OK In Health - For the Health of It

Don’t Let Sleep Slip Away - May 2020

By David Dixon, Summerland, BC

girl feeling very tired

Sleep is a determinant in health, especially in today’s stressful lifestyle.  Many practitioners believe that all dis-eases stem from one type of stress or another.  Physical stresses can be just as devastating as emotional and when the two are combined it is not surprising that people have difficulty in sleeping.  The body is so agitated that it will not slow down and relax enough to allow sleep to arrive…or at least, remain for very long.

Once we determine that stress is playing at least a part in our sleeplessness, we can decide which route to take to help alleviate it.

Often, people come to me, asking for melatonin.  While it can be very beneficial for some people, it is definitely not the substance of choice for others.  I’ll explain.

Since hormones such as melatonin are so easily thrown off balance, I generally do not suggest taking some to encourage sleep. Besides, if it is not melatonin that one lacks, then taking it orally will not show much improvement – if any. We need to first look at lifestyle and stress levels before jumping the proverbial gun.  Once we have better dealt with the stresses of the day, we are usually better able to relax enough to drift off to sleep…and remain asleep until morning.

Adrenal fatigue usually sets in with an abundance of stresses and needs to be addressed before the person can expect a good, sound sleep.  What helps to nourish the adrenals? I knew you’d ask.  Specifically, Vitamin B-5 (a.k.a. Pantothenic acid) is highly beneficial in reducing adrenal fatigue, as are Siberian Ginseng, Licorice and the B-Complex Vitamins.  They all help to better nourish the adrenal glands (little guys that sit atop the kidneys).

One way to determine whether the adrenals are fatigued (aside from a lack of sleep) is to see if a person jumps – literally – and is instantly startled whenever there is a sudden, loud noise.  Awakening each morning, feeling as though sleep never took place is yet another way to determine the adrenals require a little…shall we say encouragement.

When the hormonal balance is considerably off, as is the case with teens and those going through other life changes, sleep tends to stay far away and remains very elusive.  Those tiny little hormones can throw most everything off-kilter, including moods, weight, sleep, etc. (Look for more details concerning them in a future article here, at OK in Health.)

So, you have determined that your life has become filled with various stresses yet don’t know where to begin to tone them down or where you should even begin. I suggest – first and foremost – that you consider taking the B-Vitamins.  A word of caution, however: Whenever B-Vitamins are taken, it is strongly advised that this be done with food.  Taking the B-Vitamins on an empty stomach can be physically upsetting, even producing nausea.  (This could tend to make matters even worse, especially if you are already feeling stressed.) The B-Vitamins are helpful when it comes to metabolizing our foods as well, so for that reason alone, it is a good idea to consume them with meals.

Back to melatonin:  Everybody’s body produces it.  Some manufacture far less than their body requires; others have sufficient amounts to do the job. One of the ways to ensure that you are producing sufficient amounts of melatonin is to sleep in a dark room.  Not a relatively dark room, but one that is void of any light whatsoever.  This is the recipe for melatonin production and, just like one for a cake, for example, it requires all components in just the right amount.  In this case, the darkest of rooms is necessary to end up with the best production of melatonin. Give the body the raw material it needs and it manufactures what it requires to survive in optimal fashion.

There are plenty of possible natural options when it comes to sleep aids.  For example, homeopathic solutions for reducing stress levels also assist many people in relaxing enough to drift off. And in the morning: no hangover...unlike melatonin for some folks. One of the natural, homeopathic-strength remedies that I have found to be very useful was originally taken to alleviate “restless legs”.  You know, when you are trying to relax and drift off to sleep, your legs have dancing in mind. Because these aforementioned are in homeopathic (more details to follow in subsequent article here) strength, they can be taken in relative ease, knowing that taking several will not put you “over the edge” and cause a life-threatening situation to arise. 

I have experienced dancing legs, whilst attempting to sleep (usually when I have become over-tired) and, after popping some Mag. Phos. (Magnesium Phosphate) tablets have drifted off both quickly and easily. A combination of calcium and magnesium has been beneficial for many people who could not, otherwise, fall asleep.

An oversimplification regarding the function of the aforementioned minerals – calcium and magnesium – is that: calcium helps muscles to contract (rather important for anyone who wishes to move at all), while magnesium allows those muscles to relax. Because minerals are so often teammates, they act synergistically or as a team, thus, taking them together does have its benefits.

Generally though, the body must be able to relax before it is able to allow sleep to happen.  Getting to the core or source of your stress can be highly beneficial but is not always possible.  We don’t always know exactly why we are stressed and sometimes are not even aware that we are. Masking the symptom can be helpful in improving one’s health (in this case, the inability to sleep) …not to mention improving one’s moods.

Because sleep is so important, it is advisable to take even the most drastic measures to help attain it on a fairly regular basis. This could mean going to the pharmacy and resorting to prescription medicine.  In any case, whatever works is a good idea when it comes to sleep; it’s that important to our health.

Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacy before taking any supplements especially when on prescription medicine.

David DixonDavid's Bio: For over 40 years, Dave Dixon has been a devout Vegetarian. During this time frame, he has become certified as a Nutritional Consultant, worked as a Fitness Trainer, a certified Reflexologist, Deep Muscle Therapist as well as Quantum Biofeedback Practitioner. Note: David has moved from Summerland, BC. - Email

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