How did you sleep last night? If you answered not well, you are not alone! 30% of all Americans have sleeping problems. The National Institute of Health recommends 7-9 hours a sleep for adults (18-64 years old). If you are not getting the minimum hours of sleep you put yourself at risk. Sleep is vital for good health and healing.
New research has shown that the brain cleans itself when you sleep. The brain actually shrinks and there is a significant increase of cerebrospinal fluid pumped into and out of the brain. This action washes away proteins that are toxic to your brain cells. Without a good night sleep these toxins build up. Beta Amyloid, which forms sticky plaques in the brain and is associated with Alzhiemers, is one of the waste products removed from the brain when you sleep.
Web MD lists 10 serious effects of sleep loss: 1- Increased accidents (100,000 fatigue related car accidents a year); 2-Dumbs you down; 3-Increased risk of serious health problems (including- heart disease & stroke); 4- Kills sex drive; 5-Depression; 6- Ages your skin; 7- Forgetfulness; 8- Weight Gain; 9- Increased risk of death; and 10- Impairs judgement. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1
You know who you are. Do you lie in bed at night wired? Are you sending out emails a 2 or 4 AM? Do you feel like your brain is in a fog most of the day? Chances are you are sleep deprived. There are dozens of reputable websites which have tips for a good night’s sleep. These tips include: exercising regularly; avoiding caffeine products after 3pm; No TV or electronic devices in the bedroom; keeping your bedroom dark; going to sleep the same time every night; avoiding back-lit reading devices before bed; avoid big meals in the evening; avoid alcohol before bed; get fresh air during the day; and there are more.
What if you do these things and you still can’t consistently get a good night’s sleep? There are prescription medications and some over-the –counter products you can try. The problem is that many of them have side effects. They can also cause you to wake up feeling “out of it” and not well rested.
There is a sleep aide that has been used for 1000s of years and has no down-side. It is not addictive and there are no side-effects. I have been recommending this herbal supplement for years to my patients who complain of not being able to sleep. The herb is Valerian root, and I recommend the Metagenics formula MyoCalm PM. In addition to Valerian root it also contains magnesium and calcium which relax muscles. There is also Passionflower, hops and lemon balm, which also have calming effects.
Two weeks ago we were having dinner with some friends, only to hear for the 1st time that the father and oldest child were having significant sleep problems. They had tried everything and were at wits end, especially for the teenager. I told them about Valerian root and they were more than willing to try it. The great news is that both are sleeping much better!
So, if you do not sleep well at night and you have exhausted all the most popular tips, why not give Valerian root a try. We always have MyoCalm PM in the office. If you are reading this at 3 AM because you can not sleep, you can even order metagenics products on-line. Go to http://performancehealth.metagenics.com/store and create an account. You get 20% off your 1st order and the shipping is always free!