Ask Dr. Michael: Natural Insomnia Solutions
What are natural solutions for my Insomnia?
Insomnia is a very common problem these days. It can affect people of all ages and cause real quality of life issues. Sleep medications often have unwanted side effects, and some are habit-forming. Many people take them anyway because they don’t realize there are safe, natural, and effective alternatives.
At the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center in Jacksonville, we take a holistic approach to improve your sleep. Rather than treat your insomnia as a symptom, we use Worsley Five Element acupuncture to address the root cause of your sleep issues.
For example, if you can’t sleep because your mind is overactive, acupuncture can help balance the mind and reduce stress levels. In addition to treating the root cause of your mental unrest, there are acupuncture points for insomnia found effective in clinical trials.
Besides acupuncture, we consider other factors vital for a good night’s sleep. Good sleep habits are important, such as limiting screen time prior to bedtime, making the room dark, and getting into a healthy bedtime routine.
Proper nutrition is also important. It is amazing how many people with insomnia ingest drinks with caffeine. Caffeine stays in your body for a full day, so that morning cup of coffee or soda with caffeine will keep you up at night.
Many people over the age of 25 produce less of the neurotransmitters vital for sleep: melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is made by the pineal gland when your eyes do not detect any light. In other words, in a dark room at night, your body is designed to make melatonin and help you fall asleep.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you stay asleep. Your body needs the slow and steady production of serotonin over the course of the night. How do you make serotonin? From 5 hydroxy-tryptophan, or 5HTP for short. If your stores of 5HTP decrease too much during the night, your body will stop making serotonin and you will wake up too early. 5HTP is made from tryptophan, which is found in foods like turkey. That’s why you get sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal!
To treat either or both of these shortages, you can use a supplement with melatonin and 5HTP at bedtime. Take melatonin if you are having trouble falling asleep. Take 5HTP if you have trouble staying asleep. Consult your holistic doctor at the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center to see if these supplements are right for you. Just call us at (904) 296-9545.