More than 40 million Americans suffer from insomnia, but they don’t all suffer in the same way. Generally, poor sleep falls into three categories:
Low-quality sleep: Some fall asleep easily, but toss and turn all night and wake up in the morning still feeling drained and exhausted.
Interrupted sleep: Others drop off to sleep without much trouble, but then find themselves waking in the middle of the night, unable to close their eyes and return to dreamland.
Non-starter sleep: And finally there are those who are ready for sleep, but sleep isn’t ready for them. Even when they’re feeling exhausted, they hit the sack only to find that they just can’t doze off.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at that third category, with two promising strategies that could help many who suffer from non-starter sleep.
Stay calm…and make a list
Most people don’t have to give much thought to preparing for sleep. They put on their pajamas, put their head on the pillow, and sleep shows up like a reliable old friend.
But there are literally millions who would trade almost anything for that luxury of dozing off quickly and staying asleep all night.
For these folks, a little preparation might help their cause considerably.
As I’ve mentioned before, making your sleep space a dark, quiet, haven of rest helps set the stage for well-earned slumber. You’re also more likely to get to sleep quickly, stay asleep, and feel rested if you turn off all screens before bedtime — I’m talking laptops, tablets, phones, and even TV screens. The “blue” light from those devices interferes with your natural production of melatonin — the “sleep hormone.”
After you turn off your screens, new research suggests that picking up a pen and paper might put insomniacs on the right track to sweet dreams.
Previous studies have shown that if you take a moment before bedtime to write about concerning issues in your life, it can help you get to sleep more quickly.
That sounds a little counter-intuitive to dwell on subjects that might be bothering you just before laying your head down. However, researchers at Baylor University’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory designed a study to investigate the benefits of list-making.
They recruited nearly 60 people between the ages of 18 and 30. Half the group was instructed to spend five minutes before bed writing a to-do list of things they needed to get done. The other half wrote about chores they had recently taken care of. Each participant spent the night in the Baylor sleep lab where their brain activity was monitored with polysomnography, which is considered the “gold standard” in sleep assessment.
Now, you might think that the satisfaction of ticking off a list of jobs well done might ease you into sleep better than a list of looming responsibilities. But surprisingly, results showed just the opposite.
Those who wrote to-do lists fell asleep significantly faster than those who wrote job-done lists. In addition, the more specific they were in detailing their upcoming duties and deadlines, the faster they fell asleep.
Obviously, this magic won’t work for every sleepless night owl, but with so little effort required and zero expense, it’s certainly worth a try.
The healing power of this unlikely veggie
If you decide to try the nightly to-do list approach, you might improve your odds of success by using a supplement shown to help smooth out mental stress and even improve your quality of sleep.
This groundbreaking sleep-aid takes its active ingredients from an unlikely ingredient: asparagus extract.
It’s called ETAS™, which stands for “enzyme-treated asparagus stem extract,” and it’s one of the primary supplements that Dr. Fred Pescatore recommends in his Perfect Sleep Protocol.
ETAS™ works by driving down two common stress markers: chromogranin A and the stress hormone you’ve probably heard about most often: cortisol. When these markers drop, that translates to relief for your overworked adrenal glands.
Research shows that ETAS™ significantly boosts expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs). Dr. Pescatore describes this effect: “HSPs are the little molecules responsible for the universal healing power of a nice, hot shower. Technically, their release can be triggered by several factors, including excess heat, infection, inflammation, and free radicals — most of which you probably recognize as unhealthy.”
Put another way, HSPs come to your body’s rescue. They protect AND repair damaged proteins (which are your body’s building blocks) and help these proteins stay functional when they come under assault.
In his protocol, Dr. Pescatore describes two randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials:
- “Supplementing with ETAS™ enhanced HSP release compared to placebo. But that’s not all — it also delivered significant improvement to subjects’ autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters. (Your ANS is responsible for the physical stress response — like increased heart rate and respiration.)”
- “Researchers focused on stress-related hormones and sleep. ETAS™ supplementation effectively suppressed cortisol elevation and decreased salivary chromogranin A levels. It also had a significant modulating effect on subjects’ sleep states.”
Other similar research reveals that ETAS™ supplements drive down cortisol levels (often dubbed the “stress hormone”) by as much as 80 percent. And it reduces chromogranin A levels (a protein that’s often a marker of psychological stress) twice as effectively as placebo. This has the effect of dramatically improving mental stress, quality of sleep, and even mood and energy levels.
If you choose to supplement with ETAS™, Dr. Pescatore recommends 200 – 400 mg of ETAS™ before bedtime. Be sure to consult with your primary care provider before altering your current supplement regimen.
ETAS™ offers what could be an effective solution to all three types of insomnia — especially to the non-starter type. For more natural, drug-free strategies to overcome your insomnia and wake up more rejuvenated, refer to Dr. Pescatore’s Perfect Sleep Protocol. To find out more or enroll today, click here.
The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists
Journal of Experimental Psychology
Can writing your ‘to-do’s’ help you to doze? Study suggests jotting down tasks can
January 11, 2018