Lack of sleep is a major cause of medical visits and can spiral into many different ailments.
It is estimated that 70 million Americans have insomnia and roughly 43 million have sleep apnea with most of these people undiagnosed and unaware they have it. Prescription drug sales for sleep medications is a 1.4 billion industry and over the counter sleep aides around 576 million. Sleep labs are generating around 4.3 billion and all of these are per year!
I break down sleep issues into different phases: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or both. Melatonin is often the go-to OTC sleep aide but this only helps with resetting your diurnal clock and helps with falling asleep mostly in a short term basis. The longer you take it the more your sleep can be disrupted.There are so many things to consider for optimal sleep so I want to walk thru these as well as multiple supplements to try. READ ON
FYI: . I have loved Neuroscience products Kavinace and Kavinace Ultra but these are being discontinued so if you are taking these then you need to start working on finding an alternative. We still have some in stock but won’t be able to get anymore.
Trouble Falling asleep:
Often this occurs because you can’t wind down from your day. Using proper sleep hygiene like not working on the computer for an hour before bed, no TV, no hot bath (increasing your body temp will keep you awake), and no reading (especially a nail-biting book that keeps you enthralled). Lights should be off and the room completely black. Clocks should be dim if in the room at all. Temperature in the room should be cool. When all of these don’t work then here are a few options:
- Melatonin: 1-3mg is an average dose. Take right before bed and may be helpful to fall asleep. Might cause vivid dreams so be aware.
- Phosphatidylserine: this helps blunt the cortisol response that is driving your spinning wheels in your brain. Best taken an hour before bed. Dose of sleep will be around 300mg. I like blends and one of my favorites is Calm CP by Neuroscience. Another good product in this category is CALM PRT for more difficulty.
- GABA can be helpful in some to fall asleep but often is better for help with staying asleep. Relaxmax is a good choice.
- Blends of valerian root, lemon balm, chamomile may also be helpful especially when combined with melatonin. See below for some names of products with these init.
Trouble Staying Asleep:
This one gets a little trickier because there are a lot of reasons why we wake up.
- Sleep apnea: if you snort, gasp, wake up with your heart racing then you need to be evaluated for sleep apnea. The brain will wake you up every time to breathe and this is a major culprit for interrupted sleep. Don’t ignore this because sleep apnea can lead to difficult losing weight, high blood pressure and blood sugar issues.
- Night sweats: yes, hormones can be a culprit (usually progesterone) but this can also be caused by infections like Lymes disease so if you are having significant night sweats then get this worked up.
- Interruptions: I’m just going to put this out there…. If you are consistently being woken up by your snoring partner, your dog and your kids then you need to figure this out. Obviously, I’m not talking about not responding to your babies so use some common sense here. I just here from so many people that the dogs sleep with them and wake them up all night long. It’s going to be really hard to trump these distractions and do you really want to have to take a sleeping pill for this. Years ago my brother-in-law was talking to his vet about how his dog was snoring so loud it was keeping them awake and his vet told him that he could fix that. Excited my brother-in-law asked what could be done. His vet told him to move the dog out of the bedroom! Not exactly what he wanted to hear but you get the point!
- Blood sugar drops: this often gets overlooked. If your blood sugar drops in the middle of the night you will often wake up a little anxious which you might interpret as mind spinning. If you are prone to blood sugar drops during the day then you might want to try having a good protein snack just before bedtime and keeping one by your bedside when you wake up. Even a few crackers with peanut butter can make a big difference. Alcohol and sugary sweets just before bed increase the likelihood of this happening.
Here are a few supplements that may help with staying asleep and many of these will help with falling asleep:
- Magnesium – very calming. If you get too much you will get diarrhea so just back down on the dose
- Sedalin by Xymogen (magnolia and ziziphus) – take at least 7 nights in a row to allow it time to start working. Magnolia is very calming.
- Insomnitol by Designs for health (valerian 400mg, passion flower 200mg, lemon balm 200mg , chamomile 200mg, GABA 100mg, theanine 100mg, 5HTP 100mg, melatonin 3mg) We will have this product soon.
- Relaxmax by Xymogen (magnesium 75mg, inositol 2g, GABA 100mg, taurine 500mg, L theanine 50mg). Taurine and theanine are both calming and when added to GABA it can make a night combo.
- CBD oil (CBD 10 + is a special one with CBD and melatonin that we have had good results)
- Cerenity PM by Orthomolecular: taurine 300mg, 5htp 150mg, gaba 150mg, pserine 100mg, magnesium 150mg plus nutrients (we will have this product soon)
- Melatonin – only helps to fall asleep, may cause vivid dreams
- Essential oils
- Alpha Gaba PM by Neuroscience: theanine 400mg, melatonin 3mg, blend of valerian, lemon balm, 5HTP
- ZZZquil PURE ZZZ’s (be sure it is the PURE) (melatonin 2mg, and blend of: chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, lavender) *contains some dyes, soy and tree nuts (sold at local pharmacies)
When you work on the underlying cause you will always have more success. Sleep tight!!
To your health,