Sleep

All of us love a good night’s sleep. When we are young, sleep comes easily and is “sound”. As we age, our sleeping patterns start to change. The change occurs slowly and is caused by many different reasons; some health and some lifestyle. Some of the disturbed sleep can be remedied naturally by adding supplements and changing night time behavior.

I started to have interrupted sleep when I was in my mid 40’s. I was worried and anxious about a problem and let it take over my night thoughts. I love sleep and find I don’t do well without it, so I had to find ways to help myself naturally sleep. I didn’t want to be dependent on sleeping pills for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to go around sleep deprived either. I looked for natural answers but first I had to pin point what was causing my sleep problem. I learned that there are 3 basic categories describing a sleep problem. One is that you have trouble falling asleep. Another is that you have trouble staying asleep and the last is that you wake too early; therefore you don’t get enough sleep.

I went to my doctor, who has a more natural approach, and told him about not sleeping well. He took a blood test and found that my hormones were off balance. Adding a simple hormone at night helped me right away. I also learned that there were other natural supplements like amino acids and herbs that help with sleep.

I encourage you to talk to your doctor but here are some of the supplements that I found can help you get a good night’s sleep. Talk these over with your doctor to see if any are right for you.

Valerian is a relaxing herb. So is chamomile, which also has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties. They are both light sleeping aids that help you relax naturally.

Then there are amino acids that can be used to help you sleep soundly. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that can help you get a sound sleep where you wake up with less difficulty. It can help stimulate serotonin levels, which is a major chemical in your brain. It promotes a bright mood, relaxed mind and a restful sleep… Sounds great to me!

L-Theanine is another amino acid (also called Glutamine) and is found in green and black tea. It has been reported to have soothing qualities that can promote sleep through relaxation not sedation. Some beverage companies in other countries are adding theanine to their drinks.

5-HTP is another supplement people use to help them sleep. The body uses it to make serotonin which can decrease with age. It may appear to increase the duration of REM sleep by more than 40%.

Glycine may help lower the core body temperature and calm neurons where they are not as active. 

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland found in the brain. Melatonin has become very popular in helping people get to sleep as it may regulate circadian rhythms.

I personally find that I rotate these amino acids for them to be more effective for me. If i take one supplement for too long, I find that my body seems to get “used to it”. If you combine taking relaxing supplements with some lifestyle changes, you may find that you fall asleep more easily and wake up in the morning refreshed instead of tired. One is not to eat anything too late in the evening as the body has to work to digest the food in your stomach instead of focusing on restoring the body while sleeping. Also, turn off all lights and make your bedroom a tranquil place with no stimulation (like a desk and phone). We should rename bedrooms sleeping chambers so all other work is done in another room and sleeping is the main focus in your “sleeping chamber”. some people like it very quiet when they sleep and others love white noise. Find out what works for you and I hope you start to have a more restful, relaxing sleep.