I wasn't sure where the best palce to post this, so I put it under "General"....Looking for something natural to use as a sleep aid. If I don't take something, I don't sleep at all. I am currently taking Lunesta, which enables me to go to sleep with in 30 minutes or so, & sleep for 5 to 6 hours, but I really don't like taking a prescription drug, forever....does anyone know of anything that works & doesn't leave you with a "hangover" the next day?
I think you would first require withdrawal from whatever drug you're taking. Plan it for a weekend or some period when it won't matter whether you had a good sleep or not.
Assuming you take your drug before sleeping at night, and you start on Friday night, don't take any drug Friday and for the rest of the weekend. If you don't sleep, no problem (if you won't be doing any important work on Saturday and Sunday). Enjoy your wakefulness by doing something. Point is, don't even try to sleep if you don't get sleepy without the drug. You need to withdraw from your reliance on the drug. Taking coffee or tea in this weekend (if you're not a drinker of these) might help excrete the drug with its diuretic action. Drink more water, too.
For the whole weekend, don't take any drug and just sleep when you feel like it. You may want to fight sleep if you feel sleepy in the day, but definitely, don't force yourself to sleep at night if you're not sleepy. Just find something else to do if you don't feel sleepy naturally. The most important part for you is to withdraw dependence on any drug, and there's no shortcut but to stop outright and just follow your body on whether it gets sleepy or not.
One thing you might do while you're awake is learn EFT:
Get to download the free manuals (click on "Free EFT Manual & More" yellow button at the top of the page) and study how to apply this simple procedure. Once you learn it, it's one tool you can use to solve your sleeping problem! :wink: It takes less than 3 minutes to apply, even if the manuals seem a lot of reading.
When I use EFT (for some other condition) I notice that a sign of its effect is that the subject starts yawning and can easily go to sleep. What more if it is applied specifically to induce sleep?
Some other aids:
1. Listen to the largo sections (60 beats a minute) of Baroque music (Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, etc.). These induce alpha brain wave state, and can induce relaxation, if not sleep. The most effective I find for myself is the last movement of Bach's Goldberg variations. But largo movements from Vivaldi's Four Season's and Guitar Concertos are also effective. There are also largo moves in some flute music. It's a matter of personal choice. The important thing is the beat: 60 (or less) beats a minute.
2. When getting to sleep take deep, slow breaths, and keep count, aiming to do 100. (I'm usually asleep before I even reach 20, or else I lose count.) Doing EFT will also help.
3. Do lots of brain work. Study anything new -- language, mathematics, calculus, chemistry, history, etc. -- something you didn't know about before. I notice that need for sleep is greatest when the brain has been made to do lots of work.
4. Avoid physical activity/exercise before the time you like to sleep. It might help if your exercise is mainly in the morning. Of course, avoiding other stimulants like coffee or tea should also help.
5. Learn and apply progressive relaxation. As you lie on bed to sleep, be aware and consciously relax your body parts, starting with legs and working your way up. You may find that tensing the part first can help induce relaxation, but just apply what would make you relax each body part. Make sure your shoulderand neck muscles also relax, as well as your face and eyelids. Combine this with deep breathing and you can have a sure sleep inducer.
6. Apply visualization. Throughout the day, visualize yourself falling asleep when sleeping time comes later. See yourself as someone who easily gets to sleep without need for using drugs. Visualize yourself relaxing into sleep and leaving tensions away from your sleep time.
I know there are herbal preparations that might help, but I think it's just substituting for drugs. Better to develop sleep habits instead of reliance on drugs or herbs.
"Walnuts are said to be the richest dietary source of the compound serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that provides two particularly desirable effects. First, it promotes feelings of relaxation and well being. Second, it gives a feeling of satiety, that is, it makes you feel less hungry and gives you a feeling of being full and satisfied. Walnuts can help you lower your cholesterol levels, lose weight, fight depression, and sleep better...
You can make a sleep-inducing "serotonin shake" (or walnut milk) simply by blending 1/8 to 1/4 cup of walnuts with an equal amount of skim milk about 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. For even greater benefits, you could also include a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds and/or raw sunflower seeds, a tablespoon of lecithin granules, and a dash of powdered cinnamon and vanilla extract. The walnuts alone will do the trick, but you can experiment a little with the other items to come up with your own personal formula." - Dr. David Williams, Alternatives, November 2001.
Whey powder might be a good addition to your "serotonin shake". Research indicates that eating whey protein increases the availability of tryptophan in the brain, which in turn increases serotonin. - Am J Clin Nutr 00;71(6):1536-44, Am J Clin Nutr 02;75(6):1051-6.
I was already seeking another way to get the proper sleep at night & get off of the Lunesta that I have been taking for the past four months. I recieved the newsletter from Best Plls-Worst Pills & it is on the list of "don't take" pills. It is siad to have caused Cancer in animal testing. Has anyone heard anything about this. Makes me even more determined to get off of it & find another way to sleep. I did not take it last night & I feel like I have been run over by a truck today!
The only good thing about Lunesta, is their TV ads.
The butterflies look pretty
Gerry's suggestion about Progressive Relaxation is a great
I also agree w/his idea of going without the drug,
starting w/a weekend. IF you don't go to sleep, please try
not to worry about NOT sleeping. I was told years ago
when I had my insomnia problems, that "NO ONE EVER
DIED FROM LACK OF SLEEP."
Mike's suggestions of Walnuts and Whey powder sound good too.
BTW, IF you are really a Gemini, you may find it hard to turn off your active mind to relax properly.
Again, Good Luck - been there done that!
May you always have..Love to Share, Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!
homeopathy. Good constitutional treatment permanently cures many cases of insomnia. (it did it for me!)
homeopathic combination remedies found in healthfood stores. Will not provide a permanent cure but can help on a day to day basis and may eventually help restore normal sleep patterns.
homeopathic Coffea 200c one dose every 15 - 20 minutes until sleep comes.
homeopathic passsionflower 200c same dosage as above. Try the coffea first.
Melatonin up to 10mg 30 minutes before sleep. Start with 1mg and work up finding the right dosage for you. You will also get many other great benefits from melatonin.
The supplement 5HTP
Here's a little blurb on tryptophan that I googled. (hey! google is now an official verb in Webster's!)
(note the article says that the FDA banned it. This banning is irrational as the toxic tryptophan came about due to poor manufacturing practice. Unfortunate as it was, since the error has been corrected, no incidents have occured and this free amino acid is available in other countries and can still be purchased over the net. Just another jab by the FDA to halt effective alternative treatment and keep people on cancer causing Lunesta!)
Turkey does have the makings of a natural sedative in it, an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning that the body cannot manufacture it. The body has to get tryptophan and other essential amino acids from food. Tryptophan helps the body produce the B-vitamin niacin, which, in turn, helps the body produce serotonin, a remarkable chemical that acts as a calming agent in the brain and plays a role in sleep. So you might think that if you eat a lot of turkey, your body would produce more serotonin and you would feel calm and want a nap.
That was the conclusion that led many people to begin taking a dietary supplement of tryptophan in the 1980s as a way to treat insomnia, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned tryptophan supplements in 1990 because of an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia, a syndrome that causes muscle pain and even death. The FDA said contaminated tryptophan supplements caused the outbreak.
But nutritionists and other experts say that the tryptophan in turkey probably won't trigger the body to produce more serotonin because tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. The tryptophan in a Thanksgiving turkey has to vie with all the other amino acids that the body is trying to use. So only part of the tryptophan makes it to the brain to help produce serotonin.
It is the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal that can produce that after-dinner lethargy. The meal is quite often heavy and high in carbohydrates -- from mashed potatoes, bread, stuffing and pie -- and your body is working hard to digest that food. Also, if you drink alcohol with your dinner, you will likely feel its sedative effect, too.
There is a way to take advantage of the tryptophan in turkey. If you have trouble getting to sleep one night while there is still leftover turkey in the refrigerator, you could have a late snack of turkey and that, nutritionists say, might be the right amount of tryptophan on an empty stomach to help produce some serotonin.
Click on B-6 bomber in the recent links to archives,
towards the lower end of the front page. There are
three sections (updates) listed, with the most recent
dates first. Read all three. Start with oldest first.
The following is from today’s Dr. Mercola's health news. Maybe something here that might help.
Sorry this lost all punctuation during the copy & paste making it hard to read.
Get Rid of Your Sleeping Pills NOW!
Cognitive behavioral therapy for six weeks may treat insomnia better than drugs, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway.
The study included 46 participants over the age of 55 who had suffered from insomnia for three months or more. The participants were randomly assigned to receive weekly 50-minute therapy sessions, a drug called xopiclone or a placebo for six weeks. It was found that:
· Those who received therapy increased the time they spent in bed actually sleeping from 81.4 percent to 90.1 percent.
· Those who received zopiclone had a decrease in sleep efficiency, from 82.3 percent to 81.9 percent.
· Therapy participants spent more time in the deepest stages of sleep and less time awake at night than those who received zopiclone or placebo.
The researchers concluded that cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than zopiclone for treating chronic insomnia. The therapy included education about lifestyle factors that influence sleep, such as sticking to a sleep schedule, as well as how to correct poor sleep habits and perform relaxation techniques.
Journal of the American Medical Association June 28, 2006, Vol. 295, No. 24: 2851-2858 (Registration Required)
Forbes.com June 27, 2006
MSNBC June 28, 2006
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Americans are taking more sleeping pills than ever before. Drug companies spent over $300 million in 2005 to advertise sleep aids -- a more than four-fold increase over 2004. This is especially problematic as, like nearly all drug solutions, there are many potential dangers from taking sleeping pills. More than 82 million Americans routinely have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. For those who have ever experienced a few sleepless nights in a row you are likely familiar with the feeling of desperation that sets in as you struggle to function during the following day. If it's any consolation, you are not alone. Close to 40 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 15 reports they've experienced insomnia at least occasionally.This is a serious issue because insomnia will affect your hormone levels, accelerate aging and has been named as the culprit in a variety of diseases including:· Obesity · Depression · Diabetes · CancerMethods to Help You SleepIf you're suffering from insomnia it may be tempting to look to a pill for an immediate solution, but in the long-term the effects of these drugs are likely to be worse than those of the insomnia. Here are my top 11 suggestions from my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for those of you who are having sleep problems. · My favorites for insomnia are the Insight Brainwave Synchronization CDs. This is a great tool that seems to consistently work for the patients that I recommend it to. It is a CD that you listen to before you go to sleep at night. The CD plays out a phase of pleasant-sounding frequencies that resonate your brain to relaxation frequencies. It is very similar to meditation in that you achieve a deep delta wave state. The only major difference is that you achieve this state in a few sessions rather than many years of hard work. You might call this the lazy man's solution to sleeping well. It is one of my favorites, especially when used with the approaches described above· Energy psychology tools like EFT are powerful ways to normalize the stress and anxiety that is frequently at the root of much insomnia. · Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep. · Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and production of melatonin and serotonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. · No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even out of the house, completely. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. Also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above. · Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings. · Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax. Don't read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours instead of going to sleep. · Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be woken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. I gave up my alarm clock five years ago and use a dawn simulator, which switches from an alarm to a dimmer switch that gradually turns the light on to full intensity over 45 minutes. I just love it as it is so gentle, and if I need more sleep I get it without being startled or disrupting my adrenals. Almost like a real dawn. · Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed. Personally, I have been doing this for 15 years but prefer to do it in the morning when my brain is functioning at its peak and my cortisol levels are high · Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin. However, I would exercise extreme caution in using it, and only as a last resort, as it is a powerful hormone. Ideally, it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. One should get blackout drapes so no light is coming in from the outside. One can also use one of melatonin's precursors, L-tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). L-tryptophan is the safest and my preference, but must be obtained by prescription only. However, don't be afraid or intimidated by its prescription status. It is just a simple amino acid. Get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver, which then secondarily backs up into your entire system and causes further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well. For 19 more tips, visit the "Guide to a Good Night's Sleep."
Dietary changes that may be helpful
Caffeine is a stimulant.1 The effects of caffeine can last up to 20 hours,2 so some people will have disturbed sleep patterns even when their last cup of coffee was in the morning.
The following nutritional components may be beneficial. Valerian acts like a sedative on the brain and nervous system, it is best taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Skullcap has been used historically as a sedative for people with nervous tension and insomnia. The chemicals in Hops may act as a sedative and help to cause sleep and lessen anxiety and tenseness. St John’s Wort Extract helps to promote a positive mood and good emotional balance. Calcium, Inositol and Vitamin B Complex 50 are all essential nutrients required for nervous system health. Magnesium is needed to balance with calcium and helps relax muscles.
If you are concerned or unsure about your symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider for professional medical advice.
At bedtime or shortly before, I take 50mg 5-HTP, 3 mg melatonin, washed down with a big gulp of magnesium citrate. I sleep like a log for 5 or 6 hours which is all I need. Melatonin gives some people a hangover.
I recently had a night when I couldn't leep ALL nite, and
felt like death warmed over the next day. :x I have no idea
why it happenend as usually I fall asleep during Jay Leno.
The 2nd nite I took two 3mg Melatonins and slept 10 1/2
hrs until after 7 the next am. The next 2 nights, I took
only one melatonin and slept thru til 7am. Last nite I
was back to normal w/no Melatonin at all.
May you always have..Love to Share, Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!
Booze and exercise, Either or both. If I hit the gym hard, I sleep great, If I go out for a few drinks, same deal. Assuming you do not drink or hit the gym, here are some things:
Some people mentioned melatonin, it works great in some people , not others. Lunesta is too new and untested in my opinion, stay away from it.
For natural methods: try magnesium, especially a brand called ionic fizz magnesium. Chamomile tea works, but use 2 bags. Valerian capsules do a decent job also. If you want a drug route, ask your doctor for restoril (temazepam) 15 mg. It is the active metabolite of valium and gets in quick and disappears quick so you do have after effects when you wake up.
The "drug route" is not the best choice for many reasons - sleep is essential for good health but using drugs to aid in sleeping is a desperate measure.
I agree with the exercise, it plus good nutrition and stress management all contribute to a good night's sleep.
Simple changes like turning off the computer or TV at least half an hour before you go to bed - because the body's production of melatonin is triggered by diminishing light - and cooling the room you sleep in to 60 - 68 degrees are just a few things that work.
It may be many things that a person needs to improve. With society in general eating scads of fast food (poor nutrition), getting very little physical activity, sitting at computers all day and stress levels increasing, you bet your sweet bippie people have sleep problems!
And alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but your sleep is disrupted later in the night.