here's what you can do...
Volume II Number 20 Special Edition
Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved
Everybody's likely to experience insomnia sometime - so learn the three options below so you can be prepared and not 'lose sleep over it.'
Not being able to sleep is a lonely experience. There you are in the dark, and even if someone else is sleeping next to you, they can't help you. So the longer you can't sleep, the more likely you are to feel, not just frustrated, but isolated as well.
But you're not really alone in your misery:
(Source: 2008 [US]. Princeton, NJ; Consumer Health Sciences; June 2008.)
Still, that's not very comforting. What is wanted is not companionship in misery, but the sweet relief of sleep!
That's why many people turn to prescription drugs. Currently the most popular one is Ambien -its active ingredient is Zolpidem tartrate in a tablet with other chemicals: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose (milk sugar), magnesium stearate, micro-crystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, sodium starch glycolate and titanium dioxide. The 5 mg tablet also contains a chemical food die and colorant, FD&C Red No. 40, iron oxide colorant and polysorbate 80.
Its possible side effects are listed as: allergy, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, drugged feeling, headache, indigestion, nausea, unusual changes in thinking and/or behavior and memory loss, including 'traveler's amnesia' when taken for an overnight flight of less than 7-8 hours. Older adults are cautioned that they may be more apt to fall, and people with breathing problems may notice worsening of symptoms.Discontinuing too rapidly may provoke withdrawal symptoms including vomiting and cramps.
Is ingesting this chemical soup and being exposed to these side effects the only way to get a decent night's sleep? Absolutely not. People have been using non-chemical, yet effective sleep aids probably since the world began.
Here are some approaches to deal with insomnia that are free of side effects and/ or chemicals. As you consider them, we suggest you identify what kind of sleep disturbance you've needed help with in the past, and select/ have on hand some of these way to deal with it before it happens again. Loosing sleep is no laughing matter - that's when your body heals, renews, refreshes and rebuilds. Miss too much sleep and your body will literally fall apart.
1. Reverse Sympathetic Dominance
Just like every human, you have two parts to your nervous system. One is the voluntary part - it responds to your commands, such as to pick up a pencil or a glass of water, for example. The other is the involuntary part - it runs your body without your having to think about it. It makes you breathe automatically, makes your heart beat, processes food through your metabolic cycle, handles elimination. This second, involuntary part has two modes of operation, and this is the part that can make for trouble falling asleep or even a whole sleepless night or series of them.
The two parts of your automatic, or involuntary nervous system are called sympathetic and parasympathetic. In the first, the sympathetic, your body's geared for an emergency. It's putting out the signal to man the lifeboats, or to run from the lion. It puts all your available energy into your survival systems - increasing your heart rate, pumping lots of blood through your system to get the resources into your muscles.
But sweet sleep doesn't come from that system, it comes from the parasympathetic system, which is the automatic rest, recover, repair and heal mode. And it doesn't matter what your conscious brain is saying... you can give thousands of orders to your body to go to sleep... if the sympathetic system is activated for whatever reason, you can lie in the dark all night and your automatic system is still acting as if it should run from the lion.
What this means is that if you want to sleep, you need to find and eliminate the causes of sympathetic dominance. One of the most effective and immediate ways to do this is to consume minerals that leave an alkaline ash when metabolized, because those are the minerals the nervous system uses in the recovery phase after firing.
Say you've had a particularly stressful day and you can feel your nerves are on edge. It may be many hours since your last cup of coffee or caffeine tea, but you feel like you've just had some. That's the time to replenish those particular minerals - otherwise you might just be looking at a sleepless night.
These minerals are readily available in kelp and alfalfa, and can be taken as a tea. We also use MinTran (a Standard Process product) because it contains exactly those minerals. Get them into your circulation and you can actually feel your body calming down, your breathing deepen, your heart rate slow as you enjoy a big sigh of relief.
2. Reduce/ Eliminate Circulating Cortisol
When you're stressed, even if it's a wonderful stress, your body circulates an adrenal hormone called cortisol. If sympathetic dominance is the involuntary priority list of your body, then cortisol is the messenger that circulates the orders to keep manning the lifeboats and running from the lion. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that sleep is likely to remain elusive with lots of cortisol circulating. The solution, of course, is to break down the cortisol right away, and get the levels down so your body quits getting those hormonal orders. This job falls to your liver.
Supplements that aid this process so it can be carried out quickly include Magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids and certain food enzyme products that help the liver break it down.
3. Keep Sleep-Promoting Supplements on Hand
Certain supplements carry a reputation for promoting relaxation and sleep. Some of these are available as drops, as pills or as teas. Before you purchase a supply, be sure to check and make sure they are suitable for your unique situation, including whether or not you are pregnant or lactating or whether they might interact with any other medications/ supplements you are taking.
RNA - If your insomnia might be due to jet lag or an otherwise disturbed diurnal cycle, consider giving your brain the exact nutrition it needs to reset your diurnal cycle quickly and easily. The handy part of using this supplement is that if it's daytime and you're feeling tired, you can take 4 or 5 to help you wake up and get with the daytime program. And if you can't sleep, you're wide awake and it's night time, 4 or 5 will help your brain realize it's time to sleep. It's not a sedative or hypnotic - instead, it's feeding your brain what it needs to reset itself to be in synch with the rhythms of day and night as they're actually occurring.
Here are a few of the time-tested herbal favorites:
Chamomile - excellent for promoting sleep, very soothing to the nerves, helps transform restlessness and irritability into calm and
Valarian - is the herbal model for later anti-anxiety medications such as Librium and Valium. It works on the nervous system especially at the juncture where the nerves fire into the muscles. Thus it promotes muscle relaxation, and therefore is especially helpful when inability to sleep is related to restlessness.
Hops - has a long history of being used to promote sleep - even put in pillows. Especially good for insomnia due to nerve weakness and worry.
California Poppy - is considered to be the 'go to' herb practitioners use for nerve pain. Therefore it is the perfect herb when sleeplessness is the result of nervous overstimulation, anxiety and pain.
Lavender - is considered to be a strengthening tonic for the nervous system, and a stronger nervous system is able to adjust more easily from 'run from the lion mode' to 'rest, recover and heal' mode.
Passion flower - especially helpful when sleeplessness is the result of overwork and nervous exhaustion.
Kava kava - Used especially throughout the South Seas, including Fiji, as a sedative to promote sleep and dreaming.
Skullcap - There are two kinds of Skullcap. American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) has been used since the founding of the United States to promote relaxation and sleep. Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is also used to reduce nervousness, distress and irritation.
St. John's Wort -has been helpful to people with chronic insomnia when related to depression and possible low serotonin levels.
As you get your sleep difficulties in order, you will be contributing to a better world for everyone, and you will also be contributing to lower health care costs. It's estimated that sleep problems cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year in doctor visits alone, and that's not counting all the costs from lower productivity, motor vehicle accidents and failed relationships.
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