How to Sleep Better Tonight

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?  Or worse yet, you wake up in the middle of the night and just lay there for hours?  I remember having this problem after my daughter was born.  Though I was terribly exhausted and desperate for sleep, I would lay there for hours unable to fall asleep!  I occasionally have early morning awakenings, usually when I have a lot going on during the week.  Nowadays, I have a few tricks in my pocket to fix the problem.

Most sleep problems are rooted in Vitamin B deficit.  Not all, but most.  The hormones that help you fall and stay asleep are synthesized using the Vitamin B family-so if you’re running low or worse yet, suffering from a severe Vitamin B deficit, you’re going to be the night owl at home.  Vitamin B 12 deficits can cause sleep problems because this vitamin plays an important role in converting serotonin to melatonin.  Low B12=low serotonin=low melatonin=really poopy mood and little sleep.

But wait, this gets better.  Sleep is when we actually manufacture serotonin.  So if you’re not sleeping, you aren’t replenishing and restoring your serotonin levels, which means that you’re not going to sleep again tonight.  You’ll probably have problems with your  mood, too, since serotonin is the “feeling safe and happy” neurotransmitter.  You see how this turns into a really nasty cycle, right?  Low Vitamin Bs beget poor sleep, poor sleep leads to low serotonin, low serotonin leads to shrinks, and shrinks lead to meds that can worsen your sleep problem (though I realize that meds can help sometimes, too.)  The point is this:  sleep is crucial to good good and sleep maintenance!!

So why do we run low on Vitamin Bs?  This is plural since Vitamin B is a family of vitamins-not just one-and they are all really important.  One of the main reasons we tend to run low on Vitamin B12 is chronic stress, which causes us to burn through our stress related neurotransmitters more quickly than usual.  This is one of the many reasons chronic stress can cause significant changes within the brain.Vitamin B12 is crucial ingredient involved in manufacturing neurotransmitters, so naturally, we burn through this vitamin (and others) when we go into overdrive.  In using a good Vitamin B supplement, you can support your body’s desperate effort to restore your B12 levels and feel better all around.  You’ll support your adrenal glands, too-adrenal fatigue will obliterate your sleep, believe me.

Another reason people tend to run super low on Vitamin Bs is smoking.  We all know those who get up in the middle of the night to smoke, and Vitamin B deficit plays a role in this.  Smoking depletes Vitamin B 12 to the point that the person has trouble relaxing and sleeping, and then they get up in the middle of the night to have a smoke again.  It’s another nasty cycle that can worsen the effects of stress and anxiety.

Any form of stress will deplete Vitamin Bs, including medications (yes, the body does interpret medication as a physical stressor sometimes), over exercise, food allergies, poor diets, and sleep deprivation (which I believe is the real, underlying reason for postpartum depression, but that’s another post entirely).

Lastly, alcohol will cause sleep problems, particularly for women.  Alcohol generally causes early morning awakenings-the kind when you wake up before dawn and can’t go back to sleep.  Even just a drink or two can cause this problem for some women who are more sensitive to serotonin drops.  Since alcohol causes an instant serotonin surge, there is an equal and opposite drop after the effect wears off, which means that you’ll wake up too early. Remember that alcohol also interferes with deep sleep, which is why you don’t feel so bright eyed and restored after a bender.  Nix the alcohol if you have sleep problems and have wild sex some chamomile tea instead.

Lastly (yes, I said lastly last time but this is the last lastly), the electric circuits in your bedroom can interfere with sleep.  Don’t keep iPhones, iPads, or any electrical device within several feet of your head when you sleep.   If your home has faulty wiring, you’re in real trouble because you’ll have some measurable electromagnetic radiation going on around your bed.  Electricity, or electromagnetic radiation, can basically interrupt your pineal gland and interfere with melatonin production.  If that happens, your sleep quality will be poor or you won’t get much at all.  You can use a Gauss meter from somewhere like Lowes to measure the electricity in your sleeping area, or else cut the circuit breaker to your bedroom at night.

Here is how to fix this problem and make sure it doesn’t come back:  chronic stress management and supplementation.  Chronic stress management is a fancy word used to describe 1)the behaviors you use to cope well with stress like exercise, laughing, relaxation techniques, traveling, anything that you find fun, etc. and 2) your perception of the stressor.  Changing your thoughts about the stressor is the key to feeling better, and that’s beyond the scope of this post-here is an excellent technique for chronic stress management. You’ll find a good trick for dealing with the problems in life that tend to put us into overdrive there.

That’s all for today, folks.  Those of you who read this blog probably know that this is a repost, but I have tweaked the article with new information.  Sleep is the most delicate behavior we have-it’s a great barometer for our stress and lifestyle.  If you have a particular sleep problem and it’s not addressed here, feel free to write to me and I’ll see what I can dig up for you.  Adios, amigos!