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  • Supplements for Better Sleep

    Hi all,

    I've suffered from insomnia and light sleep on and off my whole life. Lately it's been back and pretty bad, can't fall asleep, keep waking up in the middle of the night, so on and so forth.

    Been wondering if there are supplements that can be taken to improve the quality of sleep?

  • #2
    Melatonin - there are some threads about taking it with some useful info

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    • #3
      Magnesium can be helpful as well. Very calming at night. HTH!
      My Before/After Pics
      Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

      "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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      • #4
        Magnesium is one most of us get too little of, but it is part of a chain, and a deficiency elsewhere in the chain will undermine any good your magnesium intake might do. So, get enough magnesium, but also enough D3, K2, boron, B's, C, zinc, calcium, etc, etc.

        Quit caffeine. Reduce light exposure in the hours leading up to bedtime. Have big meals earlier in the day. Leave heavy brain work for earlier in the day. Get enough exercise. Use light and melatonin to get your sleep cycle in line with the timing of the rest of your life.

        People's sleep cycles vary considerably. So, for instance, your un-adjusted cycle could be 25 or 26 hours long, rather than 24. This is surprisingly common. Note that the delay is effectively cumulative. If your cycle is 25 hours, you are off by 1 the first cycle, 2 the second cycle, 3 the third cycle, etc. Someone with this issue is essentially always fighting jet lag. Look for one of the several good books on this subject, or consult a sleep specialist if you think this fits your picture.

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        • #5
          I used to take ZMA at bedtime and it worked well. Now I just take magnesium and zinc (cheaper) and I am still sleeping much better than prior to supplementation.
          Start weight 403 09/29/2010
          Current weight 335
          On my way to becoming half the man I used to be...

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          • #6
            Agree with Mog. I just listened to an older The Paleo Solution podcast (Robb Wolf) where he discusses Melatonin as being safe and helpful in getting a good night's rest.

            Carrie

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            • #7
              5-HTP and L-Tryptophan with the added bonus of increasing serotonin thereby providing tremendous relief from depression.

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              • #8
                In Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T. S. Wiley and Bent Formby they say that supplementing melatonin is actually a bad idea.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Adrianne View Post
                  In Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T. S. Wiley and Bent Formby they say that supplementing melatonin is actually a bad idea.
                  really? Oh no, just reading that now. Should reserve my opinion until I have finished it! Though - in a number of threads here people have found it helpful

                  Thanks

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                  • #10
                    I've used Kava for a while and find that it does a great job of relaxing me. It's a root from the pepper family that has been used by Polynesians for decades. It can be a bit pricey for the good stuff and it honestly tastes pretty horrible, but if you can stomach it you'll sleep like a baby. Make sure to do some research before you use it because it is considered by some to be a drug.

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                    • #11
                      Kava is really good at getting to sleep, I tried it when i was in fiji, slept like a baby haha.

                      Meletonin is also good, it work, but i've heard if you keep supplementing it, then your brain won't produce enough when you try to get off it, but it's good to get your sleeping pattern back under control.

                      I supplement mag and zinc, this helps me sleep mostly. I wouldn't mind getting some kava as well. herb/drug same thing really, has an effect on your body.

                      anyway, hope you get some better sleep

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                      • #12
                        I like Herbs Etc Deep Sleep. It can take about a week to really start working.
                        I have reservations about supplementing on a regular basis with melatonin, since it's a hormone. It can interfere with thyroid function: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12019356

                        Other things that may be helpful are tryptophan or theanine. When I had major insomnia years ago, I went to see an acupuncturist and it worked miracles. I was waking up multiple times/night or just once but being awake for hours. Within a few weeks, I was staying asleep.

                        My issue now is excessive REM cycling and vividly dreaming all night. It makes me so tired! I'm experimenting with inositol and it does seem to be dialing down the dreaming.
                        http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

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                        • #13
                          I vote for vitamin/mineral supplementation and lifestyle adjustments over hormonal supplementation. Even if it has been shown to be safe and effective it's something your body should be producing enough of on its own. The Primal way to get testosterone and HGH isn't to mainline it but to do compound exercises that maximize their production. I see this as an analogous situation.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DIESEL View Post
                            I've used Kava for a while and find that it does a great job of relaxing me. It's a root from the pepper family that has been used by Polynesians for decades. It can be a bit pricey for the good stuff and it honestly tastes pretty horrible, but if you can stomach it you'll sleep like a baby. Make sure to do some research before you use it because it is considered by some to be a drug.
                            No, it's considered by ALL to be a drug, because it IS a drug and its importation and sale is restricted in some countries as it has cannabinoid like properties and has been linked to liver damage. Kava Kava is banned in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and it is prohibited for sale here (though its importation is not). It is also banned in parts of Australia (Western and Northern territories, I believe) I'm not sure about NZ, however.

                            I don't wish to sound too heavily authoritarian, but I don't want naive folk believing KK to be just another herbal sleep aid, like Valerian, chamomile or hops; I have taken KK myself and I didn't like the effects it gave me (too much like weed - and, yes, I've smoked that, too).

                            KK is NOT safe unless you know the safe limits (and our govt has decreed there aren't any, hence its prohibition). It can also be highly addictive (in Polynesia and Fiji, where it's most widely used by men, wives are complaining that their families are being left destitute as their menfolk spend all their money on kava.)

                            Also, because kava is a drug, it should NOT be taken with other drugs with similar properties (anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills) nor should it be taken prior to, or immediately after, consumption of alcohol (this combination can be fatal - I have done it and it landed me in A&E) and it should be avoided altogether if you have liver damage.

                            See http://www.aafp.org/afp/990301ap/1239.html for more info and this article - http://www.personalhealthzone.com/kavakava.html - also has useful info.

                            I read an article (though I'll be damned if I can find it now!) which stated that our previous administration was considering classifying KK as Class C along with salvia (the so-called 'legal cannabis'. Cannabis itself has was reclassified as Class B 3 years ago).

                            Here's the link to the Wikipedia entry for KK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava_kava

                            It's not a drug to be taken lightly. If anyone is considering using it, then I would recommend buying it in powdered form (NOT capsules as they could potentially cause accidental OD) and also investing in an accurate scale (I have a little pocket scale which is almost pharmaceutical grade (it weighs 200g in 10mg increments)). It is easier to regulate intake if you use the PURE powdered root and weigh it yourself (and I've capitalised pure because like cannabis, it can be cut with all sorts of nasties, just to bulk it out).

                            Okay, I'll shut up now, but don't mess with KK, for gods' sakes!

                            Sarah
                            La tristesse durera toujours...

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                            • #15
                              The best solution is good hot sex before going to sleep ;--))

                              Grizz

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