Deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes may be a cause of a sleep disorders. Calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, folic acid and melatonin deficiencies may become one of insomnia causes.
Clinical studies showed that L-tryptophan produces only modest effects in the treatment for insomnia. More importantly, research showed that L-tryptophan can reduce REM sleep while increasing the time spent in non-REM sleep.
Serotonin is an important initiator of sleep. Our body makes serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. Taking tryptophan will raise serotonin levels and promote sleep. Tryptophan is more effective for cases of sleep-onset insomnia, since its greatest effect is to shorten the time required to fall asleep.
Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid that helps the brain regulates the amount of cortisone produced by the adrenals. It is helpful for those who cannot sleep because of high cortisone levels, usually induced by stress.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a form of tryptophan that is one step closer to serotonin administration. 5-HTP has also been found, in several clinical studies, to decrease the time required to fall asleep and decrease the number of awakenings.
5- HTP provides the quickest, most effective, and most consistent overall results in treating insomnia. It is an effective alternative for dealing with sleep problems in a safe and natural way compared to sleep medicines. 5-HTP improves the quality of sleep. More importantly, clinical studies show that 5- HTP is also useful in the treatment of sleep disorders other than insomnia.
5-HTP increases REM sleep significantly (typically by about 25 percent) while increasing deep sleep stages 3 and 4 without increasing total sleep time. 5-HTP achieve this by shortening the amount of time you spend in sleep stages 1 and 2, which in certain ways are the least important stages of the sleep cycle.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted naturally by the pineal gland. Melatonin is the sleep hormone. It is said to induce sleep without any negative side effects. In several studies, melatonin has been found helpful in inducing and maintaining sleep for both people with normal sleep patterns and those suffering from insomnia. It is also useful in banishing jet lag.
However, it appears that the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent only if a person's melatonin levels are low. In other words, taking melatonin is not like taking a sleeping pill or even 5-HTP. It will only produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low. Melatonin appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, as low melatonin levels are common in this age group.
Safety: Studies of melatonin's safety are limited, with isolated reports of exacerbation of depression, fatigue and restriction of coronary arteries.
Calcium, especially when contained in food, has a sedative effect on the body. A calcium deficiency causes restlessness and wakefulness. Liquid calcium has been shown to have a relaxing effect.
The lack of calcium and magnesium can cause leg cramps during the night. Calcium and magnesium produce calming effects on the brain.
B-Complex: B vitamins have long been known as the “Anti-Stress Vitamins.” B vitamins are essential also in fighting against anxiety and depression.
The higher metabolism and stress level, the faster B vitamins are used up. If high amounts of stress are present in your life, it is very essential to increase the amount of B vitamins in your diet. This is important as stress is one of the major factors that lead to insomnia.
Vitamin B6 supplements can help to prevent insomnia. A tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast is an excellent Source of vitamin B6. Stir it into a glass of juice.
Vitamin B12 is another important supplement for treating insomnia.
Vitamin B 5 (Pantothenic acid) can serve as an effective anti-insomnia vitamin regimen. The B5 is good for relieving stress. The best food sources of the B vitamins are liver, whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, walnuts, peanuts, bananas, sunflower seeds, and blackstrap molasses.
Vitamin B8 (Inositol) possibly alleviates insomnia. It is known that B8 influences the ability of the “calming” neurotransmitter named GABA to bind to its receptors and this action of inositol (which is similar to that of valium) may influence sleep. Some researchers claim that B8 enhances REM sleep.
Chromium is often effective for someone with a blood sugar problem that is keeping them awake at nights. Brewer's yeast is a good source of Chromium.