Saturday, September 19, 2009

Insomnia and Menopause

I just have to share my joy this morning upon arising and getting a really good night's sleep. It is such a wonderful "gift" as I am going through menopause which can really wreak havoc on your sleep. I have tried a number of products for sleep but depending upon what is going on, some work better than others. While each of us is different, I thought it might be helpful to provide a run down of some of the products I have tried to see if they might work for you. Please be sure to work with your physician or naturopathic doctor since usually some type of hormone or herbal hormone support is needed. For example, I also use a progesterone cream that contains phytoestrogens (e.g. red clover, dong quai, etc)

BioAdreno---You take this in the am. Bioadreno is really helpful IF you are suffering from adrenal exhaustion. The product is stimulating so definitely not something you would take at night. Symptoms of adrenal exhaustion--waking up in the morning and still feeling so very tired, lethargic during the day, feeling like "Stop the world I want to get off", feeling edgy and about to snap (we all know what that is like!), waking up in the middle of the night....That is what this product is good for. You can take in the am and then usually you get a better night's sleep after a few days.

Adrenacalm All I can say is "Aaaaah....adrenacalm". This product is a great 'ol standby for getting to sleep. It contains primarily phosphatidyl serine which has many benefits including brain support and help for anxiety. When we are stressed, our cortisol levels rise. Many times when you wake up in the middle of the night, it can be because your cortisol levels are elevated. So, you can keep this by your nightstand and IF that is the reason you are waking up, this will work. If it is not due to the elevated cortisol levels, then it might help anyway because it does contain some herbs to take the edge off. But since it is a very gentle product, sometimes it is not enough. And...remember it is not a sleep remedy per se, it is to help combat the deliterious effects of stress (and high cortisol) levels on the body. And.....sometimes waking up in the middle of the night can also be related to blood sugar regulation too.

Phosphatidyl Serine--Phosphatidyl serine is a wonderful nutrient that becomes especially beneficial for us as we get older. We use it for dogs with Cushing's Syndrome and it really helps reduce the effects of excess cortisol right away. Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a nutrient essential for optimal brain function. Because PS is crucial for the overall health of brain cells, research on PS has shown that it benefits a wide range of brain activities such as mental focus, memory recall, and performance on tasks.

Phosphatidylserine occurs as a normal component of cell membranes. It is the major phospholipid in the brain. Phosphatidylserine enhances cell membrane fluidity, which improves cellular metabolism. This will improve neuronal communication, and strengthen memory and learning. Oral supplementation of phosphatidylserine has been shown to increase memory and learning, and has positive effects on the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, and dopamine-depressed patients. Phosphatidylserine has been shown to help establish normal down-regulation of cortisol secretion in chronically stressed individuals. So.....what has often worked for my insomnia when I am stressed is to take Phosphatidyl Serine along with the Adrenacalm. Phos Serine is one of those substances where you need to be REALLY careful where it comes from. I like the brand on
because it is third party tested for potency and purity.

Sure hope this helps!