Better Sleep without Pills or Drugs…

Dear Reader,

Do you sleep OK?

You wouldn’t believe how common it is when I see new patients to find out that they use sleeping pills. Lots of them become dependent on over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills without noticing.

Today, I’ll give you my take on why this has become such a common and worsening problem in our modern environment. And, my idea to bring your sleeping back into natural balance.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m convinced that our modern world is altering our hormonal milieu. And that this is creating the biggest surge in chronic diseases humankind has ever known.

Altered diets lead to over stimulation of insulin, which leads to obesity heart disease and diabetes. Environmental estrogen-mimickers decrease performance and swell the prostate of aging men. They cause PMS and exaggerate symptoms of menopause and increase breast, cervical and ovarian cancers in women.

These modern hormonal shifts can hit you when you’re trying to fall asleep too. When your body can’t produce enough melatonin, your mind doesn’t quiet down when your head hits the pillow. And that makes it next to impossible to get any rest.

Normally when darkness falls, your body clock suppresses serotonin, adrenalin and cortisol (your stress hormone) which then stimulates melatonin. Once melatonin gets into your bloodstream, your metabolism slows. Your heart rate and brain activity decrease and your blood pressure and body temperature start to drop. Then you enter a state of semi-consciousness and fall asleep.

But here’s the problem: Where can you find a completely dark sky nowadays? Light pollution invades our nights and prevents the normal nighttime surge in melatonin. When your melatonin levels are too low, none of the other hormonal changes happen. As a result, your body stays in daytime mode.

Of course, spending the night tossing and turning is stressful and tiring enough on its own. But the problems don’t end there. We are learning that this modern epidemic of poor sleep directly correlates to other health problems like:

  • Fatigue

  • Obesity1

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease2

  • Weakened immune system3

  • Depression

  • And, even a shorter lifespan

Mainstream medicine seldom – if ever – considers melatonin when addressing sleep problems. They usually hand you a drug and send you on your way. But sleeping pills can be dangerous if you take them long term.

Aside from being addictive, sleeping pills cut your brain cell activity during the day. This can affect your short-term memory and make you feel like you have a hangover. Some studies have even found evidence that people who use sleeping pills long term have a higher death rate per year and a shorter lifespan!

The real solution is to restore your melatonin. Once the sun sets draw your shades and minimize indoor lighting. When you go to bed, try to completely seal your bedroom from outside lights. Cover any electronic devices that have illuminated panels and turn off night lights.

You can also restore balance by taking melatonin as a supplement but you must keep the dose very low to mimic nature. I rarely use more than a half of a milligram and usually start with one tenth of a milligram. Higher doses of melatonin do not induce sleep and “throw a monkey wrench” into your body’s hormonal control systems.

Rapid absorption into your blood stream is the most important requirement for a supplement to be effective. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on a new melatonin formula that will be ready soon. I developed an oral spray that is very quickly absorbed in your mouth to begin its effect in seconds at bedtime. My testing is complete with incredible results.

As soon as this is ready, I’ll let you know.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

P.S. – Melatonin is also a very powerful antioxidant and may have anti-aging benefits. More about this later…

1 Spiegel K., et al. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 1999 Oct 23; 354(9188): 1435-9

2 Ayas N., et al. A prospective study of sleep duration and coronary heart disease. Arch Intern Med 2003 Jan 27; 136(2): 205-9

3 Savard J., et al. Chronic insomnia and immune functioning. Phychosom Med 2002 Mar-Apr; 65(2): 211-21