"Say, I'm a little sleepy - this rough, small, cold, concrete bed looks good, I think I'll just...zzzzz..."
When was the last time you fell asleep that easily? It's one of life's great pleasures, isn't it?, to feel the pull of sleep and to allow yourself to succumb fully to the bliss of easy sleep.
I've written plenty about sleep on this site, but wanted to add a few sleep tips, and just talk about sleep a bit more. Most people complain of "insomnia", by which they mean that they have difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep. Other sleep disorders include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm dysfunction. In the Insomnia article, I listed many steps one can take which are usually helpful when there is an unusual period of disturbed sleep.
However, some conditions are more chronic, and there are some interventions that can be figured out with the help of your health care provider that may provide some permanent solutions.
- If you have a methylation defect, you may not have the proper form of vitamin B6 which helps bring on sleep and sweet dreams. Taking Thorne Research Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate is a form of B6 safe for everyone, and particularly helpful for those with a methylation defect. (Methylation - deserves an article all on its own, but some folks have difficulty activating their B vitamins with a methyl group. Might see a family history of heart disease, emotional disturbances, miscarriage or autism spectrum disorder.)
- Balancing blood sugar requires primarily attention to the WHOLE diet - eliminating processed foods, reducing sweets, eating real food and perhaps eliminating foods that are inflammatory for YOU. As you're making progress on that front, a great sleep aid is the combo of fructose (1/2 tsp honey or several dried prunes, which offer other sleep benefits) and 1 Tbsp of MCT oil - an extract of coconut oil that provides a fat easily used for energy. Your brain can go to sleep on honey and MCT oil, and if it starts to wake later, can then dip into liver stores of fuel to get you through the rest of the night.
- Dan Pardi, on The AutoImmune Summit, hosted by Dr. Amy Myers, places great reliance on sunlight: even on cloudy southern Oregon mid-winter days, the light exposure outside far surpasses anything you can get inside. Spend 30 minutes a day outside, all at once or broken up - but mid-day is best. Light exposure registered in our brains helps re-set our daily rhythm and prime us for night-time sleep.
- What state do you live in? In Oregon we will have legalized marijuana next year - which I'm happy to see. I have always suspected marijuana card-holders are divided between those who use as little as necessary, and those who use marijuana on some sort of prescription type schedule, not so good. Much better to have it readily available, visible, regulated...and taxed! One of my patients confessed that her insomnia was better because her son prepared her a sleep tincture made from marijuana! I checked with the esteemed Dr. Kirk Parsley, sleep expert, who reports that sleep induced or maintained with marijuana is in fact, real sleep: brain wave activity is typical of normal and restorative sleep. Cannabis Indica, rather than Sativa, is the most soporific pot.
The marijuana solution is particularly gratifying as EVERY OTHER so-called sleep aid just puts you at rest. Rest is better than anxiety or insomnia, but it is NOT sleep and it is sleep we need if we want to enhance both our health and our performance.
Any other sleep tips out there?