Causes that Trigger Insomnia and Sleep Problems:
According to experts, stress, anxiety and depression are some of the leading causes of insomnia in the country today. In most cases, financial worries, fear, worry and uncertainty keep people up all night.
Supplements which Support Stress:
The first key is to support stress during the day so it does not get a chance to escalate to a point where it affects the quality of your sleep.
Nutri-Calm (#1617-3) – provides a B-complex with Vitamin C in a base of herbs which support long term stress and relax the nervous system. Take this supplement during the day, most people require 2-3 tablets daily. They are water soluble, so it is best to divide your doses to twice daily.
Along with Nutri-Calm take an Adaptogen formula. Adpatogens help your body adapt to long term stresses so you do not get run down and are able to keep your mental focus and energy high.
AdaptaMax (#872-9) this is a good all round adaptogen formula. It provides a variety of adaptogen herbs to support stress, energy, mental focus and your immune system. 2-6 daily
Maca herb (#1117-2) this is a good adaptogen if you are also going through a lot of hormonal changes during the time of your stress (like during peri-menopause). Or if your libido is being brought down by the stress. 3-6 daily
Supplements Which Support Sleep:
Herbal Sleep (#940-8) this formula is a good all around sleep formula for most people. It contains: Valerian, Passion flower and Hops. These herbs relax nervous tension, quiet the mind and relax tight muscles. For most people this formula works great at 2-4 capsules at bedtime.
For those of you who are under very high stress and going through a lot of emotional issues right now you may need a stronger sleep aid more specific to your symptoms.
When the Mind chatter won’t turn off…
There are 3 supplements that are very specific to quieting the mind. All of them are helpful, but one may work better than another for different individuals. Here are some keys to each formula:
GABA Plus (#1823-6) Gaba is an amino acid which helps in the production of serotonin. When GABA levels are low our sleep becomes restless and our mind won’t turn off, thoughts keep running through our head. When GABA is low people also tend to be irritable, short tempered and argumentative. Recommended starting dose is 2 at bedtime (can be taken in the daytime to quiet the mind as well). Note: Because GABA helps to raise serotonin levels do not take it with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor drugs like Prozac, Lexapro or Zoloft, without a doctor’s supervision.
Chinese Stress Relief formula works well to help quiet the mind. It is particularly helpful for people with anxiety, absent-mindedness, extreme changes in emotion, heart palpitations, vivid dreaming, muscle tension, nervousness and tension and panic attacks. Chinese Stress Relief (#1863-5, 100 ct) at 3-6 at bedtime. Chinese Stress Relief TCM (concentrate) (#1033-5) at 1 -2 at bedtime
Kava Kava is an herb which works well for anxiety with panic tendencies, mental cloudiness due to stress, menopausal mood swings, tight muscles and over active instinctive behavior (a tendency to over-react to a stressful situation). Stock # 405-9
If Digestive Upset, Gas or Bloating are Waking You Up:
Consider Stress-J formula at bedtime (#1084-1) - Stress-J contains passion flower and hops to relax the nervous system and the mind. The herbs chamomile and fennel relax digestive tension and break up gas, marshmallow soothes the stomach and intestinal lining, and feverfew herb to relax muscular tension. 3-4 capsules at bedtime is a popular dose
Have you been Feeling Burned Out lately?
After being under stress for long periods of time people often find they become “burned out”. Symptoms of this condition include waking frequently, restless dreams, night sweats, lack of sexual desire, muddled thinking and lack of motivation and drive
Chinese Nervous Fatigue formula – helps to restore your passion and drive, improves sleep and helps one recover from long term stress. Some people like to take it at bedtime, but some find that it gives them energy when they do that. So it is fine to take in the morning or at dinner. Either way it will have the effect of improving your sleep as your body recovers from stress. This formula is often taken for a period of 3 months. Chinese Nervous Fatigue 100 ct. (#1884-7) 4-9 capsules daily, Chinese Nervous Fatigue TCM (concentrate) 30 ct. (#1017-1) 1-2 daily
Do you have Low Melatonin levels?
Jet lag from travel / changing work schedules / and aging effects melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone which controls our sleep rhythms so we can fall asleep easily and sleep deeply. Melatonin is produced as a result of the loss of daylight, as nightfall signals the body to get ready to retire for the night. If you do not make enough melatonin, then your body doesn’t receive the signal that it is time for bed. Melatonin can reset the body’s internal clock. Melatonin declines with age, and actually plays a role in keeping us young, so many find that supplementing with melatonin at bed, after age 40-50, significantly improves sleep. Melatonin Extra 3 mg. (#2830-4) – 1-2 capsules about 30 minutes before bedtime.
A Spastic Bladder: Contributes to the urge to wake to urinate, or to bed wetting in children.
Low water intake – if you do not drink enough water during the day your bladder become irritated and spasms easily.
Low Magnesium – the most common reason for a spastic bladder next to low water intake is low levels of magnesium. Other symptoms of low magnesium include: Muscle cramps, nervous irritability, menstrual cramps, tension headaches, constipation, muscle tightness, chronic pain and feeling uncomfortable around big crowds of people.
Magnesium Complex (#1859-8) 2 capsules in the morning and 2 at bedtime Urinary Maintenance formula (#2884-4) – This is a great formula to rebuild a weak bladder, very good for the elderly with weak bladder or for those prone to urinary infections. 1 capsule 3 times daily
Low Blood Sugar is another common reason for sleep disturbances. If you often wake in the middle of the night, and can’t fall back to sleep, you may be having a problem with low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia.) Here are some common symptoms of low blood sugar:
Cravings for sweets, sudden fatigue, irritability when a meal is missed, impatient, moody, anxiety, poor memory, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, headaches, waking in the night craving food, blurry vision, dry mouth, and feeling shaky if you don’t eat on time.
Avoid having carbohydrate or sugary snacks late at night such as a bowl of cereal, ice cream, or other sweets, before bed, these foods are quickly converted to sugar in your blood stream. When you suffer from low blood sugar your body over-reacts to the sudden surge of sugar by over producing insulin to lower the blood sugar level back to normal. The over production, leads to a below normal drop in blood sugar 4-6 hours later – often in the middle of the night.
The formula HY-A was designed to help support low blood sugar (#950-0). This formula contains the herb licorice root, which contains chromium, magnesium, and zinc to help reduce cravings for carbohydrates and sugar, as well as balance the blood sugar. Safflower and horseradish are included in the formula to improve digestion. Dandelion is included for its support on liver function. The formula SugarReg (#927-1) would also be a good choice to help balance blood sugar levels. It is particularly helpful for those who also border on high blood sugar or pre-diabetes at times.
Physical Pain- Can certainly cause restless sleep or waking at night. possible need for a chiropractic adjustment, massage or the need to stretch or exercise. Consider formulas like EverFlex or Joint Support, IF-Relief (for sore muscles), or Nerve Eight (for nerve related pain) to help heal the body, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.
Emotional Pains brought about by incidents such as relationship break-up or death of a loved one can keep you awake all night. Since these things are part of life and cannot really be avoided, we just have to find ways to work through the difficult times. Talking about your emotional problems and concerns can be very liberating so find someone to talk to. You may also need to find a counselor in some situations. Consider the use of Chinese Mood Elevator 100 ct. (#1878-8) to help stabilize and lift your moods. Take 3 capsules 2-3 times daily. This formula is safe to take with anti-depressant medications and can often help reduce the need for them. Also available in Mood Elevator TCM concentrate (#1035-7) 1-3 capsules daily.
Hot Flashes - These are brought on by hormonal changes that happen as we approach menopause. The hormonal changes affect the hypothalamus (the part of the brain regulating sleep and body temperature). Formulas such as Natural Changes, Flash-Ease, or Pro-G-yam cream can be helpful with bringing the hormone balance back to normal and improving your sleep cycles.
Toxic Overload – If you live or work in an environment which is high in toxins, such as a beauty salon, auto repair, a clothing store, or print shop, or are exposed to cigarette smoke, your body will need to be cleansed on a more regular basis. Also if your diet is full of processed foods, you don’t drink enough water, or have a lot of digestive problems, then your liver may be congested from excess toxins. This can contribute to sleep problems by giving you late night energy. Here are some symptoms to help you recognize when your liver is overloaded and in need of a cleanse:
“Flu-like” symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, stiff & aching muscles, cold hands and feet, headaches, gallbladder attacks, tenderness or swelling under the right rib cage, dizziness, puffy eyelids , skin eruptions, difficulty falling asleep (late night energy) followed by difficulty waking in the morning.
Chinese Tiao He Cleanse (#3050-5) – this is a 14 day cleanse which has an emphasis on cleansing the liver, kidneys and bowel.
Enviro-Detox (#874-4) is a good formula to be used on a daily basis for those who work around toxins. 2-3 capsules daily
Breathing Problems – Sleep apnea, sinus or lung congestion, or snoring can all inhibit our ability to sleep well. The formula Snore Ease (#1815-4) is great for all these areas. The formula contains bromelain which breaks up thick mucus and reduces inflammation, CO-Q10 to improve oxygen intake to the cells, Bitter orange to relieve congestion, stop inflammation and counter allergy reactions and dilate respiratory passages. 2-3 capsules 20 minutes before bedtime, has worked wonders for many people. Chinese Lung Support (#1004-3) would be a good choice for someone with a history of weak lungs and breathing problems, as well as someone who has unresolved grief in their life. This Chinese formula works on the emotion of grief so we can better deal with it and release it. Unresolved grief or sadness will congest the energy and function of the lungs.
Check your Medications as many of them have the side effect of disrupting your ability to sleep. Look for natural alternatives to these medications. Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine are all substances that inhibit sleep patterns. Reduce or eliminate these if you are having problems getting good nights sleep. Even your mid-day cup of coffee may be affecting you, as for many the effects of caffeine are felt for up to 20 hours!
Other things you can do to get your Zzzz’s
• Hot baths, with Epsom salts and essential oils to relax you before bed.
• Drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed
• Massage is helpful to relax the mind and body
• Pray and mediate before bed, pray for others, it takes the focus off your self.
• Place your focus on beautiful or wonderful places you would like to go to.
• Practice deep breathing exercises
• Avoid any stimulating TV shows, or stressful activities such as bill paying.
• Exercising at least 30 minutes per day
• Plan for 7 ½ hours of sleep per night
I hope this information helps you to enjoy many peaceful dreams, and a restful night’s sleep,
Certified Herbalist, Natural Health Consultant
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