Functional Nutrition Tool: Sleep Assessment | Functional Nutrition Lab

Functional Nutrition Tool: Sleep Assessment

Sleep is what I call a “Non-Negotiable.” It must be addressed. Right away.

In fact, one of the principles that helped me solve the “unsolvable” cases and help guide people to resolution even when they’d been everywhere and done everything is this:

If they’re not sleeping, pooping, and their blood sugar isn’t stable, you (as a clinician) can’t move forward with many of your other treatments, recommendations or interventions. That means your infection fighting protocols, your chelation proposal, and even your weight loss remedies may not work, no matter how hard you (or they) try.

download the Functional Nutrition Alliance Sleep Assessment

While I know it’s tempting to search for a single miracle solution to your client’s symptom or diagnosis, I assure you this is a trap.

Non-Negotiable Trifecta

To truly get to the roots of your clients suffering, (please) don’t forget to address the Non-Negotiable Trifecta—sleep, poop, and blood sugar balance. Otherwise, rather than clearing the muddy waters, you may actually be adding mud to those proverbial waters and making those roots more difficult to find!

Because this Trifecta is so important to practicing Functionally, I’ve created assessments and tracking tools to help you work with each one. Today I’m eager to share our Sleep Assessment with you, but first let’s look at why sleep is so very important.

A good night’s sleep supports immune, neurological and hormonal function. It helps balance the microbial diversity in the gastrointestinal tract. Sleep is one of our most critical (and natural) forms of detoxification. And sleep is one of the biggest factors that I’ve found to be clinically relevant in weight loss resistance.

Importance of Sleep

If your client isn’t getting a proper amount of sleep to meet her body’s unique needs, she’s likely to show up with several of these symptoms:

  • detoxification challenges
  • constipation
  • impaired immune function
  • hunger
  • moodiness
  • and more

Sleep issues can even induce addictive behaviors because, without proper rest, someone is likely to look for substances to keep them energized.

But getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as easy as getting your body into bed at the proper time. Sleep disorders are one of the most common yet also most frequently overlooked health problems. Questions about sleep are rarely asked by physicians. And yet the neglect to identify sleep problems not only precludes treatment and even diagnosis, but precludes the possibility of preventing other downstream health consequences.

There are myriad factors that impact someone’s ability to fall asleep at night, and to stay asleep for enough hours that they’re reaping the benefits of this physiological state of rest.

This means that the inability to catch those nightly zzzzzs most likely isn’t a melatonin deficiency!

Sleep Assessment Tool

To help you decode this all-important pillar (for yourself and your clients!) I’m giving you the Sleep Assessment that I created for my own clinic. Just click the image below to download one for yourself (and feel free to print it out and use it with your clients.)

FxNA Sleep Assessment

We use this with our clients every day, even the ones who’ve been everywhere and tried everything. In fact, it’s sometimes those clients who’ve already seen the top doctors and been to practitioners of all sorts that find the most relief in this Non-Negotiable Trifecta.

Many practitioners are racing ahead to the sexy solution. In doing so, they miss the opportunity to take the necessary time here to uncover what the situation is and where resolution may come from. When you do take your time here to properly assess, you’ll set yourself apart from the rest. You’ll no longer feel the anxiety of having to find the cure for your clients because you’ll begin to uncover clues other practitioners have missed. Plus you’ll be able to help far more people than ever before.

Slow down, start with these basics (with an understanding of the physiological implications of each thing you track), and make sure you get your own zzzzzzs to keep you on top of your game!

Related Blog Posts

The truth about epigenetics (and root causes!)
Setting-up Success for Sleep Support
case study: insomnia through a Functional lens, part 1
case study: insomnia through a Functional Lens, part 2

Functional nutritionist and educator Andrea Nakayama (FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC) is leading patients and practitioners around the world in a revolution to reclaim ownership over our own health. Her passion for food as personalized medicine was born from the loss of her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002. She’s now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors, and trains a thousand practitioners online each year in her methodologies at Functional Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.

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aprilAndrea NakayamaJulieTinaKaren McFarland Recent comment authors
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The questionnaire is good and sleep is imperative, but how about a handout covering some tools on “non negotiable” to assure a good nights sleep. For example, no computer or tv time x hours before you want to be asleep. Create a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation. Here are some tools: a warm bath, meditation tapes, soothing music, chamomile tea……. what else?

Karen McFarland

Always love your gentle reminders to back it up Andrea…too many times I’ve seen clients who have been advised to use “bio-identical” hormones, herbal remedies or homeopathic remedies or some other alternative solution without first exploring the low hanging fruit of diet and lifestyle practices. While the solutions being employed may be less toxic, to a certain extent, they still serve to shift the focus from root causes especially if they relieve symptoms albeit temporarily.


Thank you Andrea!

I’m confused about the dream recall question. If a client has no dream recall daily, then they are rated as a 3, yes? And if you always remember your dreams a 0? For the other questions, the lower the number the better. The double negative confuses me. So are you implying its better to regularly remember your dreams? From what I’ve read, if you can’t remember your dreams you are probably not waking up as much. Could you clarify?



The questionnaire is great! But how do I interpret results. Obviously there will be different recommendations for different answers but how do we go about helping with a sleep issue?


I love your topic! I always ask my clients before I start training them how’s their sleep. Giving importance to sleep determines the success of the fitness program that my clients get from me.