Do you need help with your sleep?
It seems that a great percentage of the population have difficulties with their sleep. This is a challenge because sleep is fundamental to our health and happiness. Adequate sleep is essential for feeling good and to me, nothing is more important than feeling good. Sleep is also essential for sustaining life and ensuring the survival of our species – this is a pretty important outcome of adequate sleep.
We need optimal sleep for:
- Nervous system function (e.g. readjustment of the level and distribution of neurotransmitters).
- Neuro-immuno-endocrine regulation
- Anti-stress reactions
- Emotional soothing
- Immune function
- Growth and repair
- Learning and memory
GETTING TO SLEEP
Adenosine is the most effective natural medicine that I have come across for initiating sleep. It is the A out of ATP. It works by attaching to adenosine receptors in the brain and this causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. It has a role in cognition, memory and in neuronal maturation and it can also help to prevent neuronal damage and degeneration. For example: in the event of a brain trauma such as stroke, adenosine can reduce the harmful effects of excess glutamate. However, it needs to be administered as soon as possible after the stroke to be effective. Henry Osiecki developed supplemental adenosine for his father after he had suffered from a stroke.
Adenosine needs be taken sublingually so that it gets straight into the blood stream and can attach to receptors in the brain quickly. This is important because it only acts for 30 to 60 seconds. So you need to take it just as you are going to sleep. It also needs to be taken away from protein because other amino acids can compete with it. Adenosine is also very effective for anxiety and panic. Unfortunately it tastes like unpleasant chalk but it can be dipped in honey to improve compliance. Adenosine is contraindicated in pregnancy.
Glutamine (plus the co-factors activated B6, taurine and zinc) are very effective in helping to prolong sleep. These nutrients are particularly helpful for people who wake at 3 or 4 in the morning or who wake constantly throughout the night. I have even used pre-gaba successfully to help patients whose sleep is interrupted by vivid dreams. These nutrients work by increasing the production of GABA, which inhibits the firing of cells involved in wakefulness. Nutrients which increase GABA are also helpful for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks, but adenosine is more powerful in its effect.
And supplemental GABA is now available from Innovative Therapies. You need to have this prescribed by your practitioner.
HELPING WITH CHILDREN’S SLEEP
At Light Chiropractic and Wellness we have found glutamine powder to be very effective for improving the sleep of children. Please contact me for more information.
Adenosine, Pre-Gaba and Glutamine Powder are all practitioner only supplements that should only be prescribed by a qualified practitioner. Please call 96605055 if you would like to book a consultation with me to address your sleep challenges.
MELATONIN (only available via prescription in Australia)
Melatonin is also brilliant for improving sleep. It is the hormone secreted by the pineal gland as you sleep. It plays an important role in restorative sleep and in synchronising your body’s rhythms. It is also very helpful for jet lag. Melatonin promotes more restful sleep (both getting to sleep and staying asleep). It is only available in Australia via prescription from your doctor.
THE ROLE OF SUNSHINE
Sunshine is also essential for optimal mood because it aids the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin via the pineal gland. In darkness tryptophan is converted into into melatonin. This is why it is essential to sleep in a very dark room. A sleep mask can also be helpful for improving sleep. In fact I had one patient who had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep and all her sleep problems were alleviated when she installed blackout curtains in her bedroom. Early morning sunshine helps to promote melatonin production at night, which will help to improve sleep quality and quantity.
Sunshine is also essential for the production of vitamin D, which has a regulating effect on hormone production (in particular the sex hormones, which have an enormous effect on mood. Oestrogen boosts mood in women and testosterone boosts mood in men). Vitamin D also regulates calcium and this is needed for neurotransmitter release.
The latest research has found that it is important to get sunlight in the middle of the day for optimal vitamin D production. 5-15 minutes will be adequate depending on your skin colour (but make sure you avoid getting burnt).
GENERAL SLEEP RECOMMENDATIONS
- Try to get 7.5 (+/- 1) hours sleep each night (this varies between individuals).
- It is best to sleep between 11pm and 7 am (this is the time in the circadian rhythm that we naturally feel most sleepy).
- It is best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (so that you can regulate your body clock). This will help you to get into a better sleep cycle and you will get better quality sleep.
- If you have a very late night, it is better to sleep in and have 7.5 (+/- 1) hours sleep. Sleep deprivation will have more of a negative effect than affecting your circadian rhythm.
- Make sure that your room is dark (this will enable your body to produce melatonin, which will help you to fall asleep).
- Be in a low light environment before bed (to increase melatonin production).
- If you have a nap in the day, make sure it is not more than 1 hour (so that you don’t affect yourevening sleep). The best time of the day to nap is between 2 and 4 pm.
- Avoid drinking coffee or tea after 2 pm.
- Avoid watching TV before bed.
- Eat light meals at night.
- Increase your daytime exposure to sunlight or full spectrum light, in the morning.
With love, light and appreciation