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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Chasing ZZZ’s from a Local Practitioner’s Perspective

by Linda Sechrist

Resolving sleep issues, from the perspective of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Deb Post, is a complex issue that often involves observing food intake and eating habits, checking for sleep apnea and testing night-time cortisol levels.

“The gut impacts the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Becoming drowsy can depend on what time and how much you ate. Staying asleep is also about what you ate. If the body is still digesting food or you’re allergic to what you ate, you’ll likely have sleep problems. Also, if your gut is inflamed or irritable and you have chronic constipation and/or diarrhea, you won’t sleep well. Healing the gut is essential. Eliminating gluten and dairy can help,” says the owner of Wellbridges, in Bonita Springs.


Post cautions that snoring is often caused by sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder in which breathing starts and stops. Feeling tired after a full night’s sleep is a symptom. The more common form of obstructive sleep apnea happens when throat muscles relax. “See an ear, nose and throat specialist or dentist that specializes in sleep apnea,” says Post.

Cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, works with aspects of the brain to control mood, motivation and fear. Produced by the adrenal glands, located at the top of the kidneys, this hormone is known for fueling the body’s fight-or-flight instinct. It also reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure, increases blood sugar, boosts energy and controls an individual’s sleep/wake cycle.   

Post notes that a bathroom call in the middle of the night is common. She advises, “When it’s nearly impossible to get back to sleep, taking 100 to 400 milligrams of the amino acid L-theanine can induce relaxation and slow the mind so an individual can fall asleep. L-theanine reduces levels of chemicals related to stress and anxiety.”

Wellbridges,is located at 9200 Bonita Beach Rd. SE, Ste. 213, in Bonita Springs. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 239-231-8354 or visit

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