The science of nutritional balancing focuses on balancing body chemistry rather than just correcting symptoms. Insomnia, however, is so important that it deserves special attention. Sleep is extremely essential for healing!
Tissue mineral analysis can assist you to find and correct the causes of insomnia. While balancing body chemistry, you can also offer effective physiological, individualized remedies for insomnia.
Calcium and magnesium are among the "sedative" elements. They are needed to relax the muscles and nervous system. Difficulty sleeping can arise when the tissue levels of these minerals are low, when they are displaced by toxic metals such as lead or cadmium, or when they are elevated but not available to the body. Serum levels of calcium and magnesium rarely vary much and are less indicative of deficiency or excess than tissue (hair) levels.
Adults and children with low hair calcium and magnesium are often prone to insomnia. They may be "wound up" and are prone to muscular tension. A similar situation may occur if the calcium and magnesium levels are elevated above the ideal, but the levels are low in relation to sodium and potassium.
Calcium and magnesium (Paramin) are often helpful, along with zinc and copper when indicated. Additional dosages of these products with dinner, later in the evening, or even during the night along with dietary and lifestyle changes, will often lessen the effects of insomnia.
In other cases of insomnia, the calcium and magnesium levels are elevated. In these instances, often the person has excess calcium in the hair, but it is deficient in the blood. An individual is losing calcium and magnesium into the hair and other soft tissues. The effect may be similar to a deficiency. The calcium and magnesium are what we call biounavailable. These individuals often also have a copper imbalance contributing to their insomnia, as explained below. Especially when the calcium and magnesium are very high, extra Paramin, or calcium and magnesium, especially in the evening, may be helpful for sleep.
Note that it will take a while for a tablet to dissolve. For a rapid effect, it is best to chew or grind up a tablet, or use a liquid preparation.
A hallmark of copper imbalance is insomnia. Copper has a stimulating effect on the brain, causing the mind to race and exciting the emotions. High copper individuals often stay up late and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Insomnia before the menstrual period may be due to elevated copper. Copper may be elevated or biounavailable and it can change from week to week.
Indicators for copper imbalance on a hair analysis include a copper level greater than 2.5 mg%, copper less than 1 mg%, sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.0, sodium/potassium ratio greater than 6, high calcium with a low potassium level, elevated mercury, or a zinc/copper ratio less than 6:1.
Improving the copper balance often takes time. If the diet and regular supplement program are not enough to combat insomnia, high copper individuals may benefit by adding extra molybdenum (Moly-Cu) along with a little zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 in the evening.
In some people, especially menstruating women, copper may at times be biologically unavailable. This may cause insomnia as well. A hair analysis may indicate this by a low sodium/potassium ratio or a copper level less than 1.0.
The sympathetic nervous system make us alert and ready to respond to danger. Some people have difficulty turning off this system. For these individuals, the above remedies will often be helpful.
Also, in the evening individuals need to reduce physical or intellectual stimulation. Relaxation exercises, deep breathing, meditation, or soft music before bed may be very helpful.
Insomnia may be the result of drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, or eating chocolate or sugar close to bedtime. These substances alter body chemistry and can impair the natural sleep process.
Not eating enough can also impair sleep. While a heavy dinner may impair sleep, a light dinner or even an evening snack with protein can enhance sleep, especially for those who wake up at night. Warm milk is a folk remedy for sleep, containing calcium, tryptophan and a little protein. Any stimulating activity at night, even fun activities, may impair sleep. Some people find the need to unwind after a late night at work or an evening on the town before they felt like sleeping. This applies to physical, intellectual or social events.
We already discussed the use of calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, zinc and vitamin B6. Other remedies that may help include 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). Tryptophan is found naturally in foods such as milk and turkey. Melatonin, the pineal hormone, helps some people. Health food stores also sell relaxing herbal teas and homeopathic remedies. Use these remedies only as needed, as the objective is always to balance the chemistry so that symptomatic solutions will not be needed.
Avoiding stimulating supplements in the evening may also be helpful. These may include adrenal and thyroid support such as Endo-Dren, Thyro-Complex and B-complex.
Stretching, yoga or meditative exercises before bed may help relieve tension, clear the mind and relax the body. If these fail, an individual can try a hydrotherapy method. One stands in the back of the shower and runs very cold water on the legs and feet for about 3 minutes. This draws blood out of the head and into the lower body. Withdrawing blood from the head facilitates sleep.
A quiet, darkened room may assist sleep. When traveling, some people bring a familiar cassette tape to listen to, earplugs or a white noise generator to drown out ambient noise. Going to bed early is often helpful. Unplugging clock radios and other electrical devices that are next to the bed occasionally is helpful. One's attitude can also affect insomnia. Do not take problems and worries to bed with you.