Dr. Will Cole Teaches Us How To Live Holistically
Dr. Will Cole is a practitioner of functional medicine and believer that chronic illness should be treated holistically. Though his courses of treatment are highly individualized, he shares with us some simple ways that we can achieve better health and optimal sleep.
You are a practitioner of functional medicine and take a holistic approach in treatment of chronic illness. For those who may not know, can you explain what functional medicine is?
Functional medicine is all about looking at the body as a set of interconnected systems and getting to the root cause of illness. At my functional medicine clinic we use lab work to figure out what is going on within the body and use natural remedies – like nutrition, natural supplementation, and lifestyle changes – to heal and give the body a chance to work optimally.
Though your treatment plans are highly personalized, what are some key practices that we can take to improve our general well being?
Practicing mindfulness to manage stress, ensuring you get quality sleep, and eating a whole foods diet are things that can benefit us all! Another thing we can all do is prioritize our gut health. What is best for one person may not be optimal for the next in this case but a few great places to start are taking a probiotic, implementing bone broth into your diet, and using natural care products.
What role do you feel sleep plays in our physical and mental health?
Since our bodies need rest to work optimally, sleep can be crucial to overall health. I don’t like to think of 8 hours of sleep as a luxury but a necessity. Just as intermittent fasting can give our digestive system a much-needed break, sleep allows our bodies to reset from the daily stress and prepare for the next day.
For those who experience sleep woes, what do you find is most often the underlying cause? How would you recommend we overcome these woes and improve our sleep?
This biggest issue with sleep I see is an imbalance between cortisol and melatonin. These are both hormones within the body that should rise and fall depending on the time of day – high cortisol in the morning to naturally help us wake up and high melatonin in the evening to help us tone down before bed. We refer to an imbalance between the two as adrenal fatigue. A few general recommendations is to run labs to find more information, moderate chronic stress, ensure you’re eating quality nutrients, and work to decrease inflammation within the body.
Living a holistic lifestyle extends behind diet and exercise; mindfulness is a key component. How can we practice mindfulness in our day to day lives?
Mindfulness is a great tool that can be used in a plethora of ways! Some common types are meditation or yoga, but mindfulness also extends far beyond and can include things like journaling, taking a walk in nature, or a few minutes of deep breathing.
The health & wellness industry is constantly evolving. What industry trends do you embrace? Which do you reject?
I think it’s important to take everything as an individual. What works for me might not work for you, so do your own research. With every health trend, there are truths and positives to each one, but making sure that you’re doing it correctly and that it’s right for you is always important.
What is your bedtime routine?
I like to start my bedtime routine a few hours before I plan on falling asleep by wearing amber colored glasses to block out any blue light that may affect my hormones. An hour before sleep I try to step away from all devices, put lavender essential oil in a diffuser, and grab a mug of sleepy time tea. Doing these while I spend quality time with my wife and kids help me end the day on a perfect note to get a full night of relaxed and restful sleep.
What do you consider the single most important thing for a good night’s sleep?
I believe that this is dependent on each individual person. For example, for someone with two slow CYP1A2 metabolizers, it’s important to cut off caffeine after lunch. For others who struggle to calm their mind it may be most important to practice mindfulness before bed.