Chapter 13: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
There is very little that contributes more to overall good health than consistently enjoying a restful night’s sleep. In the USA sleeping problems now affect 70% of people. Why did people stop sleeping well? Environmental and nutritional challenges are the cause! But, since you can move the furniture, change your diet and use natural supplements, most people can reclaim that state of restorative slumber.
How do you do that? Let’s look at the environment first. See that electric clock or radio next to the head of your bed? Just open the window and toss it out! It runs on Alternating Current and that electromagnetic field disrupts the pineal gland at the center of the brain that serves as the body’s clock (It also increases the chance of brain tumors). How is the body supposed to know when to rest when the clock is out of kilter? That goes for all kinds of electronics, so don't sleep with the cell phone under your pillow. Since you need a bedside clock buy a battery operated one instead, that uses a Direct Current which is the same electricity that the body uses.
How bright is the bedroom? Even small amounts of light can disrupt the hormonal system that controls sleep, so cover any illuminated dials in the bedroom. Better yet, power them off with a power strip. Also cover any mirrors and television screens that reflect light towards the bed, at least while you’re sleeping. You may need to invest in heavy, light blocking curtains over light leaking blinds.
Finally, the healthiest direction for the head of the bed to point is north. Northeast and northwest also work well. East and west are neutral, but when you point the head of the bed south that promotes anxiety, which is not conducive to sleep.
Now let’s look at nutritional solutions. One of our favorite tools for encouraging sleep is actually two products used together. Both are taken about 1/2 hour before bed time and then dim the lights after you take them. These are Kava Kava concentrate to help the muscles relax and reduce anxiety, and 5HTP to feed the neurotransmitters that trigger sleep.
Because these are nutritional products, not drugs, so they don’t force to body into an action, but rather feed the body systems that are starved for nutrients so they can’t perform effectively. You may see results immediately, or it may take several nights to enjoy a significant improvement.
Depending on your reactions you can increase the amounts to get better results. After all, these are foods. You could take 2 of each before bed, and it rarely will take that much, unless your body is really starved for the nutrients that support a good night’s sleep. Later, when your reserves are restored, it may only take one capsule of each to attain good results, or just the 5HTP by itself. Remember to do the environmental improvements too in order to get the best results. If neck tension is a factor add Magnesium Complex to the mix.
Helpful Hint: Keep a dish with a second dose of herbs and a glass of water by the side of the bed. If you wake up in the night immediately take them, think happy thoughts, and in half an hour you’ll probably be asleep again.
A nice, herbal formula is the ‘Herbal Sleep’. This combination of Valerian Root, Passion Flowers and Hops Flowers is very relaxing because it feeds the nervous and hormonal systems, and it is helpful as a short-term sleep aid. If nagging pain is a factor use the White Willow Bark formula APS-II, that also contains relaxing valerian. Take this a couple of hours before bed with at least 1/2 a glass of water, because it contains a small amount of cayenne that can warm up the tummy if you drink it too dry. Don’t use Valerian daily for a long period of time since it’s a mild depressive, so straight White Willow Bark extract is a nice solution. This is the plant that Aspirin was based on. They switched to the chemical version because it was cheaper and it didn't clog up the tablet machines like the natural plant did. Of course, too much Aspirin causes stomach bleeding which is a side effect White Willow Bark does not share.
Dehydration is a major contributor to pain levels. If you lie down in bed and feel like you don’t have any cushioning around your bones then your cells may be too dry. To consume the correct amount of water measure your weight in pounds, cut that number in half, and drink that many ounces in pure water daily. Coffee, soda, caffeinated tea and alcohol do not count. In fact, they dehydrate you. For every ounce of alcohol you drink your body excretes two ounces of water, so compensate for that. People often see immediate improvement in their pain levels. Drink the water during the course of the day when your organs need it the most.
If nighttime bathroom trips disturb your sleep then use the Cranbury Buchu combination does wonders for your urinary system. In the process it reduces pain levels by preventing leakage from the urinary tract into the sensitive surrounding systems.
Neurotransmitters in the brain are essential to making us feel good. One of the main reasons why people don’t make enough neurotransmitters is that they don't get enough Amino Acids from lean animal protein. Due to problems with digestion this is especially true after age forty. Moving to a Paleo Diet helps that and meantime using a protein enzyme like Bromelain or Papaya Enzyme with each meal will help. Additionally taking Free Amino Acids yields a host of benefits, many of which are related to sleep.
We’ve included our favorite solutions here. The secret is to use them for an extended period of time. Sleep problems develop because the body is starved for certain nutrients, and it will take a while to restore the reserves that you need for a consistently good night’s sleep.
From the 10 Minute Herbalist by Ralph & Lahni DeAmicis (c)2015
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