sleep

  • Getting Great Sleep Naturally

    Ready to be able to get 8–9 hours of solid sleep a night? I can tell you for a fact it is possible to get eight hours of solid sleep a night. And it is amazing how much better you'll feel when you do. This article will focus on new treatments for optimizing sleep—naturally.

    There is an outstanding new mix of essential oils that works well with the other treatments I've recommended for sleep in the past. It contains a combination of Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Mandarin (Citrus reticulata).

    You can find this combination in a product called Terrific ZZZZ. More good news? In addition to being highly effective, like most natural remedies it offers "side benefits" instead of side effects. These include less pain, calming, and better mental clarity.

    Let's take a look at this mix, and other natural remedies that work well in combination with it.

    Natural Sleep Support

    Essential oils add a whole new dimension to natural therapies. When it comes to sleep, these have the benefits of decreasing brain fog and pain, while improving energy and immune function. Let's take a look at four outstanding essential oils that can now be found in combination in Terrific ZZZZ.

    Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), a lemon-scented herb, is both an effective calming agent and mild sedative. Recent research suggests that it optimizes function of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which helps our nervous system calm down.

    These receptors also have the benefit of decreasing pain. Another benefit? In a placebo-controlled study done in England, lemon balm significantly improved both cognitive function and calmness. It also helps the immune system keep viral infections in check.

    Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) long recognized in France for improving people's sense of well-being, lavender flowers were commonly placed in pillows to help promote sleep. Even the smell of lavender is calming. Research suggests that lavender oil is sedating, relieving anxiety and improving deep sleep. The effect? People who use lavender also experience more energy and alertness in the morning. Research also suggests that lavender supports your body's own endorphin molecules. These are the same neurotransmitters that your body stimulates to decrease pain, and which triggers the "runner's high" in athletes. So it is no wonder that this herb is so prized!

    Mandarin (Citrus reticulata). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this herb has been used to calm the nervous system and induce sleep. In fact, Mandarin oranges get their name from the Chinese Mandarins, who traditionally received this fruit as a gift.

    Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) is a rainforest tree. Its fragrant leaves, bark, and nuts have a long history of being used by the indigenous population of Madagascar for their powerful effects in supporting sleep, improving mood, and calming anxiety.

    All four of these can be found in combination in an awesome product called Terrific ZZZZ. They are also synergistic with the natural products below, and the sleep medications, which I discuss in my writings. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

    Other Helpful Natural Sleep Aids

    Here are a couple of my favorites:

    1. The Revitalizing Sleep Formula. This is a mix of six herbs that are excellent for sleep and that I start people with.
    2. Sleep Tonight. This herbal mix helps to settle down adrenal function, so your body can move into sleep mode. It is especially helpful for those of you with adrenal fatigue who are exhausted all day, and then find that your mind is wide awake and racing at bedtime. Take it one hour before sleep if this sounds like you.
    3. AnxioCalm. Amazing herb for anxiety (Take two twice a day and give it six weeks to see the full effect). Also very helpful for sleep.
    4. Melatonin. Although minimally effective for most people, we're seeing good results using a special form called Dual Spectrum 5 Mg Melatonin (available from Walgreens). This combines an immediate and sustained release mix. This works really well when others have not. Clinically, we have also seen that this higher dose helps decrease nighttime acid reflux.
    5. Magnesium. Take 200 mg at bedtime as a natural calming agent and muscle relaxant.
    6. 5 HTP 200–400 mg at bedtime. Give this 6–12 weeks to see the full effect. It also helps decrease pain while improving mood. Keep the dose to 200–300 mg (and get your holistic health practitioner's okay) if you are taking antidepressants or other serotonin raising medications.

    It's time for you to get a good night's sleep!

  • Improve Your Sleep

    The naturopathic approach to sleep management examines every aspect that influences ones ability to get a good night’s sleep. These include environmental factors, routine, blood sugar, stimulants, sedatives, and psychological factors. By examining and addressing these factors many common sleep problems can be improved without more aggressive intervention.

  • June 2017

    Total Health Magazine June 2017

    Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the June 2017 issue of TotalHealth Online.

    We begin with "Stocking Your Kitchen For Success," by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. In this first of a series of previews from her book, The NEW Fat Flush Plan—a full update of the New York Times Best Seller—she shares her preferences for cookware, knives and other handy items for a successful kitchen experience.

    Dallas Clouatre's, PhD, article, "Herbs For Rest And Relaxation," lays out a convincing case for changes to our addiction to coffee. He explores a list of herbs, which will help to cut down and eventually kick the coffee habit. And your body will thank you for it.

    Christine Horner, MD, in "Female And Over 40? Two Health Mistakes To Avoid—For Radiant Health, Ageless Beauty," discusses Relizen, a product introduced in the U.S. several years ago. To date, over one million women worldwide have used this supplement with great satisfaction; and it is currently the number one non-hormonal menopausal product used in France.

    Elson Haas, MD, continues from last month's topic sugar, with "Sugar Health And The Glycemic Index." Haas discusses the history and politics of sugar. You can't get away from it, however, you can create an awareness of its influence. And make a difference in your loved ones lives. He Includes his basic glycemic index to start you off.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), in "The Importance Of Minerals: For Bone & More," covers the key nutrients, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, potassium and others. For all those concerned (men and women) with bone density don't miss Bruno's article.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, presents "Roasted One-Dish Meals," a recipe you can adapt with your favorite veggies for this one-dish meal which is based on no nightshades!

    In "A Natural Treatment for Depression-Curcumin," Charles Bens, PhD, discusses a recent study showing Curcumin as effective as Prozac and without the side effects.

    Are you ready to be able to get 8–9 hours of solid sleep a night? Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, can help you with "Get Great Sleep—Naturally!" He tells us for a fact it is possible to get eight hours of solid sleep a night. And this article shows us new treatments for optimizing sleep—naturally.

    Sherrill Sellman, ND, in "A Safe Personal Lubricant to Protect, Heal and Restore vaginal Health," calls attention to a product she recommends for women—who through aging, menopause or other reasons may be seeking relief for dryness and discomfort.

    Shawn Messonnier, DVM includes our pets with "Ginseng Use For Pets."

    Best in health,

    TWIP The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full June issue.

    Click here to read the full June issue.

  • Relief From Insomnia, Get Better Sleep

    Relief From Insomnia Gene Bruno

    Insomnia is the chronic inability to sleep or to remain asleep through the night. The condition is caused by a variety of physical and psychological factors. These include emotional stress, physical pain and discomfort, disturbances in brain function, drug abuse and drug dependence, neuroses, psychoses, and psychological problems that produce anxiety, irrational fears, and tensions. Conventional medical treatments may include giving sedatives, tranquilizers or hypnotics, psychotherapy, and exercise. However, there are also a variety of natural substances, which may help. These are discussed below.

    MELATONIN

    Melatonin is a hormone produced by the small, pea-shaped pineal gland located in the brain. During daylight hours, light entering the eye stimulates neurons to transmit impulses to the pineal gland that inhibit melatonin secretion. But at night, the pineal gland is able to release melatonin, which causes relaxation and initiates the sleep cycle.

    As the body ages, it produces less melatonin—which may explain why elderly people often have difficulty sleeping1 and why melatonin supplements improve sleep in the elderly.2 This does not mean that the use of melatonin should be limited to the elderly. Other research has shown that non-elderly adults with insomnia can also have lower melatonin levels.3 Also, research has demonstrated that melatonin even helps facilitate sleep in young adults.4 An appropriate dose would be 3–6 mg melatonin taken one hour before bedtime.

    VALERIAN ROOT

    Valerian root is considered by many to be the "granddaddy" of all sleep-promoting herbs, and is the leading herb for insomnia in modern herbal medicine. Valerian root makes getting to sleep easier and increases deep sleep and dreaming. Valerian does not cause the morning "hangover" which is a common side effect of prescription sleep drugs and melatonin in some individuals.5,6 By itself, a valerian root supplement (standardized for percent of valerenic acid), in doses of 300–400 mg can be taken thirty minutes before bedtime. Also, Valerian may be combined with other herbs. For example, one German study compared the effect of a combination product containing an extract of valerian root (320 mg at bedtime) and extract of lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, with the sleeping drug Halcion®.7 After monitored sleep for nine nights, the herbal duo matched Halcion in boosting the ability to get to sleep as well as in the quality of sleep. However, the Halcion group felt hung over and had trouble concentrating the next day, while those taking the valerian/lemon balm combination reported no negative effect.

    HOPS

    Hops have a history of use as nature's best sleep "inducer." Though many natural substances are more effective at keeping one asleep, Hops is often considered best at inducing sleep. The German Commission E recommends Hops for anxiety or insomnia.8

    PASSION FLOWER

    Passion flower has been, and continues to be an extremely popular herb in Europe where it is often used to induce relaxation and sleep. In the United States, however, medical use of the herb did not begin until the late nineteenth century when passion flower was used to treat nervous restlessness and gastrointestinal spasms—the belief being that passion flower worked primarily on the nervous system, particularly for anxiety due to mental worry and overwork.9 Research has demonstrated that the flavonoids in passion flower are the primary constituents responsible for its relaxing and anti-anxiety effects.10

    SCULLCAP

    Scullcap has been used historically and in modern times as a sedative for people with nervous tension as well as for insomnia. Unfortunately, very few studies have been conducted on Scullcap. However, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study11 of healthy subjects demonstrated noteworthy anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects from Scullcap. Also, one of Scullcaps constituents known as scutellaria has been shown to have mild sedative and antispasmodic actions in animal research.12

    GRIFFONIA SIMPLICIFOLIA (5-HTP)

    5-Hydroxy-L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) is a natural peptide, which the human body uses to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is important for normal nerve and brain function, and plays an important role in sleep. In fact, your body can convert serotonin into melatonin.13 The concept is that by taking supplemental 5-HTP your body should be able to make serotonin, which ultimately, should help promote sleep. In fact, in one placebo-controlled trial 5-HTP was able to improve the duration and depth of sleep in individuals with insomnia.14 In addition, 5-HTP was able to improve sleep quality in a preliminary trial of people with fibromyalgia.15 Commercially, 5-HTP can be derived from the seeds of a West African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. Some Griffonia extracts are standardized to 10 percent 5-HTP.

    GABA

    Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is a natural peptide, which is manufactured from the amino acid glutamine and glucose. In the central nervous system, GABA exerts anticonvulsant, sedative, and anxiolytic effects at the cellular level.16,17 GABA supplements appear to promote relaxation and sleep.18 GABA itself does not cause drowsiness. Instead, by easing anxiety, it simply makes it easier to fall asleep.

    DIET AND/OR OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

    For many insomniacs, avoiding caffeine may be an absolute necessity. After all, caffeine is a well-known stimulant, which can keep you awake.19 Now if you're thinking, "Fine, I'll just make sure not to have any coffee in the evening," you may be in for a disappointment. The effects of caffeine can last up to twenty hours,20 so you may need to stop drinking coffee altogether. Now besides regular coffee, black and green tea, cocoa, chocolate, some soft drinks, and many over-thecounter pharmaceuticals also contain caffeine, so be sure to limit or avoid the intake of these items as well. Another dietary consideration is that eating high-carbohydrate food before bedtime, such as a slice of bread or some crackers, can significantly increase serotonin levels in the body—and the neurotransmitter serotonin is known to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

    Non-dietary considerations include stress and smoking. Insomnia can be triggered by, or exacerbated by psychological stress. Dealing with that stress through counseling has helped in many studies.22 Another method of intervention, which has helped is listening to relaxation tapes.23

    In addition, research has shown that smokers are more likely to have insomnia than non-smokers,24 which is one more good reason for smokers to quit.

    Another non-dietary approach to insomnia can include lavender oil. The volatile or essential oil of lavender contains many medicinal components, including perillyl alcohol, linalool, and geraniol. The oil is calming25 and thus can be helpful in some cases of insomnia. One study of elderly persons with sleeping troubles found that inhaling lavender oil was as effective as tranquilizers.26 The German government approves lavender for people with insomnia.27

    References

    1. Haimov I, et al, BMJ (1994) 309:167.
    2. Singer C, et al, J Am Geriatr Soc (1996) 44:51 [abstr #A1].
    3. Attenburrow MEJ, et al, BMJ(1996) 312:1263–64.
    4. Zhadanova IV, et al, Clin Pharmacol Ther (1995) 57:552–58.
    5. Leathwood PD, Chauffard F, Planta Medica (1985) 51:144–48.
    6. Leathwood PD, et al, Pharmacol Biochem Behav (1982) 17:65–71.
    7. Dressing H, et al, Therapiewoche (1992) 42:726–36.
    8. Blumenthal M, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines (1998) Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, pp. 147.
    9. Foster S, Herbs for Your Health (1996) Interweave Press, Loveland, Colorado, pp. 68–9.
    10. Meier B, Zeitschrift Phytother(1995) 16:115–26.
    11. Wolfson P, Hoffmann DL. An investigation into the efficacy of Scutellaria lateriflora in healthy volunteers. Alternative therapies in health and medicine 2003; 9(2):74-8.
    12. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 86–7.
    13. Guyton AC, Hall JE. Textbook of Medical Physiology, 9th ed. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1996.
    14. Soulairac A, Lambinet H. Etudes cliniques de líaction du precurseur de la serotonine le L-5-hydroxy-tryptophane, sur les troubles du sommeil. Schweiz Bundschau Med (PRAXIS) 1998;77(34a):19–23.
    15. Puttini PS, Caruso I. Primary fibromyalgia syndrome and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan: a 90 day open study. J Int Med Res 1992;20:182–9.
    16. Kalant H, Roschlau WHE, Eds. Principles of Med. Pharmacology. New York, NY: Oxford Univ Press, 1998.
    17. Bloom FE, Kupfer DJ. Psychopharmacology: The Fourth Generation of Progress. New York, NY: Raven Press, Ltd., 1995.
    18. GABA. WholeHealthMD.com. Accessed on December 1, 2005 from http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,10027,00.html.
    19. Weiss B, Laties VG, Pharmacol Rev (1962) 14:1–36.
    20. Hollingworth HL, Arch Psychol (1912) 20:1–66.
    21. Blum I, et al, Metabolism (1992) 41:137–40.
    22. Morin CM, Culbert JP, Schwartz SM, Am J Psychiatr(1994) 151:1172–80.
    23. Fuerst ML, JAMA (1983) 249:459–60.
    24. Phillips BA, Danner FJ, Arch Intern Med (1995) 155:734–7.
    25. Buchbauer G, et al, Z Naturforsch [C] (1991) 46:1067–72.
    26. Hardy M, Kirk-Smith MD, Stretch DD, Lancet (1995) 346:701 [letter].
    27. Blumenthal M, et al, (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines (1998) Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, pp. 159–60.
  • Sleep: Challenges and Success

    What is Sleep?
    For humans and most animals, sleep is a period of rest and recharging from the activities and stresses of our daily lives. Sleep is a time for the brain and nervous system to replenish its reserves and to rest our digestive tract, our spine and our muscles. We each have our own sleep patterns and needs. Sleep is a time when we restore our vital functioning and allow our conscious mind to rest and release our subconscious mind to be active. Sleep also changes as we grow and age.

    Chronic sleep deprivation has many health consequences including increased risk for infections, heart disease, depression, impaired cognitive functions and more accidents.1 Fatigue and low motivation also occur frequently when we don’t properly recharge our ‘batteries.’

    How Much Sleep Do We Need?
    Our individual requirement for sleep depends on both the quantity (hours) as well as the quality of our sleep. This involves how deeply we sleep and whether we feel replenished or exhausted when we wake up. We need to go into the slower theta waves where we dream in order to become completely recharged. Many of us are partly or fully “sleep deprived.” Insomnia is one of the most common complaints seen by physicians, as is fatigue, which is partly due to poor sleep. Some reports have suggested that 50 –70 million adults, more than 35 percent of Americans are sleep deprived.2 Are you?

    Why Don’t We Sleep Well?
    Many of us don’t sleep well because we stay up late with TV and computers on, receiving too much light and electricity to support nighttime quiet. Then, often we must awaken earlier than our own rhythm might want us to, using alarms from a clock or cell phone. This is common with jobs and school, and especially challenging for teenagers, who seem to gravitate too late to bed and ever later to arise. If we ingest too many stimulants in our diets (coffee, sugars, chocolate) throughout the day, our sleep often suffers. Having too many stresses and worries diminishes quality sleep. Too much electromagnetic activity (TVs, digital clocks, microwaves, and Wi-Fi) in our homes and bedrooms could alter sleep quality. Do you get quality sleep with a partner, or do you sleep better alone? Often, long time couples end up sleeping in different rooms because one snores or they like different covers and room temperatures, or generally have different sleep patterns.

    Quality sleep is essential for maintaining good health and includes being able to fall asleep easily and stay asleep; awaken naturally at the right time; and feeling rested and ready for the day. This is important for a healthy, energetic body that can live to its potential.

    Assess The Quality Of Your Own Sleep
    • How often are you satisfied with your current sleep? Daily, weekly, never?
    • Do you know your natural sleep needs and sleep cycles?
    • How much sleep do you need before you feel rested?
    • Do you fall asleep easily and stay asleep through the night?
    • Do you wake up during the night?
    • How often?
    • Why?
    • Is it to urinate?
    • Is it anxiety?
    • Can you go back to sleep easily if you awaken during the night?
    • Do you have nightmares or anxiety-generating dreams? How often?
    • Is there a specific cause of poor sleep, like allergies, medications or anxiety?
    • Is there a change in your sleep patterns?
    • Is this change related to life cycles, like menopause or aging?
    • What is your state of mind when you wake up?
    • Do you feel rested when you wake up?
    • Do you need an alarm clock and reset it two or three times before getting up?
    • Do you have energy throughout the day, or do you need many jolts of caffeine and sugar, and then alcohol later to relax?
    • If you have a sleep partner, how does he, or she, affect your sleep?

    There are many consequences of poor sleep—including immune deficiency and subsequent illness, mood and cognitive issues and a general lack of energy and motivation? Sleep experts talk about ‘sleep hygiene’ as a primary approach to help improve the quality of sleep. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine3 and National Sleep Foundation4 recommend behavior change and ‘sleep hygiene’ as the primary way to deal with sleep problems, not resorting to pharmaceuticals at first.

    Ways To Improve Your Sleep

    Before Bed—Sleep Prep
    • Be quiet about an hour before bedtime, dim the lights, and turn off computers and TV. Listen to calming music or meditate. Many read something to relax and get sleepy.
    • Avoid alcohol, coffee or chocolate, vigorous exercise, or eating too much in the hours before bed.
    • Get some fresh air and light exercise if you find that helps you relax. A walk outdoors to see some stars and experience the quiet of night can be helpful.
    In The Bedroom
    • Make your bedroom a comforting environment that gives you a sense of peace and relaxation.
    • Keep your room dark and find the right temperature (and right amount of covers) that helps you sleep—cooler is usually better.
    • Make sure your bed and bedroom are used primarily for sleep (or physical intimacy) and not for working on computers or watching television. In general, keep your electromagnetic exposure as low as possible in the bedroom.
    If these suggestions don’t work, try natural remedies before going on to stronger pharmaceutical medicines, but if you do use medications, do so only as a temporary measure. Explore These Natural Approaches First:
    • Melatonin (1–3 mg) taken 30 minutes before sleep (helps align diurnal sleep rhythm but not for people with autoimmune conditions).
    • Serotonin supporters like L-tryptophan (500–1500 mg) and 5-HTP (50–200 mg) help with deeper sleep.
    • GABA (250 –1,000 mg) is a brain and nervous system calmer, and L-theanine (200 –400 mg) may support better relaxation of mind and body and help with sleep; these two items are often contained together in products like Liposomal Zen Liquid (by Allergy Research Group).
    • Calcium Magnesium combinations in equal amounts of 250–500 mg each often helps with relaxation and sleep.
    • Herbs like valerian, chamomile (caution for people with allergies to ragweed) and catnip, or formulas like Sleepytime or Nighty Night teas.

    Your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills like Ambien or Sonata or more tranquilizer medicines like Ativan or Xanax. These can help break poor sleep cycles with a good sleep, yet all of these are addictive and some can contribute to amnesia or sleepwalking. Overall, it’s best to align with natural sleep as much as possible by lowering your stimulants, improving your exercise, eating well, and lowering electronic exposures later in the day.

    Clearly, many health and life situations can affect sleep, such as menopause, getting up frequently to urinate, and/or stress/anxiety conditions, especially as we age. Usually, children sleep quite well and longer than adults, so if they have trouble sleeping, it can be more of a concern. Though teens have a slightly altered sleep cycle compared to adults, their reluctance to wake too early for school is usually biologically based.5 They also need more sleep than adults. Ideally, school should start later for all our young people. For poor sleep, you want to identify the underlying causes. Allergies can be one, as can emotional upset and mental worries.

    Overall, sleep is an important part of Staying Healthy and one of my 5 Keys, which also include Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Management, and Healthy Attitudes. It all works when we apply our healthy lifestyle. Sleep well!

    (Author’s note: This is excerpted from my soon-to-be-released book, Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine: Integrating Natural, Eastern, and Western Approaches for Optimal Health. This is from the chapter “5 Keys to Staying Healthy.” See website: www.ElsonHaasMD.com and sign on to get the free 5 Keys message.)

    References:
    1. BREUS, Michael Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think Chronic Sleep Deprivation May Harm Health http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/importantsleep-habits.
    2. Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. http://www.cdc.gove/features/dssleep.
    3. The Diagnosis and Management of InsomniaJ. Christian Gillin, M.D., and William F. Byerley, M.D. N Engl J Med 1990; 322:239–248January 25, 1990DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199001253220406.
    4. http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleeptips.
    5. http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/teens-and-sleep.
  • To Sleep or Not to Sleep

    sleep insomnia better sleep Charles K Bens

    Chronic insomnia can contribute to the development of many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A vast majority of sleep problems are due to faulty brain chemistry, but there are often contributing factors in other parts of the body such as the digestive process, the liver, the kidneys, etc. This is important because concentrating only on the brain may not resolve the sleep problem.

    Getting a proper diagnosis is the key and doctors trained in holistic medicine can properly diagnose these complicated sleep issues. They treat the whole body while most sleep specialists treat only the brain with reliance on prescription medications. This can produce short-term success, but not sustainable solutions since the root of the problem may not have been addressed.

    Assuming that any non-brain related issues have been addressed we can now fix the brains chemistry. Sleep is crucial to our overall health because it is during sleep that the brain and the body re-energize, detoxify and re-balance. For example, it is during sleep that the body attempts to balance acid and alkalinity in the blood. A proper pH of 7.0 –7.4 in the urine, upon waking, is vital to the health of every part of our body. Disease does not thrive in a body with a balanced pH. If you did not eat enough vegetables and ate too much meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods your body will steal minerals from your bones and muscles to achieve this balance.

    THINGS TO AVOID INCLUDE: Alcohol—Tobacco—Caffeine—Cold medicines late at night—Eating before bedtime—Exercise close to bedtime— Eating foods such as bacon, cheese, ham, eggplant, spinach, sauerkraut, sugar, sausage, chocolate, tomatoes, wine or potatoes close to bedtime. These foods contain norepinephrine a brain stimulant that can impede sleep.

    THINGS TO INCLUDE: Exercise in the late afternoon—Hot bath one to two hours before bedtime— Music—Meditation—Consistent bedtime—Eating foods such as bananas, figs, dates, nut butters, tuna, turkey, whole grains and yogurt, because these foods contain tryptophan, which helps make melatonin and is very beneficial to good sleep.

    SUPPLEMENTS THAT IMPROVE SLEEP: Calcium, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin C, Zinc, Melatonin, 5-Htp, DHEA, Chamomile, GABA Calm (an actual product name), Kavinace PM (an actual product name) and natural hormone replacement (plant based hormones).

    Every sleep problem can be different so be certain to get a proper diagnosis from a Holistic Medical Doctor and incorporate these recommendations.

  • Your Brain Does WHAT While You’re Sleeping?

    Sleep deficit you chalk-off as, “no big deal” actually creates a decreasing tolerance within your body and brain with dangerous implications more than just tired and sleepy daytime symptoms. Underlying causes of sleep disorders are as diverse as individuals but the consequences are now scientifically linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, brain-fog, premature aging, and even Alzheimer’s.

    Brain Facts

    • Your brain clears toxins—it does NOT sleep, parts of it actually get more active at night than during the day. According to brain researcher, P.M. Doraiswamy, MD, at Duke University, a newly discovered drainage system called the glymphatic system, goes to work processing and clearing out the brain’s toxins ten times more when we’re sleeping than when we’re awake. A primary protein actively recycled during sleep is responsible for creating amyloid plaque—a marker to Alzheimer’s, although not the only cause.
    • Researchers clearly state chronic sleep deprivation (less than 7–8 hours of regenerative sleep) can lead to irreversible brain damage! A study found extended wakefulness injures neurons essential for alertness and cognitive functions—and—damage can be permanent. The studies also showed short sleep cycles are also linked to a shrinking brain. In addition, studies showed chemicals secreted during deeper sleep are vital for repairing the body and brain.
    • Your internal brain computer does its work of archiving memories from all that stimuli—auditory, visual and neurosensory—like a hard drive in your computer. AND it cannot do its job adequately on 4–5 hours sleep; memory tests prove it.
    • Acetylcholine, a chemical involved in restorative sleep and the dream state, declines in people who begin developing Alzheimer’s because the cells that produce it are destroyed. Lack of deep restorative sleep contributes to destruction of these cells.
    • University of Pennsylvania studies found that prolonging wakefulness damages a type of brain cell called locus ceruleus (LC) neurons that play important roles in keeping us alert and awake.

    Keep in mind that long-term sleep deprivation saps the brain of its power even after many days of sleep recovery. More recent studies shined a bright light of concern about brain changes from sleep deprivation showing disruptions in gene function that can affect overall metabolism, inflammation, and autoimmune disease risk to the body and vital detox for the brain. The CDC reported sleep deprivation is now “epidemic” in the U.S.—is it any wonder disorders like fibromyalgia and other inflammatory disorders are also “epidemic?” The body AND brain need time to rejuvenate, get professional help to identify underlying causes now or you’ll be forced to once a life-altering disorder develops. There ARE effective non-drug options to get you stress-less restorative sleep, consult your natural health provider.