Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for the body and plays a huge role in reducing aging, especially for the brain. At night the brain literally detoxifies itself during sleep draining the byproducts from the day’s activities. Other parts of the body also go through reparative processes that help maintain organ and tissue health.
To understand why sleep aids don’t work we have to review some key basic knowledge.
Biochemically speaking, sleep is controlled by a neurotransmitter-like compound called melatonin. Commonly referred to as the, ‘the hormone of darkness,’ it helps regulate circadian rhythms among other things.
Simply put, serotonin is a precursor for melatonin. The pineal gland converts serotonin to melatonin in the presence of darkness. Think of serotonin and melatonin as two opposite sides of the same coin. Serotonin is created in the presence of light and is referred to as the ‘happiness hormone’. Melatonin needs three basic things to exist; serotonin, the pineal gland to be working properly, and darkness to be most effective.
Four Main Factors Impact Sleep
Endocrine balance (hormone suppliers)
The amino acid required for both serotonin and melatonin is tryptophan. While it’s true that some people have a tryptophan deficiency, and increasing intake alone can solve sleep problems, this is by no means a majority of cases. It may initially be beneficial, but quickly fails to improve sleep.
A majority of people suffering from insomnia have the following contributing factors; stress, inflammation, and poor gut health. People also need to consider that sleep studies can determine if sleep apnea contributes to their insomnia.
Increased stress levels increase the cortisol levels and decrease B vitamins. Elevated cortisol levels in the morning wakes us up, so this clearly is not going to contribute to a good night’s sleep.
Inflammation and Gut Health; while these two in combination cause many people to suffer from chronic inflammation, people are unaware that it stems from poor gut health. The typical diet increases candida overgrowth, decreasing healthy bacteria leading to a leaky gut. Once the digestive tract is compromised inflammation begins and the body reacts by secreting cortisol to suppress the inflammation. Again, we are in the presence of elevated cortisol which interrupts sleep. This connection between gut health and sleep is now widely accepted in the scientific community.
Finally! … why don’t sleep aids work?
Sleep aids don’t address the four triggers discussed earlier; muscle relaxation, mid-brain hyperactivity, endocrine imbalance or intestinal health.
3 Types of Sleep Aids
Melatonin receptors stimulants such as Rozerem.
Benzodiazepines target GABA (amino acid reduces anxiety & mid-brain activity)
i.e., Ativan and Restoril.
Nonbenzodiazepines – also target GABA
i.e., Ambien and Lunesta
Prescription drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) stop serotonin from being reabsorbed.
In addition to not addressing all the issues, these sleep aids have serious side effects and can become addictive. Even natural melatonin is addictive, a condition of which many people are unaware. Any amount large or small of external melatonin is recognized by the body and triggers the pineal gland to reduce its own melatonin secretion. So that is not a successful path and it creates long-term problems.
Proper exercise, diet, the right amount of exposure to light and darkness plus addressing the four causes of sleep interruption are the best solutions to getting a good night’s sleep. People also need to consider participating in sleep studies to determine if they are suffering from sleep apnea.
The four biochemical causes of insomnia are covered in our product Zen Sleep and often people find that combining this with Leaky Gut Repair will improve their digestive health to reduce chronic inflammation. More information on leaky gut and how it originates can be found in this article.
Food sources that contain melatonin are tart cherries. Other sources that contribute to melatonin creation include bananas, oatmeal and milk. Serotonin boosting foods include the amino acid tryptophan, seafood, dairy, chicken, nuts, seeds and eggs. Recall that the more serotonin in your system the more melatonin potential at night.
Many people look for alternatives to diabetic pharmaceutical drugs like Metformin™. At Liver Medic, we receive many inquiries regarding drug interaction of alternatives with Metformin as a common concern.
Americans filled 76.9 million
prescriptions for Metformin in 2016.
In the United States, approximately 26 Million people are diabetic, and of that 95% are Type II diabetics, a condition influenced by lifestyle not genetics. This is actually good news. Before one starts blaming the diabetic victims, please review articles on GMOs and addictive processed foods. Many of the health hazards of these foods are deliberately hidden from consumers and short of having a degree in chemistry it’s difficult for the individual to determine danger levels..
Metformin is the generic name, but is also found in brand names such as; Glucophage™, Glucophage XR™, Glumetza™, Fortamet™ and Riomet™. Metformin is an oral medication that lowers blood glucose (sugar) by influencing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and is used for treating Type II diabetes.
Metformin has even been used to treat liver disease. The problem with this application is that the liver is responsible for breaking down drugs. That Metformin is a drug that the body needs to detoxify makes us wonder about the effectiveness of this application as a drug versus a clearly more effective alternative.
The connection physicians make with Metformin, diabetes and liver disease does have a common thread.. The liver is responsible for regulating the insulin cycles. The work of the liver is to signal the pancreas to secrete insulin, breaking down insulin and storing much of the glycogen in the body.
Mainstream medicine and the drug industry have historically misinformed the public that diabetes is a blood sugar problem when it is actually an insulin resistant issue as in the case of Type II diabetes. Treating a misinformed public can make people treatable patients, but does nothing to solve the underlying condition.. Responsible medical advice is to reduce or eliminate sugar or foods that quickly turn into sugar. Care must be taken to avoid regulating an insulin cycle that is trying to strike a balance in an out of balance system. This includes avoiding the grains we are told are so healthy for us coming from the Midwest grain belt.
This is typically made worse by a compromised gut lining, referred to as ‘leaky gut. Ingesting processed sugary foods boost candida populations. Along with food pesticides these compounds conspire to pit an intestinal lining that’s no longer sealing off partially digested foods and harmful organisms against the rest of the body. These sugars then travel to the liver for neutralizing. When the liver becomes overwhelmed, which is often the case, a fatty liver will result and liver function will suffer. This has serious consequences for regulatory responsibilities like insulin and blood regulation.
Insulin resistance in the case of Type II diabetes is the body’s defense response to an overload of sugar. When the cells receive too much glucose from the blood cells respond by limiting the signal to store more. This leaves the blood with excess free-floating sugar and will show on a blood sugar test as Type II diabetes.
Diabetic drugs will force sugar into the cells creating an imbalance in the body. The real solution is to reduce sugar and carbohydrate intake. The diabetic person must eat a diet high in protein, with clean healthy fats and vegetables.
Most recent studies show an even higher correlation between diabetes and Leptin than with insulin. Leptin is intricately involved in the process between brain and liver to determine how much glucose is stored in the body’s organs as opposed to how much glucose is released. An article on the important role of Leptin is forthcoming..
A recent study out of Washington University finds the heart burns more fat and less sugar under PET scans than normal in men taking metformin. This puts tremendous strain on the heart, leading to heart failure. Metformin also contributes to the deficiency of B12. This vitamin is hugely important to making sure the nervous system and blood cells are healthy. B12 also helps to reduce anemia in women.
Lifestyle changes are the best and only way to treat Type II diabetes. Drugs will mask the problem and create diseases that will be seen down the road such as heart disease, high cholesterol and cancers. Keep in mind, the body can use multiple forms of inputs for energy from protein converting to fat or to sugar. Cancer cells have only one choice, sugar.