SUFFERING FROM INSOMNIA? NATURAL SUGGESTIONS TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
Million of Canadians suffer from insomnia. It is the most common sleep disorder. It may include problems falling asleep, staying asleep, awakening in the early mornings or interrupted sleeps. According to stats Canada, approximately 40% of Canadians report periodic Insomnia.
During these past few months, many of the patients I see report increased anxiety and difficulties with sleep. Stress can have a big impact on our ability to get a good nights sleep. This may also be accompanied with daytime tiredness, irritability, anxiety, difficulties focusing during the day and difficulties with weight loss. With the holidays upon us, now is a great time to practice good sleep hygiene, practice stress management and get a good night’s rest!
Stress can have an impact on sleep; our susceptibility to this is very individualized. Some people react to stress with a big impact on sleep. Others can have a stressful day but minimal impact on sleep. Its very unique to the person. But lack of sleep can have a big effect on our mood, ability to focus on tasks and our metabolism. (1)
The first step in helping our body get a good night’s rest is good sleep hygiene. Create a comfortable sleep environment. Sleep in a dark room to support melatonin release, keep the room cooler, go to bed the same time and wake up the same time. If you have a lot on your mind, create a journal or a “to do list” in the evening. The goal is to write everything down that is on your mind, including what you want to get done the next day, so that you can clear your mind and get a good nights rest. Check out these great SLEEP HYGIENE tips on the Vitalia website as well as on ANXIETYCANADA.COM
SUPPLEMENTS THAT MAY HELP YOU SLEEP:
One of my favourite supplements to help promote sleep is Melatonin. This hormone is naturally produced by the Pineal Gland in response to darkness. It tells the body it is time to sleep. It maintains our body’s internal clock that regulates circadian rhythms and our sleep/wake cycle.
A 2018 STUDY conducted in Australia found 0.5 mg of a fast release melatonin combined with behavioural sleep-wake scheduling improved sleep in 52.8% of the participants compared to placebo. I generally recommend between 1-3 mg of a sublingual or lozenge type Melatonin 30-60 min before bedtime, combined with good sleep hygiene practices.
If melatonin is not the right supplement for you, there are other great natural aids that may help you sleep. Magnesium is one of my favourites. The form of Magnesium you take is important. I recommend Magnesium Glycinate for its relaxing properties. Magnesium oxide and carbonate are poorly absorbed. Magnesium citrate may have laxative effects. Magnesium glycinate is the form I prefer at bedtime.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves that may also promote relaxation. A 2019 STUDY found the combination of GABA with L-Theanine had a positive effect on sleep quality and duration.
Some other nutrients to support sleep pathways in the body include B vitamins (specifically vitamin B6 in its activated form of Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate), omega 3 EFA, Vitamin D and Vitamin C. Supplementing with these nutrients may support a variety of health benefits including promoting a good night’s rest.
During this holiday season take the time to rest. Sleep is such an important part of keeping our body and our immune system strong. Wishing you good health and safety during these challenging times.
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND