Sleep is an essential contributing element to health. Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep will negatively affect one’s health long term.
If you suffer from sleep maintenance (staying asleep) or falling asleep issues, it is necessary to first look into obvious reasons that might be contributing to issues with sleep.
- Psychological state at the bed time is of utmost importance. If there is anything that worries you, learn to let these issues go until the morning. Most likely, you will not be able to resolve the issues thinking them over during the time when you need to rest. When you are rested, your ability to solve problems will drastically improve.
- Physiological state that is symptomatic at bed time is almost always the reason for insomnia. This is especially true for hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances that are often caused by a chronic illness.
The following are factors and supplements that can help you improve the quality of sleep.
- Night time hypoglycemia may increase adrenaline levels and prevent you from sustaining your sleep. Hypoglycemia treatment in this case will resolve insomnia.
- Histamine control might be helpful if you are affected by histamine toxicity. Excess histamine in blood creates a state of anxiety and restlessness. If you wake up tense and unrested, this could be the culprit.
- Mineral deficiencies can cause night sweats, palpitations and thyroid issues. A healthy hormone production depends on minerals. Mineral drops may solve this issue and consequently insomnia. For example you may have heart palpitations if you are deficient in copper or consume too much zinc. These two minerals must be in balance.
- Bone broth contains glycine, which is a calming amino acid that is also one of the primary amino acids required for biosynthesis of the most important antioxidant glutathione. Replenishing glutathione levels is critical in maintenance of well being.
- Foods consumed can play a major role on the quality of your sleep. Keep a daily diary of the foods you eat to help avoid those that cause unrestful sleep.
- Sleep schedule is essential if you want to keep your sleep quality consistent.
- Avoid daytime naps longer than 10 minutes or all together as this will disrupt your cortisol cycle.
- Plan on going to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
- Ultimately, your wake up time should correlate with the sunrise, so that you get an immediate exposure to sun upon wake up which is essential for a healthy circadian cycle.
- Activities before bed can disrupt your ability to fall asleep. Avoid any physical activities and exposure to bright light or exciting video or music at least 2 hours before bed. Read a book under a dim light 30 minutes before bed time.
- Eating before bed can keep you awake. Do not eat 2-3 hours before bed time. Limit the fluids 4 hours before going to bed. If you suffer from night time hypoglycemia, eat a small amount of slow carbohydrates to avoid low blood sugar at night.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can dramatically decrease the quality of sleep due to disrupted hormone metabolism. Using a “NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light” or “Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device” every morning upon wake up for 30-45 minutes can significantly increase the quality of sleep and help you with early awakenings.
- Block natural light from coming into your bedroom while you sleep. Exposure to light during the sleep even with closed eyes will decrease melatonin production – a hormone necessary for sleep maintenance.
If you need to get up at night, do not use bright artificial lighting. Instead install small night lights, including the bathroom to avoid using any bright lights.
- Block the noises from interrupting your sleep. If not possible, use soft ear plugs you can find for comfortable sound attenuation.
- Your mattress can be worn-out and uncomfortable, impeding good night’s sleep.
- Overexercising during the day may cause too much stress and keep your hormone levels increased during the night time, resulting in restless sleep.
- Social interaction should be limited at least 2 hours before bed, which includes phone conversations, extensive text messaging and stimulating email messages.
- Acceptance is one of the keys to improve the outcomes of insomnia. When you have an insomnia, accept that you have it, let it be and do not stress about it. It’s not going to kill you, but accepting the fact that you have insomnia, will help it to eventually to fade away. Enjoy your quite night time and think of aspects of life that you like the most.
If you still have some issues with sleep and ruled out other health conditions with your doctor, you can try some of the supplements suggested to improve your sleep patterns.
- Milk is a traditional sleep aid. It helps to fall asleep due to the casein and lactium. Half glass 20-30 minutes before bed may do the trick.
- Calcium & magnesium
- Magnesium (chelated) 200mg with last meal and 200mg 2-4 hours later at bed time.
- Calcium 200-400mg at bed time, 2-4 hours after last meal.
- Melatonin 2-3mg sustained release taken 30 minutes before sleep can improve sustaining the sleep. Since this is a hormone, it should not be used on a daily basis to allow the body to synthesize its own, but occasionally, perhaps once a week can be of a great help.
- Lithium is a mineral that most people are deficient in. Unless you drink a rich in minerals water (a store purchased minerals spring water doesn’t count), you are most likely to be deficient in this mineral. A very small 3 to 5mg (120mg from lithium orotate) dose before bed will early midnight wakefulness. Lithium is also helpful for mood swings.
- Turmeric and rosemary are very calming and healing herbs.
- L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP and/or GABA at 500mg before bed can both produce a calming effect.
- Inositol 100mg and Theanine 100-200mg at bed time.
- High adrenaline/cortisol levels in early morning can disrupt your ability to get restful sleep. If you wake up prematurely, the following may help
- Seriphos 1000mg taken right at bed time and better a couple of hours into the sleep cycle will help to prevent cortisol spikes 4-6 hours after intake. You may need to split the dose if it makes you too lethargic in the morning.
- Lactium is a milk protein hydrolysate containing a bioactive peptide with anti-stress properties as it reduces cortisol levels starting 15 minutes after intake. If you wake up prematurely, take up to 200mg of Lactium to help you fall back asleep.
- Pantethine 450mg 6 hours before bed 2-3 times a week can help to stabilize insulin and cortisol cycle
- Lycopene 15mg daily after your last meal may improve sleep quality if taken at least for a few days. Alternatively Lycopene-rich foods such as tomatoes and watermelon can produce the same effect.
- Theanine serine (GABA, Taurine, L-Theanine, Holy Basil Leaf) is a great complex for sleep issues.
- L-Theanine 200mg/Inositol 100mg before bed.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) 25-50mg before bed can help to relax.
- Olive leaf extract 100-150mg in morning and afternoon may improve the sleep quality indirectly by reducing the viral loads and calming down the immune system activity and therefore normalizing hormone and neurotransmitter balances.
- Other herbs: Chamomile, skullscap, passionflower, catnip, St John’s wort, Valerian.
NUTRITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS TO INSOMNIA
- Overeating or going more than 4 hours between each meal
- Low fat diets can be harmful
- Garlic, eggs, aged cheeses, spicy foods, chocolate, tomatoes, soybeans, ginseng tea, fruit juices.
- Whey proteins, colostrum.
- In cases with high viral loads – Zinc and B6 vitamin, vinegar, curry, mustard, greed yogurt and Betaine HCL might be major contributors to an insomnia.