- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Natural Sleep Remedies to Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep All Night.
The Midnight Rooster
There are times, when I remember the title of the John Lennon/Elton John song from their legendary 1974 Walls and Bridges album, titled “Whatever Gets You through the Night.” Although those words center more on lifestyle choices, it is also what goes through my mind, when I just can’t get a good night’s sleep. It 2:00 AM, and I am still tossing and turning, the midnight rooster has paid me yet another visit.
One can try to remedy the problem by using any one of the many prescription medicines, or over the counter sleep aids. There are countless ads for these products, with the promise of getting your needed zzzz’s. I do not doubt their effectiveness, but I am concerned about the side effects, that accompany the relief, that the manufacturers of these products promise to insomnia sufferer.
There is an alternative, for those of us who do not want to take prescription sleep aids. Now the question is which natural sleep aid is best for you? There are TV ads for a natural sleep aid that is a combination of Melatonin, Valerian Root and Tryptophan. This particular sleep aid is a powerful combination, although many individuals have found relief from insomnia by simply taking only one of these natural substances. Another popular natural sleep aid is one formulated by doctors, called Sleep MD, this sleep aid also contains Melatonin blended with a herbal formula consisting of: White Willow Extract, Valerian Extract, Lemon Balm Extract, Lavender Powder, Passion Flower and Coenzyme Q10 . This one also has a powerful combination of natural substances that are more than likely help most people get their zzz’s.
Not everyone responds to sleep aids, whether it is a prescription drugs, or a natural sleep aid, in the same way. Some people respond well by taking Melatonin alone, because this is what their body is in short supply of, due to aging, or hormone imbalances. Other people respond well to herbal combinations alone, and the added Melatonin might actually keep them from falling asleep.
My naturopathic doctor once told me that if your body already has enough Melatonin, adding more to your system will actually defeat the purpose, and only worsen your sleeplessness. For those who have a shortage of Serotonin, which is the main building block of the sleep hormone, Melatonin, it might help more if Tryptophan or 5HTP is taken instead of Melatonin. On the other hand, I know from personal experience, that even though 5HTP is what Serotonin is made from, it did not make me sleepy; instead it made me feel perky and more awake. What I did as a strategy was to take 5HTP first thing in the morning, which has benefited me greatly. In order to keep my Serotonin level high enough in the evening, to manufacture the amount of Melatonin my body needs to get a full nights rest, I take 500 mgs of Tryptophan.
I also asked my naturopathic doctor, why it was that Tryptophan helped me sleep, and 5HTP didn’t, even though they are both used to make Serotonin? She went on to explain that they both were absorbed by the body differently. This absorption does make a difference, therefore it is wise to test both 5HTP and Tryptophan, to see which one is more effective, in helping you get a good night’s sleep.
I also found that digestive problems had a lot to do with sleeplessness, and so did having undiagnosed parasites. When I had both these problems corrected, I found that tackling insomnia was much easier. Another amino acid that helps calm us down is L-Theanine which works by raising Dopamine levels, and helps to increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA is another natural substance taken by many for falling asleep. I have taken GABA for that purpose, and although it was effective in getting me to sleep, I found that I would often wake up with some confusion in the morning. I then discovered, that on a neuro-endocrine test, I had a very high level of GABA in my system. So sometimes, some to these amino acids can build up in your system. These types of imbalance will cause problems.
As to herbal remedies, the most popular is Valerian, although it is very effective, it is not for everyone. Another wonderful remedy is Lemon Balm Extract, which is known to promote relaxation. Sometimes just smelling some lavender will bring about a state of relaxation. Certain minerals also help with falling asleep; minerals such as calcium and magnesium promote sleep for some individuals. Every night I take a 200 mg. caplet of Magnesium Citrate, coupled with a product called Lipo-Gen, which aids in the digestion of fats. I have found that this combination is very effective in calming me, and promoting a steady and restful sleep. I also recommend consulting your physician to see which sleep remedy is right for you.
Let us not underestimate the power of a hot bathtub bath, or a good back and foot rub, both very effective, and they do not require for you to take anything internally. Whatever you do, to meet up with the Sandman, make sure it is safe, and that it works with your body’s own rhythms. Listen to your body, and you will discover what gets you through the night.