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Center For Natural Medicine                   

                                       

Center For Natural Medicine Newsletter )
Sleep, oh so sweet it is. September 11, 2005
in this issue
  • 8 Hours Sleep is Best
  • Tips For Helping Sleep
  • Drug Therapy

  •  

    Sleep, oh so sweet it is.

    Fatigue is a common complaint by patients in any physicians’ office. Two of the first questions we ask are how is your sleep and how much do you sleep?


    Dr. Dana Keaton
    8 Hours Sleep is Best

    In our busy culture many people do not spend enough time in bed to get enough sleep, even if they sleep well. It is rare for a person to do well on less than 7 hours sleep and most need eight hours for top performance. One test is to sleep until you wake up naturally on your weekend or when you have two or three nights where you have no morning time line to meet. If you find you sleep longer than the amount of time you normally allow yourself I would suggest making more time for sleep. Exercise helps, but time it so you finish several hours before bedtime. Caffeine can prohibit sleep in many individuals. Not only coffee and black or green tea, but chocolate and many soda pops contain caffeine. Routine helps people reduce stress generally. Routine bedtimes help improve sleep onset and quality. Late weekend hours are disruptive to some people. Work shifts that vary have been shown to be hard on a persons’ sleep cycles and general health.

    Enough sleep can erase fatigue and there are many other benefits. You may find there are fewer waking hours, but you are more efficient and feel more enthusiastic after a few weeks on your new schedule. You may have heard of growth hormone. Growth hormone is one of the anti-aging hormones and helps increase muscle mass. It is secreted during sleep as part of our bodies’ normal restoration process. Prolactin is also secreted at night and that may explain the association between some fertility problems and poor sleep patterns. Naps of 20 to 120 minutes can help retrieve sleep debt, but are not as helpful in normalizing the hormones.

    If you can not fall asleep for 30 or more minutes after going to bed there are tools that may help. If it takes over an hour to fall asleep it is classified as insomnia. Check the following tips to assure you are giving yourself the best shot at good sleep.

    Tips For Helping Sleep
    excesise1

    Exercise helps, but time it so you finish several hours before bedtime. Caffeine can prohibit sleep in many individuals. Not only coffee and black or green tea, but chocolate and many soda pops contain caffeine.

    Routine helps people reduce stress generally. Routine bedtimes help improve sleep onset and quality. Late weekend hours are disruptive to some people. Work shifts that vary have been shown to be hard on a persons’ sleep cycles and general health.

    Relax before bedtime. One of the worst habits is to be on the computer, watching television or doing work before bedtime. It is best to allow a time to wind down with a novel, a massage, needlework, meditation, or other relaxing enjoyable activities. A hot bath is sleep inducing because of the shift in body temperature.

    Drug Therapy
    products

    Always try to rebalance yourself before attempting to use drug therapy. Some times the doctor has to mix the two at first, but using drugs alone will not correct the problem. The following supplements help some people.

    B 12 in high doses. 3 to 5 mg. (That is 3,000 to 5,000 mcg.).

    Magnesium. 400 mg to 800 mg. Per day. Usually 200 to 300 mg. is taken per dose (at any one time). A citrate or gycinate form will absorb at this level. If Magnesium oxide is taken at this level it may not be absorbed well enough and diarrhea may result. Commonly 250 mg three times a day in addition to a multiple with calcium is enough.

    5 – hydroxyrtyptophan (5-HTP). This compound is a precursor to serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that can improve mood, sleep and cravings for carbohydrates. Begin with 50 mg. three times a day and increase up to 100 mg. three times a day if needed.

    Tryptophan. Many people that have benefited from this amino acid are not aware it is still available by prescription. A usual dose is 500 mg. at bedtime with a piece of fruit, but no protein.

    Melatonin. This is a hormone that is normally secreted after dark and induces sleep. Children should not be supplemented as they make plenty. As we age often production goes down. Many elderly people have trouble sleeping due to deficiency. Initially try 3 mg. at bedtime. If this is not enough to induce sleep and you do not feel drowsy from it in the morning, increase every few nights by 3 mg. I have one patient who does well on 30 mg. per night. Some people experience nightmares or dreams for the first week or so. The dreaming returns to normal levels after about a week and is not an indication of trouble from the hormone. Drowsiness is an indication you are taking too much or do not require melatonin, so stop or reduce. The office has testing available if you wish to check your levels.

    Many herbs help relax or cause sleepiness. Best known are probably Valarian (Not like Valium!), Chamomile and Hops. Other good relaxants are Passionflower, Kava and Skullcap. Teas or capsules are easy forms to take them in. A tea can be a relaxing bedtime ritual in itself.

    Good Night and Sleep Well, Dr. Keaton