Monday, April 16, 2012

Sleeping Eazzzzy...

As I go through this book, and as you go through my posts, you will see some common threads.  Though this post is specifically about sleep, it is all interrelated as we are all quickly learning.  If we are not well, then we are often not going to sleep well,  and if we don't sleep well we will very quickly become less well.  Sleep has to be a priority, so rather than ignoring it or turning to over-the-counter, addictive medications, read on and find some simple solutions!
  • Find ways of relaxing and de-stressing in the evening
  • make sure your supplement program includes vitamin B6 100 mg, and zinc 10 mg – up to 30 if no dream recall
  • Supplement 400 mg of calcium and 300 mg magnesium in the evening and eat calcium and magnesium rich foods – such as seeds, nuts and crunchy or dark green vegetables
  •  Maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day– eat protein rich foods at EVERY meal and avoid refined foods, coffee, sugary foods and drinks and minimize alcohol.
  •  Balance your sleep neurotransmitters- serotonin which aids in making melatonin (a neurotransmitter - without which it is difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep)- B6 and the amino acid tryptophan are needed to make these.  Read this post about serotonin, tryptophan and 5-HTP
  • If necessary and you suffer from insomnia supplement either 200 mg of 5-HTP - direct precursor to serotonin (discussed here) before bed. (Incidentally 5-HTP has also been shown to reduce sleep terrors in children when given at an amount equal to 1 mg per pound of body weight before bed.) 
  •  avoid sugar and stimulants (caffeine!) especially after 4 pm
How significant is caffeine and my sleep?
One study done in Israel found that volunteers given regular coffee, compared to decaf, slept an average of two hours less. (pg 189). Melatonin  production is suppressed by caffeine for up to 10 hours.

A note about Valerian - considered nature's Valium and worth a look
**valerian can interact with alcohol and other sedative drugs so please only take under close medical supervision **

One double blinded study in which participants took 60 mg of valerian 30 minutes before bedtime for 28 days found it to be as effective as oxazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety. (pg 193) Recommended 150-300 mg

Sleep well!

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