Insomnia always seems to be at its worst when you need your sleep the most. An important meeting the next day or a plane to catch in the morning is enough to trigger a bout of sleeplessness in a lot of people.
But for many folks getting a good night’s sleep is a chronic problem that can make life miserable, leaving them feeling irritable and distracted and even threatening their health.
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In fact, experts estimate that around 70 million Americans… and around 50 percent of seniors… struggle with some sort of sleep disorder.
Sleep drugs aren’t the answer. Studies show that, at best, they add a couple of minutes of sleep to your night. But you can pay heavily for those few moments of slumber with frightening side effects ranging from sleep walking (and cooking and driving!) to next day impairments.
Worst of all they can send your risk of death skyrocketing through the roof. So what are you supposed to do to catch some z’s and get a decent night’s sleep?
Get a good night’s sleep for a dime a day
The answer could lie in a 10 cent a day supplement you can pick up at your local drug store or online. Gamma-aminobutyric acid… or GABA as everyone calls it… is a neurotransmitter found naturally in your brain.
One of GABA’s jobs is to signal your nerves when it’s time to stop firing and settle down. In other words, it acts like a sort of natural tranquilizer helping to calm and quiet things down.
Now most conventional medicine doctors will simply dismiss GABA as a potential sleep aid, saying your body wouldn’t be able to use it quickly enough and that it wouldn’t make it into your brain. But it looks like they’re going to have to change that tune.
A study published in the scientific journal Food Science and Biotechnology has revealed that your body knows EXACTLY what to do with GABA. Researchers say that the neurotransmitter supplement was absorbed and metabolized within just 30 minutes.
According to lead researcher, Atsushi Yamatsu, “These results indicate that GABA may help people fall asleep quickly and easily.”
Fall asleep faster and sleep better with GABA
Even more exciting, the volunteers experienced real world, measurable results. Folks who took the GABA supplement fell asleep significantly faster and got more of the critical deep sleep that our body requires to repair itself to help prevent chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
And this isn’t even one of those situations where you just have to trust that something is doing good things for your health. According to the study, the lucky folks who took GABA even reported waking up feeling more refreshed and alert too.
If you’re suffering with sleeplessness you might want to give GABA a try. The folks in the study received 100 mg of GABA 30 minutes before bed.
Beat insomnia with natural sleep aids
But if GABA doesn’t do the trick for you don’t lose hope. There are other effective natural sleep aids that have worked for a lot of other folks and may do the trick for you too, starting with melatonin.
Our bodies make melatonin at night to help us sleep. But as we age our bodies make less and less of it. According to one MIT meta-analysis melatonin can be a very effective sleep aid, especially for seniors. And best of all you only need a tiny amount… as little as 0.3 mg… to work.
HGH, another hormone that dips as we age. If you’re over 40 odds are your levels are drooping and this could be interfering with your sleep. A doctor skilled in naturopathic medicine can check on your levels and help get you back on track.
Other sleep aids that have been proven to be quite effective are kava kava, valerian root, and my old favorite a splash of brandy in warm milk.
“Effect of oral γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration on sleep and its absorption in humans” Food Science and Biotechnology, April 2016, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 547-551
Buysse, Daniel J., et al. “”The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: a new instrument for psychiatric practice and research.” Psychiatry research 28.2 (1989): 193-213.
“γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) content of selected uncooked foods.” Preventive Nutrition and Food Science 8.1 (2003): 75-78.
Written in memory of medicine's most popular myth-buster, Dr. William Campbell Douglass II the "Daily Dose" is a FREE daily e-mail service designed to deliver health news and insights directly to your inbox.
In the "Daily Dose" you get Harrison’s no holds barred straight scoop about health, medicine and politics. In it he exposes junk medicine, flawed science, big-government waste and fraud — providing a continuous supply of urgent and timely health information.
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