This blog is an extension of our two other blogs on sleep, How does a good night sleep keep your heart healthy? And Why getting enough sleep is vital…please read these two blogs first for great healthy sleep tips.
This is an extract taken from cardiologist Jack Wolfson and his book The Paleo Cardiologist.
Several studies show magnesium can improve sleep quality and reduce nocturnal awakenings. Along with contributing to a good night’s sleep, this nutrient helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.
A hormone that regulates the normal sleep/wake cycle, melatonin is useful as an occasional sleep aid, and is especially effective against jet lag. According to research, the body naturally produces melatonin after the sun goes down, letting us know it’s time to fall asleep.
Supplemental melatonin assists with this process. Cherries appear to boost melatonin. Take 60-90 minutes before sleep.
An amino-acid derivative found in green tea, theanine is known to trigger release in the brain of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter, which promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety. Unfortunately, the body has difficulty absorbing GABA, which is the reason experts recommending theanine. This is easily absorbed and boosts levels of GABA. Avoid green tea after 3pm.
Many experts recommend this herb to reduce the amount of time it takes to nod off. According to the NIH, valerian has sedative properties, and it may increase amount of GABA.
A compound derived from the amino acid L-tryptophan, 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter essential for a good night’s sleep. A small 2009 study of eighteen people found those who took a product containing 5-HTP needed less time to fall asleep, slept longer, and reported improved sleep quality.
Aromatherapy with a couple sprays of lavender oil has many proponents. Several patients of mine are fans of this herb.
7. Chamomile Tea
Most people find any herbal tea to be soothing at bedtime, but chamomile is known to work very well.
8. Lemon Balm
In one study of people with minor sleep problems, 81% of those who took an herbal combination of valerian and lemon balm reported sleeping much better than those who took a placebo.
9. Phenibut (ß-Phenyl-y-aminobutyric acid)
Phenibut is similar to GABA, but easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, allowing for better efficacy. This is a prescription drug in Russia. Phenibut should be used under the guidance of a physician, as it can be addictive.
10. B vitamins
B12 as methylcobalamin and folate (B9) as methylfolate are critical for neurotransmitter formation (and many other functions). The vast majority of vitamins contain the cheap forms of B12 as cyanocobalamin and folate as folic acid. These synthetic variants do not work well in our bodies, given 50% of the population contain a genetic defect in methylation. Make sure you know your methylation genetics. Check with your natural doctor for dosing on B vitamins.
Your best bet is to speak with a natural doctor and see what supplements are right for you.
Let’s now look at two blogs that will help you get a gold star sleep