Pillar 2: Sleep and Rest
Have you ever pondered these questions?
- How did sleep-deprived people drift off before the creation of Tylenol PM?
- Are most over-the-counter sleep aids really addictive?
- Why should I eat a snack before bedtime?
- Do seniors suffer from insomnia more than other age groups? Why?
- What’s the difference between an over-the-counter sleep aid and one that is all natural?
to order The Seven Pillars of Health
and learn why the Word of God offers a better night’s sleep than any over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid.
(Excerpt from Day 13, “Sleep Aids”)
Pillar 2: Sleep and Rest
I had a major sleep problem some years ago when my son was in rebellion and when we were having financial problems. I’d lie in bed at night and ask myself, What if this happens? What if that happens? I did a combination of things: I took 5-HTP, meditated on the Word of God, and trusted Him. “He will keep him in perfect peace” became very real to me. I ate a little bedtime snack so my blood sugar wouldn’t drop too low.
Ten million people take a prescription medication to sleep, but the very best sleep aid is the Word of God. I don’t mean that the Word is so boring it will put you to sleep; rather, it puts all things in perspective and offers perfect peace. Nothing else comes close. Billions of dollars could be saved if people would stop taking Tylenol PM or any other sleep medications.
Acceptable Sleep Aids
In general, sleep medications are to be avoided. Most are addictive and disrupt natural sleep cycles. But sometimes natural sleep aids can give a gentle nudge that we need in times of crisis or while traveling and waiting for our bodies to adjust to a new time zone. Some natural sleep aids have proven to be helpful in getting to sleep faster and achieving a more restful state of sleep.
Here are a couple natural remedies to take when sleep is elusive.
Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries in Europe for sleep. Several clinical studies have demonstrated valerian’s ability to relieve insomnia. One double-blind study of twenty patients with insomnia received a combination of valerian (160 mg) and Melissa officinalis (lemon balm, 80 mg) or benzodiazepine (triazolam, 0.125 mg) or a placebo. The group receiving the valerian and Melissa officinalis had a comparable effect to the sleep medication but did not have the daytime drowsiness.In general, clinical studies with valerian extracts suggest that the mild sleep-inducing effect of valerian decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality.
Valerian may be combined with other herbs, such as lemon balm and passionflower, to potentiate its effect. It can be taken as a tincture, a tea, or fluid extract; however, the taste is very unappealing. Therefore I recommend a valerian extract in capsules 150 to 300 mg taken one hour before bedtime.
Dr. Colbert Approved
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try drinking a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea or Yogi Bedtime Tea one to two hours before bedtime. They are all-natural, no-caffeine herbal teas. Sleepytime Tea contains chamomile, tilia estella, and 25 mg of valerian. Yogi Bedtime Teas contains organic skullcap leaf. However, do not give these teas to children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or on medications, consult with your physician before drinking the tea.
Melatonin is a hormone manufactured from serotonin and secreted by the pineal gland, which is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. As people age, sometimes the pineal gland will calcify, affecting levels of melatonin.
Melatonin supplementation will only help you fall asleep if melatonin levels are low. If melatonin is given to patients with insomnia who have normal melatonin levels, it will not produce a sedative effect. Low melatonin levels are, however, a common cause of insomnia in the elderly.
Did You Know…?
Light slows the production of melatonin, which is the reason you are more alert and energetic on sunny days and more lethargic on cloudy days.
While light (or lack of it) affects the production of melatonin, there are other factors as well that may play a role in its production. Start with 1 mg, taken two hours or less before bedtime. Use it only occasionally, and do not give it to children.