defined by the lack of symptoms, or illness. But we are starting to view health as more the presence of wellbeing. This is a very important distinction to make! One that myself, as an ND, strongly believes in. With this change in perception, I am seeing patients come in to see me now, who are here for preventative reasons only. They want to be pro-health, and do things to prevent them from getting sick. Fair enough. However, upon further questioning in their initial intake, it turns out they aren’t as healthy as they presume to be. And this is largely for two reasons. #1 – they aren’t sleeping well. And #2 – they aren’t pooping, with ease, on the daily.

This takes us back to biology 101. If you aren’t getting ample amounts of restful sleep in the evening, then your body isn’t getting enough recovery time; enough downtime to rebuild energy stores, and recycle our rhythmic hormonal systems. Some patients assume they have addressed their sleep issues by taking a sleeping pill every night. But did you know that a sleeping pill such as zopiclone (or imovane) actually inhibits you from entering the stage of sleep which is thought to be most restful? Most of my patients who struggle with sleep, aren’t even aware that work needs to be done in this area. We live these high-demand, stressful lives, and just accept poor sleep as our new normal. But we don’t have to do this. Better yet, we shouldn’t do this!

Sleep can become an issue for a number of reasons. Some are more complex than others, and some take ALOT longer to fix than others, BUT, it can be done. There is some testing that can be done to help rule out organic causes of poor sleep, such as salivary cortisol testing, and even female hormones such as progesterone levels can play a role. Anxiety, chronic worry/stress, melatonin deficiency, chronic pain are all common causes of poor sleep.

As for pooping, well…who doesn’t feel better after a predictable, easy to pass, complete void? Can I get an AMEN???!?! Again, we’re talking basics here. Our bowels are our most efficient way of getting rid of stuff our body doesn’t need or want. We ingest food on the premise that we also eliminate waste. If you eat 3 meals a day, you need to be pooping at least 2-3 times a day. If you are pooping more than that, there’s a good chance you are “over-eliminating” and not retaining important nutrients and hydration levels. If you tend more towards constipation, then you run the risk of re-exposing your body to waste that is meant for nowhere else but the toilet! Not to mention the uncomfortable stuff that comes along with constipation like anal fissures, and hemorrhoids. But again, we accept these undesirable pooping habits as normal because it’s just easier to do so. But at the expense of what? Our overall health and wellbeing???

It’s a funny thing, a paradox if you will, that no matter the chief concern, be it headaches, anxiety, eczema, etc, I cannot bring a patient back to health if they aren’t sleeping well and pooping great. So do what you will with this info, but I am hoping you do some self-reflection, and get yourself some good ol’ Naturopathic intervention to fix these two fixable things. You’ve got nothing to lose but bad dreams and feces.

A small glimpse into my world right now reveals a very busy household, filled with slobbery kisses, dirty fingernails, and a fine balance between unnecessary application of sunscreen and sunburn. And we are all sleeping and pooping.

Yours in the bedroom and the bathroom,

Dr. D

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