Good Night Tips for Natural Sleep
from Highway to Health, Two-Lane Livin' Magazine, September 2016
By David Hawkins MH, CNC: motherearthworks.com
(Originally published in Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine, September 2016)
It is estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder, ranging from insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, to narcolepsy. Every year approximately 4 to 6 million Americans take a prescription medication to help them sleep.
The sleep cycle consists of two states, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement). REM sleep is known as dream sleep, and NREM sleep consists of four stages. Stage 1 is going from wakefulness to Stage 2, light sleep, to Stage 3 and 4 which is "delta" or deep sleep. REM sleep normally follows each period of NREM sleep. NREM sleep accounts for the major part of sleep.
The neurotransmitter serotonin and norephinephrine are responsible for helping us sleep at night. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophane, an essential amino acid. It is found in turkey, fish, beans, and milk as well as other plant sources. A form called 5 HTP is available now. Serotonin plays a major role in NREM sleep. If serotonin is exhausted, the result is insomnia and a reduction in NREM sleep.
Norephinephrine is associated with REM sleep, but a reduction has no influence on NREM sleep. Diet is the primary cause of many sleep disorders. The over-consumption of caffeine has been associated with insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Many OTC cold and cough preparations contain pseudoephedrine, a stimulant. Food allergies have also been linked to insomnia. The main two allergens are dairy and wheat, with corn and chocolate next.
Environmentally, items that interfere with the body's electromagnetic field and create fields of their own can disrupt sleep. These include electric blankets, heated waterbeds, electric clocks, and 60 cycle frequencies (household electric current) as well as power lines and generators. The psychological effects of stress, depression, grief, fear, and excitement can also be factors in sleep disturbances and need to be assessed when looking at treatment protocols.
When it comes to treating sleep disorders, one must rule out dietary deficiency and food intolerance first. The use of nutritional supplements and herbal remedies has shown good results, as well as homeopathics and behavioral treatments.
* Calcium - Helps with nerve conduction, muscle contraction, blood clotting and release of neurotransmitters
* Magnesium - Aids nerve function and relaxes muscles, necessary for calcium transport and utilization
* B complex vitamins (including biotin, niacin, inositol, B6, and B12) - Help nerve function and aid synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids (essential fats)
* Chromium - Helps to regulate blood sugar - low blood sugar causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, a stimulant.
* Phospholipids - Aid in neurotransmitter production and help nerve endings.
* Melatonin - A natural hormone that serves as a precursor to serotonin.
* 5 HTP (hydroxyl-tryptophane) - A form of tryptophane that aids serotonin production in the brain Many traditional herbs have also shown benefits when it comes to lack of sleep.
* Valerian Root - Antispasmodic, anodyne, carminative, nervine used to relieve stress, muscle spasms, depression, stomach cramps fatigue, and nervous conditions.
* Passion Flower - Nervine, sedative, anti-spasmodic, hypotensive. It has been used for Insomnia, shingles, anxiety, Parkinson's, and high blood pressure.
* Kava Kava - An anxiolytic, sedative, muscle relaxant, and analgesic, has many methods of action on the nervous system. Non-addictive and non-toxic.
* Skullcap - Sedative, nervine, anti-spasmodic. Aids relaxation, calms, helps in alcohol and drug withdrawal. A tonic for the nervous system.
* St. John's Wort - Sedative, anti-depressant, nervine, anti-inflammatory. Has been used in Europe for centuries for insomnia, and has had numerous studies on its usefulness in depression.
There are many natural sleep formulas available from nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathics, and numberous techniques and programs available to help you if you suffer from sleep disorders.
Contact David Hawkins at email@example.com.