Sound Asleep

After a hard day's work, all we crave is a peaceful night’s sleep to help rejuvenate us for the next day. With all the day’s events and worries, and also those of the next day, the mind has a tough time shutting down. A good sleep helps us grow, avoid being sick, maintain our daily energy and keep us mentally stable.

When trying to treat sleep disturbances, the most important thing to recognize is whether the person is having a tough time falling asleep OR are they having a tough time staying asleep. Next, one needs to figure out if stress and anxiety are creating the problem. Another important thing to clear up is whether shift work is creating the problem.

There are many sleep supplements on the market, be it single or combination remedies, with or without melatonin, herbal or homeopathic. All act on various systems in our bodies, depending on what is needed. The person may need a product for sleep or stress, for relaxation or anxiety, depending on the cause and symptoms.

Some of the basic supplements to consider for helping the body overall, are things such as Magnesium and Vitamin B6 , to help relax the body’s muscles and nerves, along with maintaining total darkness in the bedroom. Having total darkness helps to stimulate melatonin production, which is responsible for sleep induction. Along with darkness, it is best to have total quiet and a regular routine for sleeping, which trains the body to do what it needs to do.

The simplest and easiest way to try to get a person’s sleep back is to decide if it is difficult to fall asleep or difficult to stay asleep. The best treatment for this is still melatonin, but there are many delivery methods. For those who have a problem falling asleep it is best to use sublingual melatonin to get quick delivery into the system and hence a fast response. For people who have a tough time staying a sleep, it is best to use a time-released melatonin. It is slowly released over 6-8 hours, and encourages a longer and continuous period of sleep.

Herbs such as Valerian and Passion flower can help to relax the mind and the body, so the body is better able to fall asleep. Once the mind is shut down, the tension in the muscles is released. These herbs and others help to calm down nervous tension and reduce muscle tightness, all of which reduce the body’s ability to relax and fall asleep.

Another supplement that helps to calm down the mind and get more focus is theanine. Theanine has the ability to quickly give focus to your train of thought, preventing the recurring thoughts that lead to lying in bed with the eyes closed and not being able to fall asleep.

For most people, their sleep is really not a sleep issue but rather an anxiety and stress problem. What I mean by this is that they can sleep just fine if the stress and anxiety would let the brain relax. What needs to be done is to deal with the mind. Supplements such as GABA and Relora are probably the most effective to help in this situation. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce anxiety symptoms to give clarity and calmness thus relaxing the mind, to “stop the wheels from turning in the mind”. It is a very safe and effective product for the young and elderly. One of my favorite products is called Relora, which helps with many functions in the body. In the case of sleep disturbances, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety from chronic issues. It helps to reduce cortisol levels, which are generally elevated with long term stress. With high cortisol, the body is unable to rest itself, hence unable to relax. By reducing cortisol levels and lowering one's anxiety it enables the body and the mind to relax and unwind, which in turn give one the ability to fall asleep. By throwing some melatonin into the mix the person is able to get some sound sleep.

Remember, sleep is very important to help our bodies build and repair itself, along with keeping our immune system strong to ward off infections and prevent other more serious diseases. These are the basic supplements to help sleep patterns, but for more serious issues please consult your natural health care practitioner.