Are you struggling with getting enough sleep? Maybe you are able to fall asleep, but keep waking up? Many of my clients struggle with lack of sleep and poor sleep and many times it’s due to intrusive and obsessive thoughts related to chronic anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep doesn’t only make us cranky, it also affects our productivity, and can lead to chronic illnesses due to compromised immune system
I have suffered for years until I learned meditation – especially guided meditation has been really helpful. Lately, I’ve been listening to Michael Sealey – check out his video below.
In addition to that, here are some supplements that you can take. I’ve been an advocate for natural, non-medical and integrative medicine approach for years and wish I had this book before!
Dr. James Greenblatt recommends several different sleep remedies. All dosages are estimates as everyone is different:
- Magnesium (“anti-stress mineral”) 200-300 mg before bedtime
- Valerian (reduces anxiety while improving sleep) 300-500 mg before sleep (Possible side effects: headache, restlessness, sleeplessness, irregular heartbeat)
- Inositol & 5-HTP – Inositol is naturally produced by intestinal bacteria and helps transmit nerve signals and prevents the buildup of fat in the liver. Research supports positive benefits for insomnia and OCD. Dosage 1 teaspoon at 8 pm (about 2.8 grams) and 1 teaspoon before bed. 5-HTP is an early form of the neurotransmitter serotonin that is changed to make melatonin. Dosage 50-200 mg 30-60 minutes before bed. DO NOT take if already taking anti-depressants such as Lexapro
- Glycine – Amino acid produced in the body and is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It calms neurotransmitters so that they don’t fire rapidly. Dosage 3 grams 1 hour before bedtime.
- GABA – A neurotransmitter that helps brain cells calm down and become less excited. Dosage 500-750 mg with a cup of water and drink half before bedtime. If you wake up during the night, drink the other half. Try 100-250 mg first and then increase the dosage.
- Melatonin – Hormone produced by a pineal gland, works with body’s built-in clock to regulate sleep and wake cycles. The body needs mineral zinc to manufacture melatonin. Zinc plays a role in preventing depression. Dosage: 1-3 mg before sleep. Possible side effects: drowsiness, upset stomach, headaches
(Resource: James M. Greenblatt, MD, Breakthrough Depression Solution, 2nd edition, Sunrise River Press, 2016)
Practicing some form of meditation, and spending time in nature, as well as daily exercise will make you feel better and help you get more restful sleep. If you are unable to shake off intrusive thoughts, I also recommend journaling. If the problem persists, schedule time with a licensed clinician who will help you uncover other reasons for the lack of sleep.
Wishing you a restful and peaceful night sleep! I recommend talking to a naturopath or medical doctor especially if you are already taking medication as some of it may interfere.