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Banish Insomnia -- Sleep Safe with Amino Acids

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Health
There is something most uncivilized about living in a civilized world. What is it? Its hard to get good nights sleep.

Some of this punishing sleep deprivation is voluntary. Too much to do. Too much to see. Too many responsibilities. Not enough sleep.

For many people, sleep is a desperate need. People toss and turn, but sleep does not come. Others get to sleep only to awaken later in the middle of the night. In the morning, thousands (millions?) head off to work bleary-eyed, trying to be productive. Its a vicious cycle.

Eventually exhaustion can get bad enough that a person seeks help from their doctor, who obligingly writes a prescription for some pills. At first, they work well and the sleepless person gets some much needed relief.

However, the real nightmare is about to begin. After awhile, the sleeping pills stop working. Unfortunately, by then, the person is addicted. The doctor has been told the drugs are not addictive by the drug manufacturer. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests drug manufacturers arent giving doctors the whole story. Theres big money in having a non-addictive sleeping pill. As the saying goes, Money Talks.

It turns out that there is another way, but not one health insurance will pay for. Because there are no large drug companies standing behind this alternative, health insurance companies dont recognize it as a therapeutic choice.

Contrary to what doctors usually are taught both in medical schools and from drug companies, nutrition plays a large role in getting a good nights sleep. There are a number of vitamins and minerals that support sleep. An internet search for insomnia vitamins and insomnia minerals provides a wealth of information about these nutritional supports.

Staying away from nicotine, caffeine and alcohol helps in getting a good nights sleep, as does having a good diet and getting regular exercise

Amino acids are lesser known for their importance in being able to get enough sleep, but they are just as vital. L-Tryptophan, for example, is called essential for a reason. People cant live without it.

Without enough L-Tryptophan, or its easier-to-get cousin, 5-HTP (5-Hydroxy Tryptophan), human beings are not able to calm down. Sound familiar? Usually, about 100 mg of 5-HTP provides enough relaxation that sleep becomes an option for an average adult. Experimentation to discover an appropriate dosage is safe and easy.

Sleep becomes an option with enough L-Tryptophan in the brain. This is where L-Theanine, another commonly available amino acid, comes in. Its a sleep time amplifier, providing more rest in less time. A dose of 100 mg at bed time is a good starting place.

Finally, GABA (yet another amino acid) works for some people. Most sleeping pills work on the same part of the brain that uses GABA. Unfortunately, for technical reasons, just taking GABA does not always work that well. Trying 200 mg at bed time is a good starting place. It may or may not work.

Anyone having trouble getting a good nights sleep can leave the sleeping pills in the cabinet. Instead, trying some 5-HTP, L-Theanine and GABA is an inexpensive option. These supplements are a safe and non-addictive alternative.