Tuesday, May 06, 2014

New discovery helps stop insomnia….

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 5-6-2014

This is really good news for two reasons.

Besides the health dangers of insomnia and the very dangerous and surprisingly ineffective drugs for it,
the two main problems with insomnia are that it robs you of sleep AND your feeling of control is harmed.

(This post has three parts:  the current and exciting new research; a second known way to get very similar effects; and a set of other ways known to help you sleep better that are also effective.)

1.  The method tested in this research was listed in part -- in an article I read on ways to get better sleep by Mike Geary some time ago. He recommended it just before bedtime.

But the new research showed that using it twice a day instead of once added to the effect!

AND, using that twice a day style TESTED to deliver an average of 84 minute more sleep!

That’s a huge difference!  If, with insomnia, you actually get 5 and a half hours of sleep, you’ll still feel and be deprived of sleep.  But if you add that hour and 24 minutes and get 6 hours and 54 minutes of sleep, you’ll get just short of what is beginning to look like an ideal 7 hours of sleep.

You’ll feel more in control and BE better rested and less stressed.

Then if you add other ways to stop insomnia or get better sleep that also work, you may get rid of insomnia as a problem.  (We review several of those below; AND we list the medical device that also has tested to help people with severe insomnia that can enable you to avoid the drugs.)

Since people who have bad insomnia increase their risk of stroke, I just found out, that’s good health news too.

It’s also even better health news for people who might have considered or be taking the drugs or “sleeping pills” for insomnia.  Their hypnotic effects have a direct death rate from people doing life threatening or ending things without waking up.  But almost as bad, the death rate of people who take them from all causes and from getting cancer in particular increases dramatically.  And the more of these drugs you take and the longer you do it, the worse those risks get!

1.  First, the new research tested having people drink tart cherry juice or take tart cherry extract first thing in the morning in addition to the already existing advice to drink some shortly before bedtime.

The two main effects of tart cherry that this apparently uses are that it is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory food AND it provides melatonin or precursors to it and boosts serotonin too. 

Further, like other highly nutritious whole foods, tart cherries may supply literally hundreds of other compounds or co-factors that add to their effects.

Since tart cherries and their extract turn off gout pain and gout is caused in part by harm to the inner surface of your blood vessels, that may well mean that tart cherries help heal this damage.

That means you will have fewer pains that prevent sleep; and your heart disease and stroke risk will be less too!

Then at night when the serotonin & melatonin boosting effects kick in too, this may be more effective because of the natural co-factors besides those two compounds. 

(Here’s the link to the study report I saw in Medical News Today and a key quote:

“Adults with insomnia benefit from tart cherry juice

Wednesday 30 April 2014

A morning and evening ritual of tart cherry juice may help you sleep better at night, suggests a new study presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting.
Researchers from Louisiana State University found that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia.

These findings were presented at the "Dietary Bioactive Components: Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Dietary Bioactive Components" section of the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, which is being held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego. The findings have been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Insomnia is a common health problem among older adults, impacting an estimated 23 to 34 percent of the population ages 65 and older. Insomnia - defined as trouble sleeping on average more than three nights per week - can be an annoyance for some, but long-lasting sleeplessness can seriously affect health, especially in the elderly.

Insomnia is linked to a higher prevalence of chronic pain, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and a decline of cognitive function, or dementia.

Individuals with insomnia may turn to sleeping pills; however, these sedative medications have been found to increase risk of falls in the elderly - which makes it increasingly important to find more natural sleep-aids without these apparent side effects, said co-author Frank L. Greenway, MD, director of the outpatient research clinic at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.

"Sleeping pills may be an option for younger insomniacs, but for older people these medications quadruple the risk of falling, which can lead to broken hips and, often, earlier death," Greenway said.

For the randomized crossover clinical trial, seven older adults (average age 68) with insomnia consumed 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks, followed by a two-week washout period, then a two-week period when another beverage was consumed (placebo). Greenway and his colleagues studied their slumber in a controlled setting, using overnight polysomnography to evaluate sleep efficiency, such as sleep onset and duration. Participants also completed questionnaires related to sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Additionally, blood work was conducted on each participant.

The researchers found that those who drank the Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and at night were able to sleep more than an hour longer each night (averaging 84 minutes) compared to the placebo, and their sleep tended to be more efficient.

Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. While previous studies have suggested that tart cherry juice has sleep-enhancing benefits, Greenway and colleagues set out to help explain why. They wanted to understand if the benefits were due to the melatonin content or another component in Montmorency tart cherries.

They believe the ruby red pigments in tart cherry juice, known as proanthocyanidins, also play a role. These natural polyphenolic compounds are especially abundant in Montmorency tart cherries. In the study, tart cherry juice helped to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid and a precursor to serotonin that helps with sleep. The juice was shown in cells to inhibit an enzyme (indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase) that degrades tryptophan. Tryptophan degradation is a known predictor of insomnia and is also related to inflammation, said co-authors Jack Losso and John Finley, professors in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.

"Even though the amount of tryptophan in tart cherry juice is smaller than a normal dose given to aid sleep, the compounds in tart cherries could prevent the tryptophan from breaking down so it's able to work in the body more effectively," Greenway explained. "These compounds may help to improve tryptophan bioavailability for serotonin synthesis, which could have a positive effect on sleep. Increasing serotonin also helps improve mood and decrease inflammation."

Greenway believes it's the unique combination of melatonin and tryptophan in Montmorency tart cherries that is likely contributing to the sleep benefits. He and his colleagues conclude that drinking a glass of tart cherry juice in the morning and the evening may be a better and a safer way to treat insomnia.

Adults with insomnia benefit from tart cherry juice
A morning and evening ritual of tart cherry juice may help you sleep better at
night, suggests a new study presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting.)

* * * * *

Note that drinking 16 ounces a day of any juice provides enough fructose to be fattening and even might have some negative health effects particularly on blood sugar.

You can however, get this effect and possibly even a stronger one, by taking tart cherry extract supplements with water instead of drinking the juice.

2.  Second way known to get similar effects that may as much as double the effect of the twice a day tart cherries:

Tart cherries turn down inflammation and pain and discomfort that may interfere with sleep and this new research reports they also boost serotonin in the brain.

But in the past few months, Medical News Today reported a study that taking enough vitamin D3, 3,000 to 5,000 iu a day, reduced the amount of aches and pains people had.  And, another study also, in Medical News Today within the past few months,  reported that taking enough vitamin D3, 3,000 to 5,000 iu a day, increased the level of serotonin in the brain.

Since these are the two most likely insomnia reducing effects of the tart cherries, boosting them in this other way too may well work even better.

Doing both looks highly promising!

Because taking that much vitamin D3 has so many other reported benefits, and is inexpensive besides, adding this method makes a great deal of sense if you have insomnia and haven’t yet begun taking enough vitamin D3.

3.   The list of other effective ways to sleep better:

Adding one or more of these will also improve results!

a)  The most effective other insomnia reducing and sleep quality improving method I know is to do some form of vigorous exercise most days of every week even if it’s for only a ten to twenty minute session.

This also will make you fit, stronger, less fat, and healthier in dozens of other ways too!

Research shows it boosts sleep quality and cuts insomnia best to do it first thing in the morning.

And, both research and my personal experience show that super slow strength training tends to do it best.

(In my case, I’ve been doing superslow strength training on Tuesday nights.  I fall asleep easiest on Tuesday nights; but because I have some soreness, I sleep best on Wednesday nights.)

I seem to remember reading a study that found doing this, regular vigorous exercise, cut the amount of insomnia in half!

So between the insomnia help and the other benefits I recommend it highly!

b)  To reset your body clock to wake up well in the morning you tend to also set it to fall asleep at night.  You can put extra LED lights in your bedroom and in the room you are in first thing in the morning.  That’s often the kitchen.  It also helps to have some bright lights that emit extra blue light.  Studies show you become more alert and awake by doing this.

If you have the money getting a NatureBright light to use each morning can help.  (See www.naturebright.com .)

This can often reverse depression, particularly during the darker months besides.

c)  Do the reverse at night.  Avoid TV and electronic devices for at least an hour before you go to bed.  AND, literally use black out curtains and avoid lights in your bedroom to have it really dark when you sleep.

d) To the extent you can also make your bedroom quiet and comfortably cool, do so as that also helps.

e)  Before bed it can also help to re-read an enjoyable favorite story or novel – or something you find boring.  I prefer the soothing effect of re-reading an enjoyable book. 

f)  Taking one half to 2 mg but never more of melatonin a bit before bedtime can help.  But avoid taking more as you’ll have trouble waking up the next day if you do.

g)  I’ve posted often on taking anti-inflammatory supplements and eating such foods and living a very low inflammation lifestyle in avoiding the foods that massively increase it.

Doing those things lowers inflammation and directly lowers pain and discomfort.  It even makes getting painful osteoarthritis not happen or having it get worse.

Eat or take turmeric, curcumin, ginger, and omega 3 supplements and DHA supplements.

(The tart cherries or tart cherry extract fits here too.)

Even more important, eliminate all refined grain wheat flour, corn oil, soy oil, ANY hydrogenated oil at all, and sharply minimize even 100%  whole grains, canola oil, and fats from animals fed grain. 

Today’s hybrid, GMO wheat has a particularly inflammatory gluten and a second compound that is also inflammatory. 

(For example use ZERO margarine, shortening, or nondairy creamer!)

Use mostly extra virgin olive oil in moderation for your oil instead of any of those high omega 6 oils.

And eat plant protein foods, wild caught fish, and some protein and fats from animals fed only grass or on pasture – their natural diet -- instead of meat and dairy from animals fed grains.

The idea is to boost things that stop inflammation a lot and use foods that come close to avoiding the excess omega 6 oils that cause so much high chronic inflammation and disease.

If you have insomnia, it will damage your health less if you do this.  And, because your inflammation and pains will be less, you’ll have less insomnia too!

h)  If you do virtually all those things, there are also two powerful ways to cut insomnia that you may need if you still have serious insomnia.

1)  Get a professional sleep study because you might have sleep apnea or breathing problems causing your insomnia.

2) There is also a Fisher-Wallace electrical stimulator which they have tested as strongly
reducing insomnia that you can get through your doctor.

Because all the other methods have extra health benefits and most of them are far cheaper, I suggest trying this electromagnetic stimulator last.

But even if you don’t wind up needing it, it’s nice to know that you have a really big gun to kill off insomnia if you still have it.

In conclusion:

You can turn off insomnia and gain extra health benefits virtually for sure.

And NONE of this requires taking the very dangerous and surprisingly ineffective drugs for insomnia that are proven to increase your death rate and chance of getting cancer according to the studies I saw reported.

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Blogger David said...

Forgot a cause of insomnia that you can have if you overdo coffee or suddenly jump your number of cups.

Two to possibly four cups of coffee from first thing in the morning to early afternoon has a surprising number of health benefits.

It does make you feel mentally sharper; and tests show you actually are mentally more able!

But, if you suddenly add two cups more or drink five or more or drink coffee too late in the afternoon, you either get insomnia or lose sleep quality enough, you need extra coffee again the next day.

Switching to tea or green tea once you have had three cups of coffee in a day gives you something that wakes you up a bit and maintains your feeling of control; but it has far less insomnia or excess anxiety or reduced sleep quality effects than drinking more coffee.

In the evening, drink green tea or decaf coffee or an herbal tea you like. Tea and green tea also have separate health benefits from coffee. And decaf has some of the health benefits of regular coffee.

(That is a great strategy if you have been drinking five or more cups of coffee to get off the overdose addiction because it avoids giving you a hard landing and so is far more doable.)

Of course, on some occasions you will want an extra cup of coffee in the evening; but a two or three times a month is likely OK but three or more times a week, begins to cause you avoidable problems with insomnia or sleep quality.

It will also work better when you need it most if you avoid overdoing it.

8:15 AM  

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