Natural Remedies To Improve Insomnia
Natural Remedies To Improve Insomnia
(Scroll down to view each sections natural remedies)
Lying awake at night frustrated because you can’t get to sleep? Fall asleep at a reasonable hour only to wake up around the same time every night? You share this same experience with thousands of others, and your physiology is to blame.
Here are 3 things people with insomnia tend to have in common
- Neurological Dysfunction
- Chronic Stress
- Digestive problems
There are multiple neurological parts of the brain involved in insomnia and sleep problems and we are going to talk about the brainstem, the limbic system, and autonomics.
The brainstem and limbic system house all of the neurons that receive information about our environment. These areas determine if we are encountering a friend or a foe, meaning it tells us if we can “Rest and Digest” or if it’s a “Fight or Flight” scenario.
- Parasympathetic = Rest and Digest
- Sympathetic = Fight or Flight
The upper part of the brainstem is called the Midbrain (Mesencephalon). Located in this part of the brain is a pathway called the Reticular Activating System (RAS from now on). In essence, the RAS activates our WAKE pathway, which inhibits our SLEEP pathway. It also shuts down digestion, but more on that later. This is our Fight or Flight pathway.
When you have sleep problems, there’s always an issue with this RAS being OVERactive. This part of the brain projects dopamine into the frontal lobe and basal ganglia, causing wind up, which ultimately results in too many thoughts, not being able to shut off your mind, poor focus/attention, worrying and stressing about things when you don’t need to, anger and behavior changes, and ultimately poor sleep patterns.
The RAS is also part of the brain that regulates your Fight or Flight and Rest and Digest systems as mentioned above. These are push-pull systems which means they only work when the other isn’t, meaning if the Sympathetic system is active, or your brain perceives a stressful or dangerous situation, then it’s going to turn ON the Fight or Flight system, which turns OFF the Rest and Digest system. So, if you’re chronically stressed, worrying, have chronic infections, multiple concussions or your RAS is overactive, then you will constantly be in a Fight or Flight situation, which is bad for your body. This pathway will release Epinephrine and Norepinephrine (Adrenaline), Cortisol (stress hormone), Cytokines (inflammation), and will decrease the parasympathetic tone of your system (decrease you resting and digesting capabilities).
Natural options to decreasing this pathway
Eye movements and vestibular therapy specific to neurological exam findings
Magnesium L-Threonate supplementation
These products can be found on our online store (Optimag Neuro, RelaxMax). To check out Xymogen’s health products visit ACNC’s Online Supplement Store
Stress and Cortisol (and Melatonin)
The problem with the nervous system being out of balance and in sympathetic dominance, is that all these releasing hormones are all creating downstream effects. Adrenaline will make you feel like you’re always running from a lion, your heart will pump like crazy, increase your sweating, and increase blood pressure. Cortisol is your circadian rhythm, which is inverse to melatonin (your sleep neurotransmitter). If your cortisol is elevated (during acute and chronic stress) it will constantly be decreasing your melatonin which is your sleep neurotransmitter. So it’s very difficult to be stressed and sleep at the same time.
Neurologically speaking, when you stress out, have a chronic infection, or have a stressful situation occur, your RAS kicks in and all the things above begin to happen. You turn on your sympathetic switch, adrenaline, cortisol and inflammation kicks up, and it decreases blood flow to your digestive system (and brain).
When there’s decrease blood flow to your digestive system, you will decrease your digestive enzymes (poor vagus nerve function), your motility and bowel movements (poor vagus nerve function), your ability to protect yourself from pathogens in food by decreasing your HCL in the stomach, and your own good bacteria will suffer (dysbiosis), and this will result in massive inflammation. The inflammation that occurs from sympathetic dominance goes everywhere. It goes to muscles, joints, gut, and brain, and the result of this systemic inflammation is often one of the contributors to insomnia.
Natural products to help support a healthy cortisol and inflammatory pathway
- Sensoril (ashwaganda)
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
- S-Acetyl Glutathione
- Turmeric and Resveratrol
- L-Theanine supplementation
These products can be found on our online store (Cortisolve, Adrenaliv, NAC, Curcuplex 95, Resveratin, S-Acetyl Glutathione). To check out Xymogen’s health products visit ACNC’s Online Supplement Store
Digestive Problems and Systemic Inflammation
If you’re in sympathetic dominance, chronically stressed, or your RAS is OVERfiring, you will be decreasing your vagal nerve tone. The vagus nerve is located in the lower brainstem and activates/regulates all systems in the thorax and is synonymous with the Rest and Digest system. The vagus nerve innervates the stomach, liver, small and large intestine and is responsible for secretion of HCL, digestive enzymes, bile to breakdown fats, liver activity to detoxify your body, and promotes blood flow to the gut and brain.
A poor functioning vagal system ultimately leads to increased systemic inflammation, resulting in TNF-a, Nf-kB, INF-g and other interlukens like IL-6 and TH-17 responses. All of these inflammatory factors inhibit neurological health, sensitize the midbrain (where the RAS lives), breakdown the gut and cause leaky gut (read more on leaky gut here).
The vagus nerve has inputs from the vestibular system, the cerebellum, the frontal lobe, cranial nerves and the limbic system. In order to effectively activate the vagus system from the root cause of dysfunction, a neurological examination is highly recommended looking at all of these areas discussed and activating each area as indicated.
Natural remedies to help support a healthy vagus nerve pathway
- Activate gag-reflex with toothbrush
- Cold showers and slowing breath
- Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation (tVNS)
- Turmeric, Glutathione, Detoxification support
Visit https://www.azchironeuro.com/ to read more on the therapies we use to improve digestion and decrease sympathetic dominance. To check out Xymogen’s health products visit ACNC’s Online Supplement Store