Expert Advice | Unforgettable Excellence

The keys to a good night's sleep

The keys to a good night's sleep | Mr Vitamins
In Australia, 13-33% of adults have regular difficulty in either getting to sleep or staying asleep.1 In NSW alone, almost one-fifth of the population are chronically sleep deprived.2 Getting a good or even a full night’s sleep is clearly something many individuals struggle to achieve. Factors that can influence sleep include:
  • Stress
  • Poor diet choices
  • Tense muscles
  • Leg cramps
  • An overactive mind
  • Shift work
  • Increased stimulant intake
Stress is prevalent in many of our day-to-day lives. Stress, both physical and emotional, can cause excessive Magnesium loss.3

How important is Magnesium

Popularly known for its role in energy production, our hero mineral Magnesium is also an important mineral for relaxation particularly when it comes to muscles and the nervous system. The role of magnesium is to encourage normal and healthy muscle contraction and relaxation.3 When we want to sleep, we want adequate muscle relaxation in order to be able to get to sleep and have a restful night.

 What else can help?

  • Lactium® helps to relieve the symptoms of stress and promotes relaxation in times of mental stress.4,5
  • Sour cherry (also known as tart cherry) is naturally high in melatonin. The body uses melatonin to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and this may explain why sour cherry has been shown in research studies to improve sleep efficiency and quality. 6-8
  • Valerian herb has been used traditionally to promote sleep in people with mild irritability and nervous tension. It has gone under the spotlight in numerous clinical trials, which have highlighted its efficacy and safety. A specific form of valerian extract called Bio-156TM has been shown to promote the onset of deep sleep, improve sleep quality, enhance a restorative, refreshing sleep and promote the sense of wellbeing, in individuals who have insomnia, after 2-6 weeks.9-12
  • Lavender oil may be found beside the incense burner in many people’s homes, but in fact it has a long history in traditional western herbal medicine for promoting relaxation in individuals, for mild insomnia due to restlessness. The volatile oil component of lavender appears responsible for its beneficial effects, as shown in clinical trials.3, 13-15
  • If you experience night sweats alongside insomnia and irritability, ask your healthcare practitioner about Zizyphus. This herb is known to promote sleep and quiet the spirit.16

Mr Vitamins Recommends:

Ultra Muscleze Night from Bioceuticals

‘Ask a Naturopath’ for more information about natural sleeping solutions

Better breathing aids relaxation

Once upon a time, when we were first born, we lived blissful  lives that were reflected in the rise and fall of our round baby bellies. Fast forward to being grown-ups and you’ll find most of us running on adrenaline to some degree. Whether it’s from stress, caffeine or a combination of both the result is the same. A number of physiological changes occur including shallow breathing. Shallow breathing causes stress on the body, and has an impact on oxygenation and therefore energy, focus, and concentration. So next time you find yourself breathing with your upper chest only, try ‘abdominal’ breathing.

Abdominal Breathing calms you

You can do this exercise lying down or simply sitting at your desk: Place your hands over your belly button and concentrate, even if it’s just for a minute or two, on breathing slowly and deeply so that you can feel your belly rise and fall. This not only boosts oxygenation but sends a message back to the body to calm down. This will slow the heart rate and breathing, and will reduce the levels of stress hormones circulating in the body. Try it and feel the difference! References
  1. Cunnington D, Junge MF, Fernando AT. Insomnia: prevalence, consequences and effective treatment. Med J Aust 2013;199(8):S36-40.
  2. Bartlett DJ, Marshall NS, Williams A, et al. Sleep health New South Wales: chronic sleep restriction and daytime sleepiness. Intern Med J 2008;38(1):24-31.
  3. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 3rd ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2010.
  4. Messaoudi M, LeFranc-Millot C, Desor D, et al. Effects of a tryptic hydrosylate from bovine milk alphaS1-casein on hemodynamic responses in healthy human volunteers facing successive mental and physical stress situation. Eur J Nutr 2005;44(2):128-32.
  5. Kim JH, Desor D, Kim YT, et al. Efficacy of alphaS1-casein hydrosylate on stress-related symptoms in women. Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61(4):536-41.
  6. Howatson G, Bell P, Tallent J, et al. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nut 2011 Oct 30.
  7. Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, et al. Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food 2010;13(3):579-83.
  8. Garrido M, Paredes S, Cubero J, et al. Jerte Valley cherry-enriched diets improve nocturnal rest and increase 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity in the urine of middle-aged and elderly humans. J Gerontology 2010;65(9);909-14.
  9. Donath F, Quispe S, Diefenbach K, et al. Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality. Pharmacopsychiatry 2000;33(2):47-53.
  10. Ziegler G, Ploch M, Miettinen-Baumann A, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of valerian extract LI 156 compared with oxazepam in the treatment of non-organic insomnia--a randomized, double-blind, comparative clinical study. Eur J Med Res 2002;7(11):480-486.
  11. Dorn M. Efficacy and tolerability of Baldrian versus oxazepam in non-organic and non-psychiatric insomniacs: a randomised, double-blind, clinical, comparative study. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2000;7(2):79-84.
  12. Vorbach EU, Görtelmeyer R, Brüning J. Therapy for insomniacs: effectiveness and tolerance of valerian preparations. Psychopharmakotherapie 1996;3:109-115.
  13. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder - a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2014;17(6):859-869.
  14. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Silexan, an orally administered lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010;25(5):277-287.
  15. Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract 2013;17 Suppl 1:15-22.
  16. Cao JX, Zhang QY, Cui SY, et al. Hypnotic effect of jujubosides from semen Ziziphi spinosae. J Ethnopharmacol 2010;130(1):163-166.
Your naturopath or healthcare practitioner may recommend specific ingredients that can help reduce the effect of stress on sleeplessness.