Even if You’re Over 50 and Your Hormones Are Unbalanced…
Sleep deprivation is so common in over-worked, overstressed individuals today, and it is believed that three of every five people have sleep problems. Women during the approximate ten years of menopause (from about age 51 to 62), and men in the same age group in andropause, may suffer both from hormone depletion and lack of sleep; each condition can aggravate the other.
Older people may lose their ability to sleep deeply, exacerbated by the worry that they can’t get to sleep and have to get up early. Many wake during the night, unable to return to deep sleep. Much is certainly hormonal, combined with various aging side effects, but there are a few things that might bring back natural sleep without having to resort to medication.
Some Supplements Can Induce Sleep
A very effective natural supplement for inducing sleep and relaxation is l-tryptophan, an amino acid present in red meat and turkey. Tryptophan was in common use during the 1970s and 80s until it was banned in 1989 by the FDA. It was so effective at inducing relaxation and sleepiness, it came under fire by Big Pharma so it wouldn’t compete with their profits when the new tranquilizing drug Prozac was released – in 1989. (The FDA Ban of L-Tryptophan: Politics, Profits and Prozac © Life Extension Foundation, April 6 1998)
Melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, has also been used successfully to induce calm and sleep. One of its uses that makes it a favorite among travelers is its effectiveness in treating jet lag. Melatonin is made in the pineal gland in response to the onset of darkness. Taking supplements before bedtime tells the body that natural sleepiness should occur. It is generally safe for frequent use, and in some cases may re-program the body to sleep better, so that after a period of time it is no longer needed or only smaller amounts are needed.
The darker a room is, the easier a person with sleep disorders will fall asleep, the deeper they sleep, and the longer they remain asleep. Any light, even the face of a bedside alarm clock, can affect deep sleep. Aging makes the body susceptible to fluctuating melatonin levels at the slightest hint of higher light levels in a room.
Sleep Can Be Affected by Magnetic Fields
Scott Davis, PhD., member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found evidence suggesting that even seemingly minute changes in electromagnetic fields have an effect on a human’s melatonin levels, lowering it. Findings of previous studies also indicate that exposure to EMFs have increased the risk of developing breast tumors in animals.
What Steps May Help Induce Sleep
Some or all of the following options may be used to help induce sleep:
- Wrist acupressure – place the fingers of one hand on the wrist of the other as if taking the pulse. Press the inside of the wrist while counting 180 seconds (three minutes). Experiment with this several nights, as sometimes this works better on one wrist than another. Often sleep will come suddenly afterward.
- Use of tryptophan (now back on the market), or even 5-HTP, another supplement which is the next step in tryptophan metabolism, or the hormone melatonin, an hour before bedtime.
- Take a hot shower or bath before going to bed. When getting into a tub of hot water, the body attempts to lower the body temperature inducing natural sleepiness.
- Remove any EMF sources from the bedroom, including electric cords near or under the bed, waterbed heaters, or electric blankets.
- Begin consistent aerobic exercise, like walking, Pilates, or using a rebounder or treadmill.
- On awakening, open the shades wide to imprint daylight on the brain and reset the body clock.
Finally, if not already taking thyroxin in some form, taking a daily iodine supplement will support the thyroid. For those that need it and are not be getting it in their diet, iodine can perform miracles in restoring natural youthful sleep.
Without proper sleep, life becomes more difficult. Naturally increasing melatonin levels allows it to work its magic, helping bring back natural sleep, and contributing to a longer, healthier life.