Supplements for Sleep

You have a hard time sleeping, don’t you? It can take a few different forms:

  • It takes you a long time to fall asleep
  • You fall asleep just fine, but you wake up throughout the night
  • You wake up without feeling refreshed

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Original source: here.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the most effective nutritional supplements for sleep, as well as why they work.

But first, let’s get the basics of sleep hygiene out of the way. After all, if you can fix an issue without taking supplements, why not do so? So here are the basics of sleep hygiene:

  • Some people can drink caffeine-based beverages right before bed, and fall asleep just fine. Other people can have caffeine-based beverages at 1 in the afternoon, and not fall asleep. So if you’re the latter, avoid caffeine-based beverages within 10 hours of bed time. These include the obvious, like coffee, but also the less obvious, like tea, and some pop.
  • Keep your room temperature around 18-19 degrees. During sleep, your body temperature is designed to fall. It reaches a low point during the night. Room temperature when sleeping should be lower than room temperature when you’re awake. Sometimes, the difference between waking up feeling tired, and waking up feeling like a million bucks is just 1-2 degrees.
  • Don’t do anything stimulating right before bed, like exercise, or particularly exciting movies. Like those with Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone, and Liam Neeson. Save those for earlier in the day.

And now, it’s almost time for the supplements. Before I get to that, I want to refer you to an earlier point: if you can solve an issue without supplements, why go that route? With our clients, we use a hands-on technique, called “Bowen” to help them fall asleep. Typically, between 3 and 5 sessions, 5-7 days apart are all that’s necessary to help a person sleep like a baby more or less permanently. So it’s not like you’ll need to keep doing Bowen to help you sleep. If you’d like to see whether you can fix your sleep issue with Bowen, instead of supplements, fill out this quick, 1-minute survey.

Lastly, before we get to the good stuff, I have to give the obligatory disclaimer. I’m not a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV. And yes, my mom is disappointed about that (she doesn’t quite understand the concept of “entrepreneur”). But that’s not the point. The point is that the supplements I recommend are to be taken at your own risk. If you’re taking medications, these supplements may or may not interact with your medications, so speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

So without further ado, let’s get to the moment you’ve been waiting for: supplements.

Magnesium 

For people who can’t take advantage of the Bowen technique, we recommend magnesium to help you sleep. You might be thinking “but Igor, I already use magnesium, and I’m still having a hard time sleeping.” Well, my friend, there may be 2 issues at hand: form and dosage.

If you’ll walk into a health food store, you’ll notice several different types of magnesium: magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, and a few others.

Different forms of magnesium work on different tissues… and some don’t work all that well at all. Like magnesium oxide doesn’t get absorbed very well.

Magnesium citrate affects your digestive system. Magnesium taurate affects your cardiovascular system. But magnesium glycinate affects your nervous and muscular systems, so that’s the most effective form to help you sleep. The best magnesium glycinate I’m aware of is that of Genestra, because they make it in liquid, which is absorbed better than tablets, capsules and powders. And as usual, I have no financial affiliation with Genestra, so you’re getting unbiased advice here.

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Original source: here.

The second issue is dosage.

Different people have different requirements for magnesium. If you’re living a fairly stress-free life, eat lots of vegetables, and don’t exercise very hard, your requirements for supplemental magnesium are pretty low or nonexistent. If, on the other hand, you’re under a lot of stress, and exercise pretty hard, your requirements for magnesium rise.

So we recommend starting at 300 mg per day, taken after 4 PM in divided doses. If you end up sleeping well at that dose, stick with it. If you still don’t sleep well after about a week, increase the dose to 400 mg per day, after 4 PM in divided doses. Keep going up like that until you’ve either started to sleep well, or you’ve reached 1000 mg.

How Does it Work? 

Magnesium works because it relaxes different tissues of the body. In this case, we’re trying to relax the muscles and nervous system.

Magnesium and calcium are opposite minerals. Calcium helps with contraction and tension. Magnesium helps with relaxation. When there is an imbalance between calcium and magnesium in favour of calcium, you start having a hard time sleeping.

5-HTP

5-HTP is our second most frequently-recommended supplement. We start our clients off at 300-500 mg, and use the same process as with magnesium to figure out the correct dosage.

The way it works is by being a precursor to melatonin, the hormone you release when you’re asleep.

5-HTP gets converted to serotonin (AKA “the happy chemical), which eventually gets converted to melatonin. So it’s giving you the raw material necessary to make melatonin.

Melatonin 

And lastly, the most common sleep supplement, melatonin. Why is it listed last here? Because it’s pretty misunderstood. At my seminars, a lot of people complain to me “I take/took melatonin, but it’s not helping me sleep.”

Again, there are a couple issues at hand: form and dosage.

As you know from my past newsletters, good supplements do not come from Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart and Costco. So if you bought your melatonin there, it explains why it’s not working for you.

The best melatonin is the kind you drop under the tongue.

In terms of dosage, we start our clients at 500 micrograms, and work them up either to 5 mg, or a dose that works, whichever comes first.

Furthermore, you have to use the right tool for the job. Melatonin’s primary function is in helping you fall asleep. It seems to be less effective in helping you stay asleep.

 

So there you have it: our 3 most powerful supplements for sleep.

You might be asking yourself though “do I need all 3?” The answer is that no single strategy works for 100% of the people, 100% of the time. So for the cases when one supplement doesn’t work, use a different one.

And again, I want to reiterate what I mentioned at the beginning: supplementation is our third choice in helping people fall asleep.

Our first choice is improving sleep hygiene.

Our second choice is Bowen. As I mentioned earlier, if you can get the job done without supplements, why not do so? If you’d like to see whether you qualify for a Bowen session, fill out this 1-minute survey.

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