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Your Tools for Health, Issue #006 is here
January 19, 2005

How did you sleep last night? If it was a peaceful night's rest, you look good, you feel good, and you have plenty of energy. If, on the other hand, you tossed and turned or were otherwise sleep disrupted you aren't feeling to well right now -- and I'm sorry, but you probably don't look that great either. Oh, and energy…what energy?

I sure could have used this information when my 3rd child didn't sleep through the night for two years! It's not a good thing to feel like you're in a fog all day long. Help is here! Enjoy learning how to get a good night's sleep every night in this issue of Tools for Health.

On a side note, it has been suggested that I send shorter newsletters. If I do this I would probably put the majority of content at and have short introductions to each section in the actual newsletter with links to the rest of the article. Do you have a preference? Reply to this email to let me know what you think.

Now, on to a good night's sleep!

If you subscribe to this newsletter and know someone else who would enjoy receiving Tools for Health, please pass it along. If this issue was passed along to you, take a minute to subscribe by visiting Natural Health Coach for Women, then pay it forward to someone else!

January 2005………………………….Issue #006

In This Issue

  1. Guide To A Good Nights Sleep
  2. Herbal Sleep Formula
  3. Health Questions
  4. What's New At Home

NOTE: In order for my clients to have the best results I recommend only high quality resources. Look for herbs, supplements, and other resources mentioned in Tools for Health at My NSP Natural Health Coach or Natural Health Coach for Women.

Guide To A Good Nights Sleep

If you are having sleep problems, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don't feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, try as many of the following techniques below as possible:

  1. Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep. If your blood sugar does tend to drop at night try licorice root liquid #1780-9 or capsules #420-6 and some almond or peanut butter.

  2. Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. If you are a senior adult you may also want to consider Natures Sunshine Melatonin Extra #283-04

  3. No TV right before bed. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. It is also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above.

  4. Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night waking

  5. Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax. Don't read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.

  6. Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary.

  7. Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.

  8. Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin. I suggest this for older adults or when traveling through several time zones for a short periods of time to reset your internal clock. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. One should get blackout drapes so no light is coming in from the outside. One can also use one of melatonin's precursors, 5-hydroxytryptophan, also know as 5-HTP #2806-4. 5-HTP is a precursor to L-tryptophan and should not be used with antidepressants as it stimulates seratonin production in the body.

  9. Get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 PM and 1 AM. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver, which then secondarily back up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well. If you do wake up between 1-3 consistently I would suggest taking Milk Thistle #4071-9 before bedtime to help the liver.

  10. Check your bedroom for electromagnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and seratonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To purchase a gauss meter to measure EMFs try Cutcat at 800-497-9516. They have a model for around $40. One doctor even recommends that people pull their circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in the house (Dr. Herbert Ross, author of "Sleep Disorders").

  11. Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.

  12. Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan need to produce melatonin and serotonin.

  13. Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier.

  14. Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter may have effects on sleep. In most cases, the condition, which caused the drugs to be taken in the first place, can be addressed by following the guidelines elsewhere on this web site.

  15. Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keep some people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills contain caffeine.

  16. Alarm clocks and other electrical devices. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from the bed as possible, preferably at least 3 feet.

  17. Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

  18. Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful nights sleep.

  19. Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products, as they may have effect on sleep, such as causing apnea, excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, and gas, among others.

  20. Don't drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.

  21. Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep, A 20 minute bath with 2 cups Epson Salt and 8-10 drops of lavender or chamomile oil will also help your body relax.

  22. Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it... 2 AM...3 AM... 4:30 AM...

  23. Keep Your Bed For Sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep.

  24. Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, August 2001; 86:3787-3794)? If you are waking up all through the night with restless sleep and wild dreams try Chinese Nervous Fatigue Formula #1884-7 or Adrenal Support #1507-0

  25. If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause problems if not properly addressed. Try C-X #1204-8 for the changes of life.

  26. Don't Change Your Bedtime. You should go to bed, and wake up, at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

  27. Get Daily Exercise. Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. However, don't exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Try exercising in the morning, afternoon or early evening instead. Using Exercise Homeopathic #8960-9 during exercise will keep your energy level up and using Recovery drink #3662-2 mix after exercise will pull the lactic acid out of the muscles to prevent them from being achy and sore.

  28. Listen to White Noise or Relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep.

Herbal Sleep Formula

Herbal Sleep is a natural sedative formula containing herbs that calm the body, relieve anxiety and nervousness, and promote restful sleep. Herbal Sleep does not produce the typical "drugged" symptoms associated with pharmaceutical sedatives. Herbal Sleep is particularly beneficial for individuals who awake repeatedly during the night due to nervous tension or an overactive mind.

Herbal Sleep has been found helpful for anxiety, chemical dependency, hyperactivity, insomnia and other sleep disorders, nervous/tension headaches, restlessness. Herbal Sleep may also help reduce high blood pressure resulting from anxiety and nervous excitability.

Hops is licensed in Germany as a standard medicinal tea for promoting sleep. Hops is also used in both Germany and the United States in sedative preparations for calming anxiety and unrest. Hops has been shown to induce a soothing, relaxing calm within 20 to 40 minutes. Although the sedative effect of hops is indisputable, the herb's exact mechanism of action remains unclear. However, the sleep-inducing effect of hops has been found to be strongly dependent upon the quality of the extract used. Hops is commonly employed in conjunction with other herbal sedatives such as valerian root. For example, a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial of patients with exogenous (having a cause outside the body) sleep disorders found that a hops-valerian preparation was equally effective as a benzodiazepine drug, and therefore, would be a sensible alternative to such drug therapy for the treatment of non-chronic and non-psychiatric sleep disorders. In addition to sleep problems such as insomnia, the German Commission E also approves the use of hops for mood disturbances such as anxiety, nervousness and restlessness. Furthermore, hops has been used to help wean patients off prescription sedatives.1-4

Hops is not recommended for use with prescription sleep-aids, CNS depressants or antipsychotic agents, as this may cause additive effects. Due to the herb's potential estrogenic activity, hops is contraindicated during pregnancy and for those with estrogen-dependent tumors such as breast, cervical or uterine cancer.5,6

Passion flower has been used for centuries as a natural sedative for insomnia and nervousness. In 1920, researchers documented the herb's effect on inducing normal sleep with light breathing and little to no mental depression and no confusion upon waking. More recent research confirms the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and central nervous system (CNS) sedative properties of passion flower, although the specific constituents responsible for these actions remain unclear. Today, passion flower is approved for use in Europe for relaxation, nervousness and insomnia. In addition, passion flower has demonstrated some benzodiazepine receptor agonist activity and thus, may be helpful in the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.2,5-8

Excessive doses of passion flower may potentiate MAOI therapy. In addition, passion flower should be avoided during pregnancy and nursing, as animal studies show that isolated constituents produce uterine-stimulant activity. Furthermore, since passion flower has not been evaluated for use in young children, it is not recommended for children under two.5,6,8

Valerian is regarded as an effective sedative, antispasmodic (relaxes muscle spasms) and mild anodyne (pain-reliever). Valerian is indicated for use for insomnia, mild to moderate anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, emotional stress and nervous tension, hyperactivity, hysteria, migraine/tension headaches, premenstrual/menopausal agitation and tension, as well as nervous cardiopathy. The German Commission E also recommends valerian for restlessness and sleep disturbances resulting from nervous conditions.3,6,8,10-12

Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have clinically proven that valerian is beneficial for a variety of sleep-disorder parameters. Research shows valerian significantly decreases sleep latency (the time required to fall asleep), reduces the frequency of night-time awakenings, decreases night-time motor activity and restlessness, and improves sleep quality, especially with elderly poor sleepers. One study of individuals with insomnia showed that 44% of those receiving valerian reported perfect sleep, while 89% reported improved sleep. In addition, a double-blind study found that valerian was as effective for reducing sleep latency as small doses of barbiturates or benzodiazepines.6,8,10-17

There are no side effects reported with valerian use-even 20 times the recommended dose is nontoxic; however, too large a dose may cause excitability. Unlike benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax, valerian does not appear to potentiate the effects of alcohol, nor does it affect coordination or driving ability or cause morning drowsiness. However, valerian should not be used in conjunction with prescription sleep-aids or anxiolytics. Although the German Commission E monograph lists no contraindications for valerian use during pregnancy and lactation, other sources recommend against its use until further research is done.5,6,8,10,11,18-20

References: 1Mills, S. & Bone, K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000. 2Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000. 3PDR for Herbal Medicines, 1st Ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 1998. 4Schmitz, M. & Jackel, M. "[Comparative study for assessing quality of life of patients with exogenous sleep disorders (temporary sleep onset and sleep interruption disorders) treated with a hops-valarian preparation and a benzodiazepine drug]." Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift; 1998, 148(13): 291-298. 5Fetrow PharmD, C. & Avila Pharm D, J. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1999. 6Miller PharmD, L. & Murray PhD, W. Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician's Guide. NY, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1998. 7Milligan, S.R., et. al. "Identification of a potent phytoestrogen in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) and beer." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 1999, 84(6): 2249-2252. 8Newall, C., et. al. Herbal Medicines. London, England: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996. 9Leigh, E. "Phytotherapy Aids in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal." HerbalGram; 2000, 42: 19. 10Foster, S. "Calm Down." Herbs For Health; 1998, 2(6): 41-42. 11Hobbs LAc, C. Valerian: The Relaxing and Sleep Herb. Capitola, CA: Botanica Press, 1993. 12Murray ND, M. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995. 13Werbach MD, M. Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1991. 14Leathwood, P.D., et. al. "Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) improves sleep quality in man." Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior; 1982, 17(1): 65-71. 15Leathwood, P.D. & Chauffard, F. "Quantifying the effects of mild sedatives." Journal of Psychiatric Research; 1982-83, 17(2): 115-122. 16Lindahl, O. & Lindwall, L. "Double blind study of a valerian preparation." Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior; 1989, 32(4): 1065-1066. 17Balderer, G. & Borbely, A.A. "Effect of valerian on human sleep." Psychopharmacology; 1985, 87(4): 406-409. 18Brown ND, D. Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health. Rocklin, CA: Prima Health, 1996. 19Nebelkopf, E. "Herbal therapy in the treatment of drug use." International Journal of the Addictions; 1987, 22(8): 695-717. 20McCaleb, R. "Leading Herbs for the Mind." HerbalGram; 1998, 44: 19-20. Đ

Health Questions

More emails come with personal health questions than I can reasonably answer. Beginning with our February issue this section will be reserved for that specific purpose - answering your health questions.

Please feel welcomed to submit your questions for inclusion! All posts will be listed with first name, initials, or first half of your email address so for all intents and purposes, it will be anonymous.

What's New At Home

Natural Health Connections is our weekly online discussion. The 'classes' actually started January 5th, but they are flexible and you can drop in any time. I would love to have you join me on Wednesday's at 1 PM Eastern.

After you sign in, please let me know who you are -- I enjoy meeting my subscribers.

In the next few weeks I will also begin regular evening classes at A Touch of Serenity and Palm Island Salon located at 318 S. Scenic Hwy, Suite 104 in Lake Wales, Florida. If you are in Central Florida, stop by! Check the calendar at my herb site for updates on the time schedules and other happenings.

Have a healthy day,


Teri Hayes is a Certified Natural Health Consultant, Herb Specialist, and Certified Reflexologist

You can e-mail her at or visit her at Natural Health Coach for Women

The herbs and supplements she recommends to clients can be found using this link.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! Reply to this newsletter and tell me what you think!

To schedule an appointment, online or offline, go to the Health Questions page, choose the option that best suits you, and follow the directions.

The suggestions in this e-newsletter are meant to encourage personal responsibility for health and are not given as medical advice. For your individual health concerns such as chronic or acute warning symptoms, in emergency situations, or when in doubt, seek the advice of your primary personal health car practitioner.

"Those who do not have enough time for good health, will not have good health for enough time."

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