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Interesting Update on Insomnia

You can improve your sleep quality without a prescription.  I just found a great little study about how to improve the quality of your sleep with natural substances you can get over the counter.  Anytime you can treat a condition that affects your quality of life without having to make a trip to the doctor and the pharmacy, I have done my job.

Poor sleep quality is very common as we get older, and the effects can spill over into daylight hours in the form of fuzzy thinking and overall fatigue.  Reaction time is decreased and we tend to be less happy and more grouchy overall as a result of poor sleep quality.

Natrol Melatonin 5mg, 60 Tablets (Pack of 3)
Great for Sleep
A little study performed in a nursing home in Italy has been reported in January in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  They looked at about 45 residents there; half were given a nightly placebo and the other half were given Melatonin 5mg, Magnesium 225mg and Zinc 11.25mg.  At the end of this 8-week study, all patients were given a test that looked at how they felt they slept and how rested they felt the next day.  The group given the three supplements had much better sleep scores than the placebo group.  I think most people could benefit from a larger supplement of zinc, but the other two are just about right.

Spring Valley Zinc
Needed Supplement
This study was done in the elderly (average age = 78yrs) but given the safety of the supplements, this could be the answer to anyone who is not sleeping well.  I believe that Magnesium and Zinc deficiencies are very common in the elderly, leading to many correctable problems we typically blame on aging alone; and it has been well-known for years that Melatonin can help improve sleep quality.  Zinc and Magnesium are also very effective at reducing the chance of night-time leg cramps, another common sleep interrupter.

Now Foods Magnesium Citrate 200mg, 250 Tablets
Decrease Cramps
I would expect for this trio of supplements to work better for folks over 50 years of age on average.  The older you or your loved one is, the better this regimen should work for improving sleep quality.  If you know someone who complains about their sleep quality, pass this info along to them, it will make them less grouchy!

As always, this regimen will not help if you are eating mostly junk food, interrupting your sleep environment with Computer/TV light, and not getting enough daily exercise.  Your body was made to be active and to run properly on real, natural food.  Sitting on the couch eating Doritos is not the place you want to be, it leads to hundreds of unwanted medical conditions, and decreases you sleep quality as well.  Sorry folks, but you have to behave properly or life is not much fun.


  1. I can vouch for the efficacy of melatonin.
    I find that taking 3mg, half an hour before bedtime really does work. Normally I feel drowsy just 20 minutes after taking the capsule.
    Interestingly, when I started, I took 2 x 3mg. I've found that 1 x 3mg is just as effective.
    I definitely have better quality sleep and it really does help you fall asleep quickly. No grogginess on waking.
    One side effect has been an increase in dreaming, or at least being more aware of dreams.
    I've read that melatonin may also help prevent dementia, it's one of the few antioxidants that crosses the blood brain barrier and may help protect against amyloid plaque damage.
    It's cheap, effective and safe. I'll continue to take it most nights for the foreseeable.
    I also take zinc and magnesium and follow a paleo lifestyle.

  2. I've had many a patient get much better sleep by taking anywhere from 3-10 mg of Melatonin nightly.

    Also, I encourage all my older patients who may be starting down the dreadful slope of dementia to take it nightly.