Insomnia

Insomnia

We have written about solutions to sleep problems in the past and I have outlined these below. There is, however, an exciting new development for those of you who use a computer after dark. It all starts with the nature of light and a hormone called melatonin.

Melatonin is the hormone that signals to your body when it is time to be asleep and when it is time to be awake. This marvelous hormone is made in your brain during the day due to the action of sunlight hitting the eye (a good reason to use sunglasses only when necessary). Melatonin is then stored and released after dark with the changing, softer light.

Computers have a very bright screen and using a computer after dark gives the brain the wrong signals and can cause major sleep disruption for some people. Some ingenious folk have invented a program called f.lux that adjusts your computer screen to the changing light of night. This gives the computer a softer glow at night with a slight orange tint to the screen. The reports from people using the program have been fantastic. The great news is that it is FREE! We highly recommend that you try the program if you use a computer a lot after dark and if you experience the benefits, do let them know. The link is:  http://www.stereopsis.com/flux/

Other solutions for sleep that many have successfully tried are a good magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium works by easing muscle tension and relaxing the nervous system and is useful with assisting those you that have trouble falling asleep to feeling tense. Magnesium may also be involved in the production of melatonin as it does assist those who sleep lightly or wake easily through the night.

Vitamin D has done the trick for many of you. We are seeing some very low vitamin D results lately so remember that your ideal range on a blood test is 100-125nmol/L, especially if you have sleep issues. We assist many of you to achieve these levels with a prescription but ideally you would maintain the level with a lower daily dose. In the winter 5000IU daily will maintain the levels close to 100nmol/L once that level has been achieved. In summer 2000IU daily is sufficient if you tend to cover up and use sun block in the sunshine. Vitamin D may also assist with the production of melatonin as most people find it is useful for improving the quality of sleep and resolving problems with waking through the night and restless sleep.

Some of you have used melatonin on prescription to assist with sleep. This can help with getting off to sleep in some but very many people have found it most beneficial in improving the quality of their sleep so that they feel more rested in the morning. The correct dose for the individual can lie between 1mg and 12mg a night. Some people only need to open a 1mg capsule and sprinkle it on their tongue. It is best to discuss the dosing with your prescribing GP.

We hope this information assists you in achieving deep, restful sleep so you can wake refreshed and ready to launch into your day.