Multiple times each day I find myself wandering back to the Sleep Aids aisle with Pharmaca customers who are having a difficult time finding rest. Do you have problems falling asleep? Staying asleep? Are you a night owl who needs a siesta each day? There are many reasons why people experience sleeplessness—and pinpointing the true problem can help to find the best solution.
If you find your best work is done at night but you're sleepy in the morning and throughout the day, you might have what’s called a reverse cortisol curve. Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, typically spikes around normal waking times (e.g. 6 or 7 a.m.), and again at around noon. This allows a healthy human to get the day started, with an extra boost at lunchtime. But the stresses of everyday life and the standard American diet can result in a flatline of cortisol during the day and a spike at night—which manifests in evening energy surges and complete fatigue in the morning. To correct this, you can consider using natural supplements like rhodiola in the morning to mimic the normal cortisol patterns, and magnolia bark at night to rapidly decrease cortisol. You can also begin to address blood sugar issues, as these two concerns seem to be closely linked.
For those who can fall asleep but wake frequently during the night, magnolia bark may also be helpful. This can prevent cortisol spikes from happening at night. Sometimes, eating a high-protein snack before bedtime can also help to regulate blood sugar while you sleep.
The most common solution for trouble falling asleep is melatonin. This is a natural hormone that our bodies produce when we should be sleeping, and it’s a potent antioxidant in high amounts. Because of this, melatonin loses its sedative qualities with doses higher than 5 mg. When first trying melatonin, the key to success is going “low and slow,” as some side effects can include vivid dreams or nightmares, or a groggy feeling in the morning. Start with the lowest dose possible, typically 1 mg, and work your way up to find the perfect dose for you.
There are a myriad of ways to address sleeplessness, and a qualified natural health practitioner can help you find solutions tailored to you. Stop in and chat with one of the licensed health experts at the Madison Pharmaca to help you rest easy tonight!