Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time. Chronic insomnia can be definied as the failure to get an entire night’s sleep on most nights over a one month time span. Insomnia can be very frustrating and can affect children and adults alike. In fact, it affects one out of ten Americans!
There are many causes of chronic insomnia. Here are some of the common causes:
- Iron deficiency
- Calcium and magnesium deficiency
- Low thyroid
- High thyroid
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Caffeine consumption
- Alcohol consumption
- Allergy/cold medications
- Adrenal fatigue (see previous blog)
- Other systemic disorders
Where to start:
- Take 500 mg calcium with 250 mg magnesium twice a day (once with lunch and once before bed)
- Take ashwagandha twice a day (once in the morning and once before bed). This can be helpful for reducing anxiety, depression and insomnia.
- Take a B-50 complex with lunch
- Take 500 mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids twice a day
- Take liquid trace minerals (Trace Mineral Research is a good brand)
- Check total iron levels and ferritin levels (blood test)
- If iron deficiency is detected, add an organic chelated iron to your supplements. Take iron with vitamin C and away from calcium (calcium grabs iron from the stomach). Iron Asporotate by Soloray is a good brand, as well as Floradix liquid iron by Flora
- Check thyroid panel (blood test, TSH, T3, T4 total, T4 free and antithyroid antibodies)
- Read my old posts on adrenal fatigue to determine if you fit the category and follow the recommendations.
- For adults, 5HTP can be helpful for anxiety, depression and insomnia
- Avoid caffeine after lunch time
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid allergy and cold medications
- Eat 5-6 balanced meals a day
- Avoid sugar and refined foods
- Consume some protein an hour before bed (i.e. a whole grain cracker with raw almond butter).
- Melatonin is one of the best cures for occasional sleeplessness. It is a natural hormone created by the pineal gland that promotes sound sleep. It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s natural circadian rhythm. When it’s dark, your body produces more melatonin and when it’s light, melatonin production drops. Being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day can also disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles. As a supplement for insomnia, take up to 5 mg 30 minutes before bed. It is usually best to begin with 1.5 mg and increase if needed. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, can strengthen the immune system and is used during cancer treatment and menopause.