Insomnia is our nation's silent health crisis. Almost half of all adults
report having difficulty sleeping, but less than 10 percent discuss the
issue with their doctor. Almost everyone has suffered from temporary
insomnia due to stress, overeating, or consuming stimulants before bed and
knows how draining and exhausting sleep loss can be. But people who have
chronic insomnia-a consistent inability to go to sleep or to sty asleep
through the night-are at risk for far more than fatigue. Sleep deficiency
suppresses the immune system and the libido, decreases productivity, and
can lead to other disorders like depression, chronic fatigue, heart
disease, and headaches.
Before the use of electric lighting, the average American got nine hours of
sleep a night. Now the average is less than seven hours and still going
down, as the distractions of twenty-four hour shopping and entertainment
becomes more widespread. How much sleep is enough? It has become
fashionable to proclaim a need for very little sleep. However, studies
involving mental function show that most adults do best with eight hours;
some may need as many as nine or even ten. Children and teens need more
sleep than adults do, and older people often find that they simply sleep
less than they used to. If you nod off to sleep very quickly-within five
minutes of putting your head on the pillow-or if you feel an urge to nap
during the day, you probably need more sleep than you're getting.
Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of insomnia, but
physiological factors often play a significant role as well. Stimulants,
heavy metals, chronic pain, and breathing problems can keep you from
sleeping, as can many medications and disorders.
Sleep apnea affects 5 percent of adults, but most of them will never be
diagnosed. During this condition, a person repeatedly stops breathing
during the night and wakes up to catch his or her breath. The two
consequences of this are a significant drop in the blood's oxygen and
severe sleep deprivation. Be suspicious of this condition if you snore,
have daytime sleepiness, have high blood pressure, or are overweight. This
condition is best identified during a sleep study that your doctor can
order. The recommendations in this section-especially the dietary ones-may
help to treat sleep apnea. Weight loss can be an important component, as
can avoiding sleeping on your back. One standard treatment is a C-pap
machine, which involves a mask that is kept over your face while you sleep.
It keeps constant pressure in the airway so that it does not collapse.
Orthodontic devices that keep the lower jaw and the tongue forward are
sometimes useful. In rare cases, extremely large tonsils or abnormalities
in the throat structure may need to be surgically corrected.
Restless leg syndrome is a disorder characterized by unusual or painful
sensations in the legs, accompanied by an irresistible urge to move the
legs. It's often brought on by rest and occurs most often in the evening.
If can produce difficulty falling asleep. Many studies have shown that
restless leg sufferers have low or low-normal iron levels. Iron
supplementation has helped many people, but three months of treatment is
usually needed before improvement is noted.
Hormone imbalance can be a root cause of insomnia. This can involve several
different hormones. It is common for many women experiencing menopause to
develop insomnia. This is generally due to changes in estrogen and
progesterone levels. The obvious solution is to follow a hormone-balancing
program. Likewise, younger women with premenstrual syndrome can experience
the same. In addition, low or hyper functioning thyroid can interfere with
sleep. We also find that elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol
interfere with deep REM sleep, which studies confirm. It is not uncommon to
find seniors with deficiencies in DHEA, testosterone, and growth hormone,
which can be underlying causes as well. The sleep hormone melatonin can
work wonders in selected cases, when supplemented correctly.
If you suffer from insomnia, you may find that the gentle treatments in
this section help you get a good night's sleep. If they don't, talk to your
doctor. He or she should review your general health and may also refer you
to a sleep disorder specialist. It is not recommended, under any
circumstance, that you take over-the-counter sleeping aids. They do not
promote deep, restful sleep, and they may also create any of several side
effects, including depression, confusion, and dry mouth. Worse, they can be
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help
The Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch,
M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1
- LifeSource Product
Take 100 to 200 mg one hour before bedtime. This
supplement promotes serotonin production in the brain
for relaxation. Do not use if you are currently taking
Super Prescription #2
– LifeSource Product
Take 0.3 to 0.5 mg one hour before bedtime. This
hormone promotes sleep. It is best used on a short-term
basis or under a doctor's supervision.
Super Prescription #3 Passionflower (Passiflora
Take 500 mg or 1 to 2 ml a half hour before bedtime.
Passionflower is a great sleep aid that relaxes the
nervous system and does not cause drowsiness in the
Super Prescription #4
Take 600 mg or 2 ml a half hour before bedtime. Several
studies show valerian to be effective for insomnia.
Note: A small percentage of users may notice a
stimulating effect from valerian.
Super Prescription #5
Calcium / Magnesium
LifeSource Products -
See All of our Cal/Mag Products. Take 600 mg of calcium
and 300 mg of magnesium each evening. Both minerals
help relax the nervous system. Some people have better
results taking one of the minerals alone in the evening
and the other earlier in the day. Experiment to see
what works better for you. Combo comes in all
LifeSource calcium products.
Super Prescription # 6 Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Take 500 mg or 1 to 2 ml a half hour before bedtime.
Hops is a nervine that relaxes the nervous system.
Super Prescription #7
- LifeSource Products Take 1,000 mcg
of our sublingual form daily. This vitamin is more
commonly deficient in seniors.
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studies for Insomnia
· Inability to sleep or to sleep through the night
· Stimulants, including caffeine, decongestants, and thyroid medications
Lack of exercise
Restless leg syndrome
· Hormonal changes (e.g. menopause)
· Vitamin deficiencies (e.g. B12, iron)
· Breathing disorders, including asthma and sleep apnea
· Other disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia
At dinner, eat foods that are high in tryptophan, a chemical that
stimulates serotonin, which in turn helps you sleep. Turkey, chicken, tuna,
soy products, live unsweetened yogurt, and whole-grain crackers are all
good, low-sugar sources.
Complex carbohydrates are also relaxing, so incorporate whole grains,
especially brown rice or pasta, into your dinners.
This book does not generally recommend dairy products, aside from yogurt,
but a glass of milk before bedtime is a time-honored sleep aid. Try this
only if you do not have a sensitivity or an allergy to dairy products.
Deficiencies of calcium and magnesium can lead to insomnia. Be sure your
diet is high in leafy greens, sesame and sunflower seeds, oats, almonds,
The B-vitamins are also essential for good sleep. Brewer's yeast is the
best source. Sprinkle it on your dinner salad or add a teaspoon to a
bedtime glass of water or a green drink.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours so you won't wake up at
night with a dry mouth. Have your last glass two hours before bedtime, or
you'll be up for other reasons.
Foods to Avoid
The first rule for insomniacs is to monitor caffeine intake strenuously. Do
not have any products containing caffeine-such as coffee, black tea, or
chocolate-for eight hours before you go to sleep.
Drink alcohol only in moderation, and don't have any within two hours of
going to bed. While a drink might make you feel drowsy, the alcohol only
disrupts the deep, late-night sleep that is so crucial to rest. If you have
a chronic problem with insomnia, avoid alcohol completely.
Food allergies or sensitivities disrupt sleep for some people. Identify
possible offending foods.
Sugar is another common culprit in insomnia. After lunchtime, avoid sugary
foods, even sweet fruits. Chocolate, with its double whammy of sugar and
caffeine, should be considered an enemy of the sleep-deprived.
· Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of serotonin and other
neurotransmitters that promote sleep. Take 50 mg daily.
· Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) relaxes the nervous system. Drink a
fresh cup of tea in the evening or take 300 mg of the capsule form.
· Saint-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum) acts as a nerve tonic and can
ease mild cases of depression and related insomnia. Take 900 mg daily of a
0.3 percent hypericin extract. Do not take Saint-John's-wort if you are on
medication for depression.
Bruce Brightman – founder
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As always, consult your physician before taking any and all
LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
All the information contained throughout this website is based upon the
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