can you do about insomnia?
Change Your Environment
bed - put a board under the mattress if it sags, or try putting your bed in a
different position. Make sure your bedding is clean and that you are warm
- if light troubles you use thicker curtains or putting a scarf or a sleep mask
over your eyes. If you feel more comfortable with a little light, leave the
curtains open a little or use a night light.
- a common cause of sleeplessness! Use earplugs if it's noise you can't do
anything about - or change your attitude towards it. People can sleep through
high levels of noise - it's not so much the level of noise but how you feel
about it that keeps you awake. Use relaxation exercises to calm yourself and
take your mind off it. Take some 'diplomatic action' - e.g. talking to noisy
neighbours. Keep a radio/tape player by your bed and use it to mask other noise.
And if noise from neighbours continues to be a serious problem - speak to
college authorities or the local Environmental Health Officer.
to bed only when you are feeling really tired and sleepy
you can't sleep, get up and only go back to bed when you're really sleepy again
a routine that gives you 7-8 hours sleep (though individual needs do vary)
you're a late sleeper, force yourself to get up earlier
mentally and physically for an hour before bedtime
a warm bath, do some yoga or take a light walk before turning in
Some things to avoid:
stimulants to keep you awake, or sedatives or alcohol to help you sleep
during the day no matter how tired you are
your bed for working, watching TV, eating, telephoning - i.e. waking activities
drinking or smoking when you get up during the night
too much towards the end of the evening
Some nutrients to
following are specific nutritional supplements known to aid sleep:
especially when contained in food such as milk, has a sedative effect on the
body. A calcium deficiency in the body causes restlessness and wakefulness. For
adults, doses of approximately 600 milligrams of liquid calcium have been shown
to have a relaxing effect.
in doses of approximately 250 milligrams, can help induce sleep. Magnesium
deficiency is responsible for nervousness that prevents sleep. Magnesium-rich
foods include kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, and
are known to have a sedative effect on the nerves.
supplements of 50 to 100 milligrams/day can help to prevent insomnia. A
tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast is an excellent Source of vitamin B6.
Stir it into a glass of juice.
is another important supplement for treating insomnia. 25 milligrams of vitamin
B12, supplemented with 100 milligrams of pantothenic
acid (B5) can serve as an effective anti-insomnia vitamin regimen. The
vitamin B5 is good for relieving stress. The best food sources of the B vitamins
are liver, whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, walnuts, peanuts, bananas, sunflower
seeds, and blackstrap molasses.
REM sleep. Take 100 mg daily, at bedtime.
is often effective for someone with a blood sugar problem that is keeping them
awake at nights. Brewer's yeast is a good source of Chromium. If you prefer
supplements, take 250 to 500 micro- grams twice a day.
(L-tryptophan), which is
an amino acid that plays a key role in the repair of protein tissues and in
creating new protein. In the brain, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a
natural sleep-inducing chemical. It also enhances the brain's ability to produce
melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body's natural inner clock. L-tryptophan
is found in foods such as milk and turkey. Tryptophan supplements were banned in
studies showed that L-tryptophan produces only modest effects in the treatment
of insomnia. Not everyone who takes it for this purpose experiences the results
they seek. People have to take relatively high doses of the substance (doses
less than 2,000 mg are generally not effective). More importantly, research
showed that L-tryptophan can reduce REM sleep while increasing the time spent in
is an amino acid that helps the brain regulate the amount of cortisone produced
by the adrenals. It is helpful for those who cannot sleep because of high
cortisone levels, usually induced by stress. Cortisone is usually at high levels
in the morning, for wakefulness. It is found to be high in people with high
stress at night that prevents them from sleeping.
is an important initiator of sleep. Our body makes serotonin from the amino acid
tryptophan. Taking tryptophan will raise serotonin levels and promote sleep.
Tryptophan is more effective for cases of sleep-onset insomnia, since its
greatest effect is to shorten the time required to get to sleep.
There is plenty of tryptophan in milk, which is why a hot milky drink last
thing at night is a great nightcap. see, Mother's advice was right all along.
There is plenty of tryptophan in milk, which is why a hot milky drink last thing at night is a great nightcap. see, Mother's advice was right all along.
effective than tryptophan is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a form of tryptophan
that is one step closer to serotonin administration. 5-HTP has also been found,
in several double-blind clinical studies, to decrease the time required to get
to sleep and to decrease the number of awakenings. To increase the sedative
effects of 5-HTP, take it with a food high in carbohydrate such as fruit or
fruit juice near bedtime.
increases the REM sleep by about twenty-five percent while simultaneously
increasing deep-sleep Stages 3 and 4, without increasing total sleep time.
is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin B., niacin, and magnesium
when using 5-HTP, as these nutrients serve as essential cofactors in the
conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin.
is a hormone secreted naturally by the pineal gland. Melatonin is the sleep
hormone. It is said to induce sleep without any negative side effects. Melatonin
is secreted mainly at night. Melatonin is found naturally in plants and in
several studies, supplementation with melatonin has been found helpful in
inducing and maintaining sleep in both children and adults, for both people with
normal sleep patterns and those suffering from insomnia. It is also useful in
banishing jet lag.
it appears that the sleep- promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent only
if a person's melatonin levels are low. In other words, taking melatonin is not
like taking a sleeping pill or even 5-HTP. It will only produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low.
Melatonin appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, as
low melatonin levels are common in this age group.
More about Insomnia
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