Deep, restful sleep is a fundamental key to a happy healthy life. It is absolutely key for maintaining a positive attitude, mental focus and sharpness, to lose fat and to build muscle. It is during the sleep cycles that your body repairs any internal and external injuries you may have, and it is when your body burns to most fat and builds muscle.
In 2014 I suffered a traumatic neck injury that temporarily paralyzed me, required months of rehabilitation, and caused nerve damage I still have had to this day. I as I began trying to recuperate, I experienced constant insomnia. I was unable to sleep more than 2-3 hours before waking up. No matter how much I exercised or how tired I was, falling asleep was nearly impossible.
Insomnia can be triggered by any of the following:
- emotional trauma (loss of a loved one, money stress, health worries, etc.)
- physical trauma (injury, surgery, chronic pain, stroke, etc.)
- breathing problems, including asthma and sleep apnea, which lead to frequent awakenings
- poor sleep conditions (room too hot or too cold, noise, light, mattress or pillow too hard or too soft, biting insects, etc.)
- disruption of circadian rhythms (from working a night shift, traveling through multiple time zones, or even watching TV or using digital devices in the evening)
- overuse or sensitivity to physical stimulants (coffee/caffeine, B-vitamins, high doses of zinc, some medicinal herbs, raw garlic, many street drugs, many pharmaceuticals, some nootropics)
- too much alcohol
- depression or mania (a vicious cycle, because sleep deprivation can also cause depression or mania)
- nutritional deficiencies that may affect calcium metabolism and/or melatonin production
I began to research online, and found the normal “general” advice almost everyone gives. You know:
1. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday
2. Get as much natural sunlight as possible
3. Move vigorously during the day—don’t sit for more than an hour
4. Limit caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and big meals at night
5. Take time for relaxing activities before sleep
6. Create a calm and restful sleep environment
While these are all good general tips, they rarely address the keys to how the body really functions.
I also began taking over the counter sleep aid, some of which are good, but some are damaging to the liver and do not allow all of the natural healing processed to take place.
At one point I was taking:
- 1-2 Tylenol PM
- 1-2 10 mg melatonin
- 1 cap of ZZZQuil
This cocktail allowed me to sleep 5-7 hours, but I was always groggy and tired the next day. The use of prescription sleeping drugs, such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata, or even nonprescription Unisom & ZZZquil, has been steadily increasing. Global sales for all sleeping pills, will top $5 billion over the next several years. Most sleeping aids, especially when taken over prolonged periods of time, stay in the bloodstream, giving the feeling of a hangover the next day and beyond, and impair memory and performance on the job and at home.
I also did the other basics by turning off the TV, cutting out alcohol, and drinking much less caffeine. These are all good ideas, but none of them helped my sleeping problem.
I began researching how the body regulates sleep and what nutrients are involved in the process. I was shocked at what is involved and how easy it is fix. At the moment, I am able to sleep a solid 9-10 hours per day. This has helped tremendously in healing my nerve damage, losing body fat, and building more lean muscle. I am also much happier and less cranky.
How I Naturally Sleep Better
Through all of my research, these are the nutrients & supplements I found that dramatically improve sleep. These methods are more simple, healthier and cheaper than paying for the over the counter sleep aids. By following this regime, eating properly and exercising, I lost 7 inches off my waist in 60 days while getting more sleep than I had in the past 6 months. I also feel more relaxed, have more energy and generally perform better at every task (including those tasks in the bedroom).
From my research, up to 80 percent of Americans are likely deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of US adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men per day. Performance athletes will likely need even more.
Magnesium is a very important mineral used for proper bone structure, proper body functions as metabolism. It can also impact our sleep cycles. Low magnesium levels have been linked to diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, hereditary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Most people know calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. Most people do not know that the heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work. Calcium is reportedly a major mineral involved in intracellular communications, or the signaling of communications between the cells. It is a major mineral that helps the cells communicate. Calcium is also used for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), leg cramps in pregnancy, high blood pressure in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), and reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancers.
I found many articles related to calcium and how important it is to the overall function of the body and how it impacts sleep. You can easily search Google and find them, but here is the best blurb I found on the general studies of minerals as a sleep aid:
Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin at all. It is a hormone created by the body, or ingested in some types of fatty fish and a few foods. Most people know our dairy is fortified with D to improve the use of Calcium in the body. Since the body uses sunshine to create Vitamin D, and since our society spends so much time out of the sun, one report I saw said as much as 87% of the American population is vitamin D deficient.
In learning how D impacts the body, you will notice it closely follows calcium and magnesium, since all of these nutrients have to work together. Just being deficient in one of them can reduce the positive impacts of all of them.
One study followed 16% of the participants that had low levels of Vitamin D. To identify the possible influence of Vitamin D over sleep, researchers controlled for several other factors, including age, season of the year, other health conditions, body-mass index, and both physical and cognitive function. They found that low levels of Vitamin D were linked to several problems with sleep:
- Low Vitamin D increased the likelihood that participants experienced insufficient sleep, sleeping less than 5 hours a night
- Low levels of Vitamin D were linked to lower sleep efficiency scores, and a greater chance of scoring below 70%. A healthy sleep efficiency score is generally considered to be 85% or higher.
Special K anyone? Vitamin K is another fat-soluble vitamin that is known for the important role it plays in blood clotting. However, vitamin K is also absolutely essential to build strong bones, prevent heart disease, and several other crucial bodily functions. Vitamin K is also used to treat Arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease, varicose veins, brain health problems, including dementia, Osteoporosis, Tooth decay, prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer and leukemia.
A 2014 study on vitamin K also confirms that vitamin K intake can also help you live longer. In a group of more than 7,000 people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, people with the highest intake of vitamin K were 36% less likely to die from any disease cause at all, compared with those having the lowest intake.
Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries.
While Vitamin K2 doesn’t seem to directly impact sleep, it does interact with Calcium, Vitamin D3 and other fat soluble vitamins to ensure each cell in the body gets the proper nutrition it needs.
My Personal Choice of Vitamins for Sleep
Like I wrote, I am now easily sleeping 9-10 hours, losing body fat, growing muscle (these vitamins do help with muscle growth, but you need Boron too – that and some heavy lifting) and I feel amazing. With that, I am not a doctor. These amounts are all within the recommended daily allowances, but I take no responsibility for any ill affects you may have from taking them. I have no idea how other drugs, medications or other life choices may impact how these work.
Besides sleeping better, I have dropped 7 inches off of my waist in 60 days. I do workout and eat healthy, but sleeping and nutrition has made this fat loss faster than I thought possible.
BlueBonnet Calcium Magnesium Plus Boron Vegetarian Capsules, 180 Count
4 Tablets is:
1000 mg Calcium
500 mg magnesium
2 mg Boron
I take 2 tablets before bed.
NOW Foods Vitamin K-2,100mcg, 100 Vcaps
1 Tablet is:
Viatmin K2 100mcg
I take 1 tablet before bed.
NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU for Healthy Muscle Function, Bone Health and Immune Support, Gluten Free & Non-GMO in Cold-Pressed Organic Olive Oil,1-year supply, 360 count
1 Tablet is:
Vitamin D3 5000 IU
I take 1 tablet before bed.
Trace Minerals Liquid Ionic Boron, 6mg, 2 oz
I take 6 mg