Four Research Studies Give Tips to Remedy Insomnia

Research scientists are discovering more and more ways to help people relieve insomnia and sleep better with simple nutrition and lifestyle improvements

nutrition research studiesAlmost six out of ten Americans experience insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week, as reported in a recent study done by the National Sleep Foundation. Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.”

In an effort to combat this, as many as twenty-five percent of the people in the U.S. turn to sleep drugs. Because most people would prefer to avoid the side effects and addiction of sleep medications, research scientists have been busy studying nutritional and lifestyle approaches to getting better sleep.

Tip # 1 – We live in an electronics-oriented world, from computers, to cell phones, to texting, to reading books on tablets. These tools help increase our efficiency and ability to work and learn and communicate, but when it comes to getting good sound sleep, they can interfere.

One study from a university in New York found that exposure to light from electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about twenty two percent. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It is present in higher amounts at night. The researchers recommend shutting off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime and doing some relaxing things before bed.

Tip # 2 – Regarding sounder, deeper sleep resulting from taking walks, studies at the University of Arizona have found that walking more than six blocks a day at a normal pace significantly improves sleep at night for women.  Scientists suspect that walking helps to set our biological clock into a consistent sleep pattern. Walking can help increase “endorphins”, which are protein-like chemicals made in the brain that can have a relaxing effect, a pain-relieving effect, and can also reduce stress and increase well-being.

Tip # 3 – Sometimes hunger can strike at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and keep one awake. If this occurs, eat something with high protein such as turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid (a component of protein) that has a calming effect. According to Ray Sahelian, M.D., “Tryptophan ….can be converted at night into melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.”

As a note, concentrated tryptophan capsules are not recommended as they can create grogginess in the morning and take some time to wear off. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.

Tip # 4 – When taking natural sleep aids, it’s good to remember that each person is a unique individual and doing some experimenting with the dosage can be instrumental in achieving success. At first, err on the side of taking too little rather than too much. Another thing to keep in mind is that natural aids are not drugs and they may not work immediately with the first dose or even the first few doses. It can take up to a couple weeks to see results.

James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. In the study, taking calcium restored normal sleep patterns.

One example of a mineral-based sleep remedy is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. The ingredients are delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making them more easily assimilated than capsules or tablets and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference. I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”

In summary, take the tips of recent research studies and take a walk each day, put the computers and cell phones away an hour before bedtime and do something relaxing, keep a high-tryprophan snack next to your bed at night, and use an effective form of calcium and magnesium before bed for a deeper, longer night’s sleep.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit this page.

Stevia Studies: 0 Calorie Plant Sweetener Helps Immunity, Blood Pressure, More

SteviaWouldn’t it be great if there were a natural plant-based sweetener with zero calories that actually improved our health? Many people would prefer to avoid eating lots of white sugar as it affects everything from weight, to teeth, to immunity, to the health of our organs.

Although in the world of sugar substitutes, many of the options are artificial sweeteners made in the laboratory such as Equal (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose) and SweetNLow (saccharin – which is a coal tar derivative).

A recent study published in a medical journal that writes about metabolism reported that diet soda drinkers suffer with the same health problems as those who opt for regular sugared soda, including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

At the same time that studies are discovering more and more health problems from consuming artificial sweeteners, one natural option – the Stevia plant – is collecting positive research outcomes for its benefits. It’s a South American plant from the same family that includes chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Honey is also natural, but it contains very concentrated sugars that can cause cells to store fat.

Stevioside is the natural extract from stevia leaves that gives it its sweetness. Stevia extract can taste 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, with one teaspoon equaling a whole cup of sugar. Very small amounts go a long way. Stevia is not absorbed well into the stomach, and when it passes through the body, there is no accumulation of it.

The cells of the pancreas receive a healing effect from stevia. A study in the journal “Metabolism” found that stevioside reduced blood sugar levels after meals in type 2 diabetic patients. Regarding high blood pressure, one study in a British medical journal gave participants with high blood pressure stevia capsules for a year. The researchers concluded it is a well tolerated and an effective alternative therapy.

In a test tube study from “Antiviral Research” stevia was shown to be an effective antiviral substance that worked as a blockade to prevent a virus from attaching to other cells. Stevia also inhibits the growth of oral bacteria, making it a good ingredient for mouthwashes, toothpastes and bleeding gums.

Stevia is available as fresh or dried leaves, as a powdered extract or as drops. Its health benefits are best realized when the whole plant is used to make the extract. Truvia (made by Coca-Cola) and PureVia (made by PepsiCo) contain only portions of the active ingredients, not the entire plant. So look for stevia or stevioside amounts when purchasing this natural sweetener.

This news is brought to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, providing natural health articles and effective natural remedies since 2001. Learn more about the natural sleep aids and natural joint and pain relief products made by Nutrition Breakthroughs.