Research has shown that several supplements can help you get to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. Before taking any supplements, be sure and check with your doctor, especially if you are taking any prescription or over‐the‐counter medications.

Recent research has uncovered an incredible breakthrough that can help restore a normal sleep cycle. It turns out that nutrients found in cow’s milk called bioactive peptides (which are chains of amino acids) exert a sedative effect on the brain and induce sustained sleep patterns. These bioactive milk peptides have been shown to act on the brain’s GABA‐A (gamma amino butyric acid) receptors, the same mechanism of action that makes the class of sedatives known as benzodiazepines (i.e., alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan)) so effective. The advantage of milk peptides, of course, is that they induce relaxation and sleep without the side effects associated with long‐term benzodiazepine use.

In fact, published studies have shown these bioactive milk peptides effectively combat the stress response, blunt elevations of cortisol, promote sustained restful sleep patterns, support daytime cognition, and relieve anxiety. They are used widely in Europe under the trade name Lactium®; typical doses are 75‐150 mg about 30‐60 minutes before bedtime. We recommend a product called Benesom that combines this bioactive milk peptide along with melatonin and passionflower extract to promote a restful, relaxed state and relieve occasional sleeplessness; take 1‐3 tablets 30 minutes before bedtime.

Melatonin supplementation has been shown to help assist in obtaining a restorative night’s sleep while also helping to promote a healthy weight.

Hops, passion flower, skullcap, lemon balm and valerian root, taken in capsule or extract form, are all good for helping to overcome sleeplessness. It is best not to rely on one herb on a regular basis, but to rotate among several. Take these herbs before bedtime.

Catnip and chamomile have mild sedative properties. These herbs are safe even for children if taken in tea form. For adults, drinking chamomile teas several times throughout the day helps to calm and tone the nervous system, promoting restful sleep.

Taking a B complex with breakfast and lunch can help your body make and use the neurotransmitters that it needs to help you sleep at night. This is especially helpful for those that call fall asleep, but wake up with the inability to fall back asleep again.

Amino acids – if you suffer from insomnia, you may have a neurotransmitter imbalance that is preventing you from achieving good quality sleep. Consider speaking with a specialist to get started on amino acid therapy as soon as possible.

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