We have all heard about the importance of getting a full night’s sleep. We know how beneficial it is for our overall health. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to have a good night’s sleep. But it isn’t always that easy (and good luck trying to do it by counting sheep or meditating).
I recently did a show that I called Fix the Cause Not the Symptom. The title says it all, and if you applied this principle to chronic issues you may have, you’ll experience a profound change in how you view many aspects of medicine.
Now you may say, George, I have no trouble sleeping because I take sleeping pills like Ambien or Restoril and sleep like a baby. Well, there are a few things you should know before you continue on that path of fixing the symptom of sleep loss, rather than diagnosing and treating the actual cause.
Effects of Sleep Aids
What prescription sleeping pills and other over the counter (OTC) sleep aids do to you is deplete you of serotonin, a neural transmitter in your brain. Serotonin is used to regulate your mood and to put you to sleep.
First, sleep aids like those work by artificially depressing the normal brain function, which prevents you from cycling through all four stages of sleep and reaching rapid eye movement (REM), the dream state. Second, they cause chronic dependency. Third, and most importantly, sleeping pills can cause death. That means go to sleep and don’t wake up death – not just sleeping so well you felt dead to the world.
Scripps Clinic in California researched people who regularly took medication to help them sleep and found they were nearly five times more likely to die over the next 2½ yrs than those who didn’t take them. Let that sink in.
Why You Feel Groggy After Using Sleep Aids
The Scripps researchers found these types of drugs may increase the risk of respiratory infection, sleepwalking and driving, and even cancer. I know you’re thinking, “Well hell, all I wanted was to have a great night sleep and not feel groggy in the morning.” Ahh, more bad news, one you can relate to if you take these meds nightly. You still feel groggy – they don’t fix that. Why? Because you never reached all four stages of sleep, which prevented you from getting the good night sleep you desire.
You may think you feel better than when not using them. But do you still reach for coffee when you wake? Do you feel you need it? Can’t make it through the morning without it? Didn’t think so. And the snowball continues to grow because you have now affected your adrenal glands, which secrete adrenaline. When overstimulated they cannot perform. What does this cause? Among other symptoms, sleep issues.
Now, what to do? Well, if the cause of not sleeping is due to adrenal stress you must address that. How? I have a product called Stress No More that will knock you out within five nights. But it’s not a sleep aid. It supports your adrenal functions, which in turn calms you down. You will feel tired by about 9:30 or 10pm. Several members of the Dallas Stars hockey team used this supplement and loved it, but actually became worried about being tired before road games. Again this supplement supports what your body needs. It’s not a sleep aid.
Finding the Cause of Your Sleep Issue
If you want to narrow down the cause by looking at the symptoms associated with your sleeping issue, let’s start with adrenal fatigue. Some signs of adrenal fatigue are: sugar cravings, sleepless nights, trouble falling asleep, trouble losing fat, moodiness, and reoccurring infections. And here are some real bad ones: chronic inflammation, muscle weakness, and back pain. In addition, five skeletal muscles that can indicate adrenal function have been identified. These are:
- tibialis posterior
When the adrenal glands are malfunctioning, there will be weakness in one or more of these muscles.
If your issue is not stress-related you can use a natural amino acid called L-Tryptophan. Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D., a leading proponent of natural therapies, says the safest way to increase serotonin levels is to take supplemental L-Tryptophan. When supplemental L-Tryptophan is taken, the body changes some of this into serotonin, which brings on a natural sleep, as well as lifting the mood of a depressed person. Although this amino acid is natural and can work quite well, if there isn’t a deficiency in L Tryptophan then it will not work as designed.
But please beware. For amino acid or neural transmitter deficiencies, you’ll need a test to determine exactly what is lacking. You also need to know what dosage is needed instead of just buying them over the counter. They, like any supplements, can act like drugs and make life worse for you, especially if you’re not lacking those certain nutrients and still to introduce them into your system. Stick with a professional grade multi-vitamin until you’ve been tested to find out where you’re deficient. If not, you’re asking for more trouble in the long run.