Stop Eating Before Bed – It’s Ruining Your Sleep!

The conventional wisdom about eating before bed has been the same for many years: don’t to do it! Most of the time, people say that you might gain weight, sleep poorly, or not be able to get any sleep at all if you eat right before bed. But following a good sleep diet and avoiding food before bedtime is easier said than done. It’s not always easy to fall asleep if your empty stomach is growling and twisting itself inside-out. And for some people, eating late is an inescapable part of their social life.

So what do you do when you have trouble avoiding eating before bed? Is there any way to achieve weight loss, sleep better, stay healthy, and enjoy your late-night meals? There can be. But it can be difficult to master. You should first educate yourself on the realities of why eating before bed is bad for you. Then, if you still insist on eating late at night, you can follow some practical tips and tricks to try and reduce the damage.

Do You Want a Longer Lifespan and Healthspan? Then Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Within the last couple of decades, science has made a huge push into figuring out how longevity works. They’ve also been studying how to increase someone’s quality of life. If you’ve ever heard someone say “40 is the new 30”, it’s thanks to this push into longevity science. And the hot topic of longevity science these days is something called autophagy.

Have you ever watched an old movie where someone would microdose themselves with arsenic in order to build up an immunity to that poison? Autophagy is similar, but much less dangerous and much more natural. Subjecting your body to a tiny amount of stress causes different biological reactions in your body which make you stronger, healthier, and more resilient. It can even turn back the clock a tiny bit and make you feel more youthful.

But everything comes at a cost. And for most people, triggering autophagy can be a bit unpleasant. But you can get a head start by timing your meals so that you spend as many hours as you can in a fasted state overnight. This will require you to give up your evening meals, of course. But if you can wake up feeling refreshed, see more beautiful skin when you look in the mirror, and give yourself a stronger immune system, isn’t it worth it?

If You Have Problems With Inflammation, Then Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Some inflammation is necessary in order for optimal health. If you work out, do you need a little bit of inflammation to recover your strength and improve your cardiovascular health before you workout again. You need inflammation in the form of an immune response whenever you get sick. Otherwise, you would never recover. But when inflammation happens too often, you could end up with annoying problems like arthritic joints, a depressed mood, and even more serious conditions.

So how is this connected to eating before bed? We’re glad you asked:

  • Eating before bed increases your blood sugar
  • This signals your pancreas to release insulin
  • Within a few hours, your blood sugar will crash mightily  
  • This sugar crash will send your body into a panic mode (while you are trying to sleep, no less)
  • The stress hormone, cortisol, spikes in panic mode
  • Too much cortisol in your system kicks the inflammation process into high gear, eventually surpassing normal levels

But if you don’t eat before bed, none of this will happen. As a matter of fact, you will enter a fasted state in which your body starts the autophagy process. And that’s when you start to see healthful results.

If You’re Worried About Adrenal Fatigue, Don’t Eat Before Bed!

Have we mentioned cortisol yet in this article? Because if we haven’t, we need to. We’ve just gone over the strong connection to late night meals and excess cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is one of the many problems you may face if you produce too much of this stress hormone. And guess which organ in your body produces cortisol? If your answer is the adrenal glands, you get a gold star.

Symptoms of minor adrenal fatigue include premature aging, weight gain, brain fog, and unpleasant mood swings. Chronic adrenal fatigue may even lead to something called secondary hypothyroidism. This is different from regular hypothyroidism because your thyroid is being influenced by a problem with your adrenal glands. Primary hypothyroidism is just a malfunction of the thyroid by itself. As bad as a malfunctioning thyroid is, a malfunctioning thyroid which happens along side malfunctioning adrenals compounds the negative health effects that much more.

Tips to Get Around Eating Before Bed

So far, the information we provided you was for factual purposes only. We’re not trying to scare you or manipulate you into behaving any specific way. We just want you to know the truth so that you can make healthy, well informed decisions for yourself. Skipping late-night meals is one decision that thousands of people are making and getting better health and wellness as a result. But that’s not the only thing you can do to extend your quality and quantity of life.

If you’re eating before bed because you can’t fall asleep on an empty stomach, try this instead: a good natural sleep aid like Avinol PM 30 minutes before bedtime. Immediately wash it down with a full glass of water. This will trick your stomach into thinking It is full of food so that you aren’t tossing and turning because your stomach is tossing and turning.

Herbal sleep aids are also good if they contain melatonin like avinol PM does. When your body has more melatonin in it, it signals your biology to stop producing cortisol. This, in turn, mutes the inflammatory response suffered by people who eat too soon before bed.

Lastly, if you simply cannot avoid eating before bed, try a very small, healthy snack which is designed to boost melatonin and 5-HTP levels in your body. Boosting these two important hormones promotes relaxation and helps you get healthier sleep. A small glass of warm milk and one half of a banana make an excellent example snack. The protein in the milk and the B vitamins in the carbs come together and produce more melatonin and 5-HTP. But feel free to choose your own protein and carbohydrate if you don’t like milk or bananas.

We hope this blog post has been helpful, and that you can use the information we’ve provided to get better sleep tonight. Pleasant dreams!

What Keeps You up at Night? Figuring it Out Can Help You Get Better Rest

Statistics tell us that around 20% of the US population reports having difficulty falling asleep at night. That’s over 60 million people! The statistics are very similar in first world countries all over the globe. Yet for some reason, we as humans have a very hard time figuring out why this is such a big problem.

It shouldn’t be that hard. But it seems as though humans are the only members of the animal kingdom which struggle to get the rest that they need for optimal health and wellness. We decided to do a deep dive and figure out the root causes of all of this rampant insomnia. After all, the first step to solving a problem is figuring out why you have one. And once you know the source, you can come up with a strategic game plan to get rid of it.

Mental Blocks Could Have You Tossing and Turning   

For the vast majority of people, our problems falling asleep at night, staying asleep through the night, and getting enough sleep are mental. It’s very hard for most people to admit this fact. Many people see it as a sign of weakness or a lack of control over their own emotions. On top of that, mental health issues are so poorly understood that popping a sleeping pill feels much easier than dealing with the actual problem. These pills may help people fall asleep at night, but the chemicals in these drugs are reducing the quality of your rest at the same time. And that’s just not good.

Whether it’s anxiety, stress, loneliness, or clinical depression, mental health issues play a huge factor in most cases of insomnia. And the worst insomnia gets, the worst your mental health can be because it has a negative impact on the functionality of your brain. Luckily, there are some simple fixes you can utilize tomorrow – or even right now – in order to help alleviate some of your mental tension. These include:

  • Download a free app and start practicing mindfulness
  • Schedule a “playdate” with your closest friends – especially if you haven’t seen them in a while
  • Make sure to make time for your family – close family bonds are a big mood-booster
  • Stay away from stimulating media (TV, books, movies, and more) that might make you anxious or worked up right before bed

Of course, nothing you read here should be a substitute for sound medical advice from a trained primary care physician. You should definitely talk to your doctor first, especially if you have trouble falling asleep more than once or twice a week. Just that tiny little dent in your regular sleep rhythm can have a seriously detrimental effect on your health over the long-term.

Aches and Pains Can Rob You of Your Sleep

It’s not always a mental block that keeps people awake at night. There are plenty of physical causes, too. Some of them are obvious, while others may be a little more subtle. But you should definitely listen to your body and change your sleep routine if you experience any of the following:

  • Menstrual cramps – obviously, we’re talking to the ladies on this one. Yes, anxiety and mood swings can keep you awake during your monthly cycle. But so can the physically uncomfortable cramps and bloating which also happen. Heating pads and Tylenol are a good start to solving this problem; but if that doesn’t work, it’s time to call your doctor.
  • Temperature – to get the best possible sleep, your bedroom should be cool, ideally around 68° Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for most people because it involves raising your energy costs. Altering your thermostat is usually more expensive, but a large fan may do the trick without using too much electricity – and give you the benefit of some soothing white noise to fall asleep to.
  • Midday nap – if you constantly find yourself feeling tired in the afternoon after lunch, you may be the type of person who needs a midday nap. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s perfectly natural. Shoot for anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes, or else you may oversleep and make the problem worse.
  • Too much caffeine – If you’re a coffee junkie who’s tried everything other than restricting your caffeine intake to improve your sleep, then you’re going to have to stop drinking coffee after 11:59 AM. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to struggle indefinitely. We know that may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but it’s a painful truth you may just need to face.
  • Too little sex – or lackluster sex, for that matter, can give you problems getting to sleep. Research shows that the more frequently you make love to your partner, and the more satisfying it is, the less trouble you will have falling asleep. As if you needed an excuse.
  • Too little exercise – if you don’t burn off a good amount of energy during the day with exercise, it can leave you feeling restless at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping. You should probably step up your exercise routine if you are already physically active. And if you’re not, you should definitely get out there and get moving. Even if it’s just a 20-minute brisk walk after dinner, it can make a difference in your nightly rest.
  • An uncomfortable bed – how old is your mattress? When was the last time you bought new sheets? Aside from the main tenets of sleep hygiene, you should be sleeping somewhere comfy, too. Buying new bedroom furniture is expensive – but it can be a worthwhile investment if you have the cash.

Fix Those Problems With a Natural Sleep Aid

We find it’s best to try and take a natural approach to improving your sleep. Between meditation, eating a healthier diet, exercising properly, and more, you’ll get the best sleep if you do all of these things on a regular basis. You can also help yourself by taking a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM. Just one dose half an hour before bed can help relax you enough to give you the restorative rest you need. It couldn’t be simpler.

The Sleep Hygiene Bible: How to Get Your Best Sleep

People often wonder what the silver bullet solution is to getting better sleep. But here’s the thing: the reason most people struggle to find the answer is because they’re asking the wrong question. There is no one single, perfect solution to getting better sleep at night. But there are a set of behaviors that you can change, stop, or start that will contribute to a better night’s sleep. It’s called sleep hygiene, and the more religiously you follow/practice its principles, the greater the quantity and the quality of sleep you’ll get.

Banish Bright Lights in the Evening Hours

One of the main principles of sleep hygiene is getting your body back into its natural circadian rhythm. Much of this rhythm is very closely attuned to the rising and falling of the sun. When the sun rises, the body senses that it’s time to wake up; when the sun sets and you are surrounded by darkness, the body senses that it’s time to sleep. But these days, we’re surrounded by a ton of bright lights. And it’s throwing our daily rhythm way off track.

These lights – especially those which come from the electronic blue lights of our phones, televisions, and computer screens – are contributing to our sleep problems. When you are constantly bombarded by these bright blue lights, your brain stops producing melatonin at night like it should. When you aren’t producing melatonin at night, you aren’t sleeping, end of story. Thankfully, there are some very simple changes you can make that will fix the problem.

Fixing the Bright Light Overexposure Problem

It would be ideal for our quality of sleep if we could go back to the caveman days and eliminate all electronic light from our evening hours. But this simply isn’t realistic. The good news is that you don’t have to stumble around in the dark or by candlelight just to prime your body for sleep. Instead, try doing some or all of the following:

  • Mount some blackout curtains over your bedroom window(s), or install a curtain rod and buy some blackout curtains for it if you don’t already have some
  • Try and find a blue light filter for your phone and/or other electronic devices
  • “Unplug” from all of your electronics and spend at least 30 minutes in bed reading or doing some other type of analog activity
  • Use dimmer switches or install them on the lights you use in the evening to simulate a low-light atmosphere. If you don’t have the funds for this mini home remodeling, try using lamps with dark shades to get a similar effect

Make Sure Your Diet and Exercise Routine Work in Tandem With Your Sleep Goals

Sometimes, as frustrating as it may be, our nutrition and fitness goals don’t exactly coincide well with our sleep goals. Furthermore, you could have such a hectic schedule that your lack of a proper diet and exercise routine is also harmful for your sleep. It’s not just about eating the right foods or doing the right exercises. Like managing your light exposure, it’s also very much about timing.

Making Simple Diet and Exercise Changes for Better Sleep  

Also, not unlike controlling your light exposure, fixing your diet and exercise routine is fairly simple and great for getting better sleep. Here’s a few tips to start you out:

  • Make sure you exercise on a regular basis and at the same time each day. Even something as simple as a lively 30 minute walk a few times a week in the evening can prep your body for better sleep
  • Eat most of your calories during the early hours of the day and avoid eating too close to bedtime. If you absolutely must eat, stick to slow digesting foods like high-fiber veggies, protein, and whole grains
  • In general, you want to eliminate as many of the sugary foods, processed carbs, and trans fats from your diet as you can – regardless of the time of day

Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Use the Wrong Sleep Aid

Remember when we talked about searching for a silver bullet solution earlier? The quest for that one solution leads most people down a very specifically wrong path: relying upon a sleep aid in order to solve their problems. Granted, there are certain sleep aids out there which can be effective and safe. Unfortunately, most people aren’t taking those types of sleep aids.

Many people who can afford to do so get a prescription sleep drug from their physician. But this is one of the worst things you can do. Prescription sleeping pills have a ton of dangerous and scary side effects, including performing certain actions like driving or eating while your brain is technically asleep. The drugs may also backfire and make you sleepier in the morning than you would be if you had slept very little or if you had tried to sleep naturally. Furthermore, long-term use (and abuse) of prescription sleep aids damages your brain and can eventually rob you of your ability to sleep naturally. Unless it’s some sort of life or death situation or unless you know you will only be using it for a very short period of time, try to stay away from the prescriptions.

And if you’re thinking that over-the-counter sleep aids must be a better, safer option since you don’t need to go to a doctor to get approval, think again. You’re still getting all of the same problems you would be with prescription sleep aids, albeit with fewer wacky and less extreme side effects. But the basic problems are the same – “a hangover” the next morning, dependence/abuse, and damage to your nervous system over time. Some studies have even shown a correlation between long-term exposure to the main ingredient in over the counter sleeping pills and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Picking the right sleep aid is much easier than most people think. Just remember one word: “natural”. If the ingredients aren’t natural, then don’t take it. There are lots of herbal sleep aids out there which contain things like melatonin, 5-HTP, chamomile, and other safe yet effective ingredients that can help you improve your sleep. So give a natural herbal sleep supplement a try, and make sure it becomes a part of your sleep hygiene routine.

Science Has Discovered That 5-HTP Is Good for Sleep

So you’re having trouble sleeping. You may be thinking about asking your doctor for a prescription sleep aid or picking up an over the counter sleeping pill. Unfortunately, these are some of the worst possible options you could take. In the short-term, they will ruin the quality of your sleep, even if you feel like they’re helping you fall asleep faster and sleep more hours. Long-term, this inferior sleep quality will cause serious health problems.

So what can you do instead? Well, one recent solution which science has discovered involves a little molecule called 5-HTP. Along with other things like a good diet, more exercise, and healthful sleep hygiene practices, getting more 5-HTP into your body can help reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep while improving your overall sleep quality. You can start trying to get more 5-HTP by incorporating more protein into your diet.  You may also want to invest in a 5-HTP supplement. If you really want to cover all your bases, you can combine the two. In this post, we’re going to elaborate on the importance of 5-HTP as well as how you can get more of it.

5-HTP and Its Mechanism of Action

Explaining exactly what 5-HTP does in the body can get a little convoluted. But we encourage you to bear with us. 5-HTP has a lot of utility and is capable of multitasking in ways that most other compounds cannot. 5-HTP is a type of building block which, when combined with other proteins, fatty acids, and similar nutrients, can construct some very important neurotransmitters. There’s another word four neurotransmitters that you’ve probably already heard before: endorphins. As the iconic movie Legally Blonde once put it: “Endorphins make you happy”. And happy people don’t have trouble sleeping. They just don’t.

To be fair to the science of it, not all neurotransmitters make you happy. We are oversimplifying it a little bit to make it easier to understand. But 5-HTP counteracts those transmitters that don’t make you happy by creating more of the ones that do: melatonin and serotonin. Most people these days do have a decent amount of knowledge about serotonin. It’s the endorphin that so many antidepressant prescriptions are (allegedly) designed to boost in our brains. When you have more serotonin in your brain, you feel happier and less stressed out. When you experience an elevated mood more frequently and you have less stress in your life, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and get a higher quality of sleep each night.

Melatonin, the sleep hormone of which 5-HTP is a precursor, also helps you fall asleep and increases the quality of your rest. Melatonin is supposed to be released at night after the sun goes down and the darkness comes. But the double edged sword of modern technology means that we are constantly exposed to things that inhibit our body’s ability to produce melatonin. Putting more 5-HTP into your body can help with this problem by giving your body the building blocks it needs to produce enough melatonin. You can also follow better sleep hygiene habits so that you can trigger melatonin production more easily and efficiently.

What You Need to Do to Get More 5-HTP

There are a couple of different methods you can use if you feel like you are not getting enough 5-HTP in your body. The good news is that all of them are perfectly natural. They also don’t have any known reported side effects. But there are some other facets of your life which can make it a little challenging to get the 5-HTP you need.

5-HTP is most abundant in protein – specifically, animal protein and animal-derived protein products. So if you are vegan or vegetarian and you’re concerned about your 5-HTP intake, you might be fighting an uphill battle. 5-HTP comes from amino acids, and amino acids come from protein. But not all amino acids are created equal. And certain types of protein have greater amounts of the amino acids that your body needs to build 5-HTP than others. This is why so many vegans and vegetarians struggle to produce the amount of 5-HTP they need to stay healthy.

At the same time, even if you don’t adhere to a strict diet, it can be difficult to estimate how much 5-HTP you’re getting from the food you eat. It’s not like our food labels go into detail about the amino acids which exist in the proteins we eat. And even if they did, it’s hard to measure or predict how much 5-HTP your body will produce from those amino acids without some sort of medical test. Supplementing with 5-HTP is an easier way to keep track of the quantity of htp in your system. They are relatively inexpensive, and they’re easy to take. They’ve been available for quite a while, and there are a lot of people who swear by them. But that begs the next question…

What Is the Best Way to Supplement With 5-HTP?

If you’re going to go the supplement route, you have two choices: you can supplement with 5-HTP only, or you could take a supplement which includes 5-HTP. A supplement which contains only 5-HTP can have some benefits. It may be less expensive than a more complex supplement with many different ingredients. If your system is very sensitive to supplementation, it may be less risky to stick with a one-ingredient 5-HTP supplement. And you will know right away whether or not 5-HTP actually helps you sleep since there will be no other variables involved.

On the other hand, taking a sleep supplement like Avinol PM (which incorporates 5-HTP into its formula) has many upsides, too. One of the reasons supplementing with 5-HTP alone may not work is due to a lack of synergy. Avinol PM contains the ingredients it does because scientific research says they work well together to boost each individual compound’s positive effect. Secondly, if you tried to buy each ingredient separately, it would be much more expensive than purchasing them all at the same time by ordering a supply of Avinol PM. So yes, 5-HTP can help you with your sleep problems – either by itself, or as an essential part of a complete natural sleep aid formula.

How Do You Know If You’re Getting Enough REM Sleep?

Do you know what REM sleep is? Do you know how important it is for your overall health? And, most importantly, do you know whether or not you’re getting enough of it? It’s only in recent years that we’ve become aware of what REM sleep is and how important it is so the overall health and wellness of the average person. So we’re dedicating some time and space to talking about this important topic today. Get ready to learn all you’ve ever wanted to know – and then some – about REM sleep.

REM Sleep: the Basics

You sometimes hear people talking about it and TV or movies, but the way they discuss it only really scratches the surface. REM is an acronym for rapid eye movement”. In a way, this name is a little bit funny. This particular stage of sleep got its name because – surprise, surprise – one very common characteristic of REM sleep is that a person’s eyes tend to dart back and forth rapidly. But the funny thing about it is that the rest of the human body in a healthy individual is completely paralyzed. It’s a physical state called atonia.

The human body slips into atonia during REM sleep because this is the stage of sleep where most people experience dreams. And when people dream, if something somehow inhibits the atonia process, there’s a high likelihood they will get up and start to physically act out what they are experiencing in their dream world. This phenomenon has been shown in animal experiments where scientists have purposely inhibited the atonia process. Examples of it in humans are what many believe to be instances of sleepwalking. The reigning theory is that atonia is the body’s natural defense mechanism to protect us from ourselves while we dream. If we didn’t have atonia, who knows – we could end up walking straight off a cliff in our sleep!

The brain is very active during REM sleep, contrary to what most people believe. Another funny name for REM sleep is called paradoxical sleep because brain wave activity spikes to the point where in almost resembles that of a waking person. But there may be a reasonable explanation for this. Scientists firmly believe that REM sleep is the portion of your sleep cycle where your brain is processing and storing new memories. It’s almost like running a defrag program on your hard drive – except for your brain!

Why Does the Human Body Need REM Sleep?

The body requires REM sleep for optimal mind-body health and wellness. If it weren’t for REM sleep, you would have some serious memory problems – especially when it comes to long-term memories. Studies show that people who get a good, healthy amount of REM sleep have better and more reliable long-term memory. They also do better when remembering recently learned things, like cramming before a final and getting an A instead of a B on the test. And if you have been working hard to learn new information recently, then your body will very likely spend more time in a REM sleep state during your nightly rest.

People of every age need REM sleep – but certain ages need it more than others. Infants, children, and teenagers spend the greatest amount of time in REM sleep. The younger your brain is, the more things it has to learn as you grow. It was completely understandable why the body would dedicate so much of its sleep resources to getting enough rem. As you get older – and this is especially true the less time you spend learning new things and/or practicing the skills you have – the less time your body will spend in REM sleep. And the less REM sleep you get, well…That brings us to our next section.

What’s the Harm in Getting Less REM Sleep?

Two words: cognitive decline. And we’re not just talking about memory or tripping on your own tongue or being able to do Sudoku less quickly. We’re talking about a myriad of different symptoms, such as:

  • Migraines
  • Decline in coping skills
  • All day fatigue, especially in the morning
  • Very low energy levels
  • Age-related brain diseases and symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Forced rebound REM sleep and delirium tremens (in extreme cases)

There’s a chance you could also experience weight gain, inflammation, and poor immune responses as a result of too little REM sleep. It’s during this stage of sleep and the slightly deeper stage – delta sleep – that your body cleans house and repairs most of the damage you received from your daily activities. But if your body never hits these sleep stages, those repairs never happen. And it screws up everything in your body from your immune system to your metabolism to your brain function and beyond.

How to get the healthiest possible REM sleep

The best way to make sure the most REM sleep you can when you need it most is to avoid drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. Alcohol is a strong and well-known inhibitor of REM sleep. Benzodiazepines have a very similar effect, which is problematic seeing as how often they are prescribed for conditions like insomnia and anxiety.

There are other drugs which also inhibit REM sleep, but not nearly as profoundly as alcohol or powerful narcotics. Cannabis has been shown to depress the REM sleep cycle, although there isn’t enough scientific data to suggest whether certain strains create this affect more than others – or whether there may actually be strains of the plant which can help encourage and improve REM sleep. Prescription sleeping pills which are not benzodiazepines, as well as off-label prescription sleep aids and over the counter sleeping pills can also inhibit REM sleep. Your best bet is to stay away from these drugs if you can.

So what should you do instead of relying on hard drugs to help with your sleep problems? Try to find a safe, natural sleep aid to help you get the rest you want and the REM sleep your body needs. Avinol PM is great for that. It has the perfect mix of natural ingredients that are potent enough to give you the sleep you need but gentle enough that they won’t produce any negative side effects or leave you groggy the next day. You should try ordering some Avinol PM now!

You Might Want to Start Supplementing With Melatonin at Night

Supplementing with melatonin in order to help you get better sleep is a very popular habit these days. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may be skeptical about whether or not it actually works. Is it just a placebo? Does it really help people get to sleep faster, and sleep better through the night? Are there other health benefits besides improved sleep quality? If you keep reading, you will find out all of the answers to these questions and more. You may even decide that a nightly dose of melatonin is right for you.

Explaining Melatonin’s Role in the Human Body

Melatonin is one of the most important hormones in the human body. Yes, you read that right; melatonin is a hormone. And it has a very strong connection to your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a series of biological reactions in your body which happen as a result of the rising and setting of the sun in any 24-hour period. If you have a healthy sleep cycle and healthy melatonin production, this means you will feel awake and energized in the morning and tired and ready for bed at the end of the day. Unfortunately, for most of up these days, this is not the case.

Melatonin is an extremely important component of the human circadian rhythm. It becomes most active and most potent what’s the sun begins to set. Daylight is full of what scientists refer to as “blue light”. The reason the human body tends to wake up and feel active during the daylight hours is because this blue light flip a switch in your brain with shuts off melatonin and produces other, wakefulness hormones to get you going. Before the invention of electricity – especially many of our modern electrical appliances today – the only time the human body was exposed to this blue light was while the sun was up. Unfortunately, these days, we are exposed to it 24/7.

When your body is constantly bombarded with blue light, your internal switch never flips. Your body doesn’t get the hint that the sun has gone down and that it is time to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) so that you can get ready for a restorative night’s rest. This leaves many people feeling restless, anxious, and wide awake at bedtime. The best solution to this problem is to avoid electronic light within a few hours of bedtime so that your body knows it’s time to pump out melatonin. Unfortunately, for some, this is easier said than done.

How to Produce More Melatonin

It may be difficult, but it is not impossible to retrain your brain to produce melatonin at night and slip back into a healthy circadian rhythm. Here are some simple steps you can take in order to encourage nighttime melatonin production:

  • Spend as much time in the presence of natural light – especially during the early morning hours – as you possibly can. Early morning light exposure helps prime your brain to be more wakeful earlier in the day and more relaxed in the evening
  • Make small investments in blackout curtains and/or a thick, comfortable sleep mask which blocks out ambient light. Sleeping in complete darkness (or as close to complete darkness as you can get) helps your body produce more melatonin
  • Either limit your exposure to electronic light in the evening hours (this includes computers, tablets, smartphones, televisions, and the like) or buy yourself some blue light blocking glasses to help your brain produce melatonin before you go to bed
  • Mindfulness meditation in the evening has been scientifically shown to promote relaxation and shift brain waves into a more relaxed state

We hope that making one or several of these changes can have a positive impact on your ability to sleep well at night. But if you’re still having trouble, it’s understandable to reach for a melatonin sleep supplement. And you’ll be happy to know that there are even more benefits to melatonin supplements than just better sleep!

Melatonin Supplements Have Whole Body Benefits

The most popular reason to take a melatonin supplement is to promote relaxation, drowsiness, and better sleep quality at night. But that’s not all melatonin can do for you. There are other secondary benefits which you can enjoy with a daily dose of melatonin. You may be surprised at some of these!

Melatonin Is a Strong Antioxidant

We’ll bet money you just learned a new fact that you didn’t know before. For those who are out of the loop, antioxidants are natural compounds which protect human cells from oxidative damage. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid oxidative damage. It’s a common byproduct of your cells performing their day-to-day functions in order to stay alive and healthy. Cells can’t avoid oxidative damage any more than a human being can avoid going to the bathroom. But an excess of oxidative damage can I have some very serious consequences if you don’t clean it up by infusing your cells with antioxidants.

Antioxidants protect against DNA damage which, over time, can cause deformed cells and may even lead to cancer. Antioxidants also protect your mitochondrial health which scientists are now starting to discover has a direct effect on youthfulness and anti-aging. Healthy cellular mitochondria are also responsible for making you feel energized during the day.

Other Health and Wellness Benefits of Melatonin

So those are the microscopic benefits of melatonin. But what about the macroscopic ones? Well, melatonin improves your immune system function. It helps protect against harmful levels of inflammation while also enhancing your T-cells ability to neutralize viruses and bacteria. There are also strong correlations between melatonin supplementation and reduced severity of chronic anxiety, ADHD, and autism symptoms. To be clear, melatonin is not a cure for these conditions nor should this article replace competent middle advice from your doctor. But if you or someone you know is suffering from any of these conditions, it may be worth discussing melatonin supplements with your physician. Lastly, melatonin supplements have helped people with chronic headaches.  Melatonin is exceptionally appropriate when you’re talking about cluster headaches. It has been shown to both reduce the severity and the frequency of these types of migraines.

Is Melatonin Safe?

Melatonin is absolutely safe. There is no such thing as “overdosing” on melatonin. No one has ever died or gotten sick from taking melatonin supplements. And it doesn’t have anything close to the horrible side effects which prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills do.

Oh, did we mention Avinol PM contains a generous amount of melatonin? Along with the other herbs, botanicals, and amino acids, melatonin makes up an essential component of this natural sleep aid. We hope you at least consider giving melatonin a try. And if that works well for you on its own, just imagine how much better it will work as a part of the Avinol PM formula.

Does Your Sleep Diet Suck? Improve Your Bad Sleep Diet Starting Today

Did you know that your diet could be having a detrimental effect on your sleep? And it’s not just what you’re eating – it’s how and when you’re eating it, too. As a matter of fact, those last two factors are much more important than scientists and Sleep Experts used to believe. Below, we’ll get into the how and when of your diet that you need to change in order to get better sleep. We’ve talked previously about what goes into a good sleep diet – but if you don’t improve upon your bad sleep tight, you may still have issues with your sleep.

The What, the When, and the Why of a Poor Sleep Diet

If you’re having trouble getting good sleep, then you may be eating/drinking things that are contributing to the problem. You may not have to completely eliminate them from your dad and lifestyle if you consume them at the right times. However, you should still know about the dangers they pose if you really want to improve your nightly rest.

The What: Alcohol

The when: too close to or immediately before bedtime  

The why: Look, we get it. Whether it’s a recommended dose of powerful cold medicine or a good, stiff drink (if not several), it feels like it’s easier to get to sleep when you’ve got some alcohol in your system. It does a great job of knocking you out, especially if worries and anxieties keep you up at night. But over the long term, this is a terrible thing for many reasons.

Alcohol only knocks you out – not unlike some prescription sleeping pills. But it doesn’t keep you asleep all night. Most people who fall asleep while intoxicated sleep fewer hours and experience a more shallow sleep cycle than they would have had they gone to bed sober. On top of all that, most people report having more difficulty getting back to sleep. This makes sense, especially with excessive intoxication that can leave you feeling miserable and hungover when you wake. Lastly, the reason we sleep is to restore and regenerate our bodies after the damage of our day. but this doesn’t happen if you fall asleep and your body has to divert resources to metabolizing the alcohol in your bloodstream. This causes cumulative damage over time which not only disrupts your sleep, but causes harm to your overall health.

The What: Caffeine

The when: anytime during the afternoon or evening hours

The why: Caffeine is perfectly fine in moderation and when you restrict it to the morning hours only. But excessive caffeine intake and/or ingesting it at the wrong time of day can wreak havoc on your sleep. Caffeine can continue circulating in your bloodstream from anywhere to 6-8 hours after you drink it (or take a caffeine pill). It may take even longer for your body to process it if your metabolism is slower than average. This means that at bedtime when you should be relaxing, the caffeine is spiking your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels make you feel stressed out, anxious, and alert. The evening hours are the worst possible time for your cortisol levels to spike.

The What: Spicy Food

The when: late at night

The why: Because it can cause you pain and other unpleasant symptoms of indigestion. Falling asleep is difficult for many of us for non-physical reasons. But experiencing acute pain on top of that? Say hello to tossing and turning all night! Worst of all, spicy foods can aggravate your stomach lining and even relax the stomach valve that keeps your food from rolling back up into your esophagus. This can cause heartburn or force you to sleep in an uncomfortable inclined position, make it harder for you to fall asleep.

The What: Processed Food

The when: 24/7

The why: Your body needs specific micronutrients, amino acids, and minerals in order to produce happy, relaxing neurotransmitters in your brain. When you don’t get enough of these nutrients, you suffer from things like serotonin imbalances, poor melatonin production, and hormone dysregulation. This will completely throw your circadian rhythm out of whack and throw a wrench in your daily sleep cycle.

We know we probably sound like a broken record by recommending that you eat more fruits and vegetables, but it really does work. Fresh produce gives you things like B vitamins, magnesium, and certain types of whole food fatty acids which are essential for producing sleep hormones at night. The more processed food you eat – anything that typically comes out of a can, a box, or the freezer section of your supermarket – the more excess sodium, processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats you end up digesting. Not only are these foods scarce in nutrients, but there are notorious for causing the type of hormone dysregulation which makes you gain weight, feel depressed, and promotes sleep deprivation.

The Upside Down Food Pyramid (and How it Affects Your Sleep)

Take a look at the eating schedule most people typically follow on the standard american diet: a small or non-existent breakfast in the morning, intermittent snacks between late morning and early evening when they should be eating lunch, and a large, calorie-dense meal sometimes within an hour or two of going to sleep. As it turns out, this is the exact opposite way we should be eating. Our bodies evolved and adapted to a completely different eating schedule.

A healthier eating regimen looks like an upside-down pyramid. You start out by eating your largest, most calorie-dense meal soon after waking up. This is just like filling your tank with gas right before starting a long road trip. You load your body up on the fuel it needs to get through a day. Eating a moderate lunch in the middle of the day helps give you an extra boost if your energy levels start to drop. Finally, a small meal in the evening which is eaten (at most) two to three hours before bed can give you a little nutrition to help your body reset and restore itself while you rest. The fewer calories you ingest, the sooner your body will start fasting while you sleep, which triggers all sorts of great health benefits.

On top of everything, you should add a natural sleep aid to your daily sleeping and eating schedule. It helps enhance and improve the benefits you get from following a healthier sleep diet. It’s amazing what just a few simple lifestyle changes can do for improving your rest and overall health.

Start Following a Good Sleep Diet Today

Start Following a Good Sleep Diet Today

You may not have heard of the good sleep diet – but that’s because it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Yes, there is a type of diet you can and should be following if you want to get better sleep. But it’s not all about what’s on your plate. It’s a series of lifestyle choices you need to follow if you want to make quality sleep an important priority in your life.

First, Get Yourself on a Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the most important circles in the good sleep diet – even more important than your plate – is your clock. Your internal clock especially is very important when it comes to getting a healthy amount asleep when you need it. And if you want to sync your internal clock with your daily schedule, you need to stick to a regular sleeping schedule. Otherwise, you may leave yourself tossing and turning at night, failing to sleep at all, and always feeling tired the next day.

It’s not just the schedule where you rise with the sun and sleep in the evening, either – it’s the schedule around how your feed yourself which also plays an important role. The past few decades have shoved this idea down people’s throats that eating little to nothing in the morning and a big dinner in the evening is the healthy way to eat. This is SAD – the Standard American Diet – and it is exactly what the acronym implies. Take a look at the checklist below and make a mental note of which ones apply to you:

  • Do you eat a small breakfast each morning, if you eat one at all?
  • Do you skip lunch often, usually in favor of grazing on small snacks throughout the day?
  • Do you eat a large meal late in the day, sometimes within an hour or two of your bedtime?

Doing any or all of these things are likely causing problems with you getting enough sleep. But there are ways to change your habits in order to conform to a good sleep tight. Those, according to science, are:

  • Take your meals like an upside-down pyramid and eat most of your calories in the morning
  • Polarized eating can confuse your body, making it hard to sleep at night – so don’t skip lunch!
  • Swap your eating habits between your breakfast and your dinner – eat the fewest calories in the evening instead of at night
  • Do not eat a single crumb of food if you are 2 hours away from your bedtime or less
  • Nighttime snacks are only allowed if it is absolutely impossible for you to sleep on an empty stomach

We understand that nighttime discomfort can be a huge source of sleep distress. If you do need a late-night snack in order to calm your stomach, keep it very small and very simple. A glass of warm milk with a banana is a good example; it provides you with both the protein and the natural, complex carbs that you need to unlock the sleep hormones in your body.

If you sit down and think about it, this upside down pyramid strategy makes more sense than eating the other way around. You’ll get most of your calories in the morning when you need to fuel your body the most. You can ride those calories out during the day and taper off in the evening when you don’t need energy because you’re getting ready to sleep. This can also help you lose weight because if you burn through your daily calories earlier in the morning and afternoon, you won’t have very many calories to store as fat when you go to sleep in the evening.

A Good Sleep Diet Includes Good Sleep Hygiene

A good sleep diet, if you’re looking at the big picture, is a small but essential part of overall good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the name for the series of events you go through in order to perfect your bedtime routine. We plan on releasing a much more detailed post on sleep hygiene in the near future. But until then, start small with these tips:

  • The blue light from your electronics can sabotage your sleep because it stops your brain from producing melatonin – so turn off your electronics right before bed
  • Sleeping in a cooler room helps signal your body that it is time for bed; but we wouldn’t recommend anything below 68 degrees, or whatever you can afford on your energy bill
  • You can use certain things like blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out all the problematic ambient light; this light can also disturb your circadian rhythm at bedtime

We’d also like to add that manufactured sleeping drugs can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, too. Sure, they feel like they help. But they also make physical changes to your brain which causes many problems when she tried to stop using them. And even if you get off them successfully, the long-term damage will compromise your natural ability to get high quality sleep. so don’t do it! Go for a natural sleep aid instead.

The “Diet” Part of the Good Sleep Diet

Eating a diet that is also healthy for your sleep is actually fairly simple. It’s all about adding more healthy foods and cutting out the unhealthy ones from your meals. We’re sure we sound like a broken record when we say that you need to eat more whole foods from the produce section of the grocery store; but the reason everyone is repeating that sentiment over and over again is because it’s true! The more fresh, whole foods you eat, the more nutrients you will get. And the more nutrients you have circulating through your body, the easier it will be for your body to produce sleep hormones like melatonin when you need to get your rest.

When it comes to unhealthy foods, what should you cut out? Simple carbs, processed grains, and processed fats. Basically, anything that comes out of a box, a bag, or a can should be kept to a minimum. These foods are very light on nutrients, which interferes with your ability to produce sleep hormones. Furthermore, they’re abnormal molecular structure causes toxic build up in your system. This toxic buildup can eventually travel to your brain and make it difficult for you to feel sleepy when you should.

We hope you’ve gleaned a lot of valuable information on a good sleep diet from reading this article. Keep checking back for a follow-up about the bad sleep diet, and ways to avoid it.

If You’re Not Afraid of Off-label Prescription Sleeping Pills, Maybe You Should Be

Is your doctor thinking about prescribing you an off-label prescription sleep aid? Or do you already have a prescription filled? If the former scenario applies to you, then it’s not too late. If you’ve already had the script filled, you might want to call your pharmacist and ask if you can get your money back. In this article, will explain why.

Which Medications Do Doctors Prescribe Off-label for Sleep?

It’s okay if you don’t know off the top of your head which medications doctors usually prescribe off label for sleep. Heck, most people don’t know the names of medications that do get prescribed on-label for sleeping problems. But the fact that you’re on the internet right now searching for information is a good sign. It means you care about your health and your quality of sleep. It also means you understand the importance of a second opinion.

You should ask your doctor for as much information as possible about any and all medications you’re taking. You should ask for the name of it, you should ask about common side effects, and you should definitely ask whether or not it’s being prescribed on- or off-label for you. If your doctor tells you it’s an off-label prescription, be sure to follow up and ask him or her why they feel that’s the best option for you. It’s good to know all of this information to confirm that the medication isn’t being given to you irresponsibly.

After you get all of that information from your doctor, you can compare that to the information we have here for you in this article. Below is a brief summary of the top three off-label sleeping pills which doctors usually prescribe if their patient is having trouble sleeping. If you recognize any of these names, then you should pay especially close attention. Because you may learn about something your doctor hasn’t told you yet.

Mirtazapine

If you have a Mirtazapine prescription, you should be wary of the following side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Fast and significant weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • High triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • Dry mouth

 

For some people, This drug may go by its prescription name Remeron. But it also goes by other names depending on what country you live in. When this drug was originally invented it was used as an antidepressant. Unlike most antidepressants, however, it is not an SSRI. Most psychiatrist believe that mirtazapine is especially helpful for people with anxiety disorders. It is also typically prescribed on-label for nausea or for people who are vomiting so uncontrollably that they can’t keep food down. Doctors prescribe this medication to stimulate appetite in such cases. But since it is capable of inducing fatigue, it is a very popular off-label sleep aid.

Amitriptyline

For patients who are prescribed amitriptyline, the most common side effects they experience include:

  • Nightmares, or increased frequency of nightmares they were already having
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Decreased libido  
  • Impotence
  • Drop in blood pressure upon standing
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches  
  • Dizziness

Some can argue that amitriptyline is the most popular off-label prescription sleep aid. How did it become that? It’s a very good question. When drug companies originally started marketing the drug, they claimed it was most helpful for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. It was also prescribed for other, less clinical mental health issues. It is perhaps one of the oldest antidepressant medications out there. There has been some reported success and patients using amitriptyline for ADHD, but there isn’t as much evidence for that disorder as others. And it’s even considered an off-label script when it comes to ADHD. Still other doctors will write a prescription for amitriptyline to patients with fibromyalgia, posturepedic neuralgia, and other forms of miscellaneous nerve pain.

Trazodone

We’re starting to notice a pattern here: all of these off-label prescription pills, trazodone included, are antidepressants. Also, just like the other antidepressants on this list, trazodone is known to help patients who suffer from anxiety disorders. And what keeps most people awake at night? If you guest anxiety, you get a gold star. It makes sense to an extent to prescribe antidepressants for sleep if a) they are also designated for anti-anxiety purposes, and b) they have side effects which include drowsiness.

But there’s something about trazodone – and the other antidepressants on this list – which raises red flags. Specifically, it’s the dosing instructions patients get. It’s especially bad with trazodone because when it’s used off-label for sleep, patients can choose to take anywhere from 1 to 3 pills before bed as needed. “As needed” means they don’t need to take it on a daily basis. And if you’ve ever had an antidepressant prescribed to you, this will sound very strange.

Most doctors and pharmacists insist that antidepressants must be taken at the same dose every single day in order to avoid serious adverse reactions. They also advise titrating up slowly until reaching the most effective dose, and titrating back down slowly if you need to get off the medication for any reason. So which is it: are doctors being unnecessarily cautious when instructing their patients had to take their antidepressant medication, or are they being negligent and reckless when they tell patients to take these off label sleeping pills willy-nilly, whenever they want? At the end of the day, the answer to that question lies between you and your doctor. And it’s up to you to make the best decision for your health and wellness.

As an extra precaution, be sure to watch for the following side effects if you do decide to take trazodone to help with your sleep problems:

  • An erection lasting longer than 4 hours (a dangerous condition called priapism)
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Hepatotoxicity of the liver
  • Worsening depression or thoughts of suicide
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Orthostatic hypertension

The One Natural Cure Which Doesn’t Require an Off-label Prescription

There’s one sure-fire natural cure for sleeplessness that we know of – and it’s called Avinol PM. Between melatonin, 5-HTP, lemon balm, hops, and more, it has everything you would want in an herbal sleep aid. There are no known side effects – unlike the other pills we talked about so far – and it has a very high success rate as reported by satisfied customers. Many people who take this supplement report sleeping through the night more frequently, falling asleep faster, and waking up refreshed. Most prescription sleeping pills can’t produce those same results – whether on label, or off.

Is Your Doctor Being Honest About the Potential Dangers of Prescription Sleep Medication?

We’ve all had our problems getting the rest we want. Sometimes, when we struggle with this problem more often than not, those commercials on TV advertising prescription sleeping pills are very tempting. But if you have the means to get one of these scripts from your doctor, take pause for a moment to really think about the consequences before you rush to the pharmacy.

There are some very good reasons why you can’t just pick up these pills over the counter. If the drugs were safe as the drug companies want you to believe, why would you need both a pharmacist and a medically trained doctor to give you permission? The truth is that these powerful drugs are given out more often than they’re actually needed these days. And this wanton disregard for people’s safety in exchange for profit is doing more harm than good for people who probably don’t even need prescription sleep medication in the first place. Before you take a prescription in order to help you sleep, make sure you know about all of the risks. Otherwise, the treatment can become worse than the disease.

Prescription Sleep Aid Side Effects 101

Whether it’s for legal liability reasons or because there are very real concerns, the warning leaflets for most medications these days are the size of a small dictionary. And that’s just the information the drug manufacturers want you to know. There are some other things that they would rather keep secret, such as…

The Correlation Between Cancer and Prescription Sleep Aids

A recent scientific study analyzed the relationship between mortality rate, positive cancer diagnosis, and prescription sleeping pills. And this wasn’t published in some fly-by-night journal – this was published in BMJ Open, which is both indexed and well known for its scientific integrity. According to the study, people who took prescription sleeping pills on a regular basis had both higher mortality rates and were more likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. On top of this, there is some buried data conducted by FDA studies which may show that this BMJ study is evidence of not just correlation, but possible causation as well.

Sleeping Pills Have Withdrawal Symptoms

There are many reasons why someone may decide to quit sleeping pills cold turkey. Maybe they are forced to because they lose their health insurance or the medication suddenly becomes too expensive. Maybe they have to switch primary care doctors, and this new caregiver cares enough about their health to take away their script. Maybe a person up and decides on their own that they’ve had enough. Regardless, there are many unpleasant if not downright dangerous side effects you may experience from sleeping pill withdrawal. Some of those include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Panic attack
  • rebound insomnia, which can lead to sleep deprivation

There are a number of people who are taking prescription sleeping pills right now not because they want to or still need to, but because they are afraid of how miserable the withdrawal will be. This creates a cycle of dependence and addiction not unlike that of the opioid epidemic.

Performing Unhealthy, Dangerous, and Even Deadly Activities in Your Sleep

You’ve probably heard a funny story about somebody sleepwalking or sleep eating or sleep tweeting racist comments while under the influence of a prescription sleeping pill. You may have just laughed it off in passing; but the truth is that doing any activity (other than sleeping) while under the influence of prescription sleep medication can be extremely dangerous. Eating late at night – and most likely eating very unhealthy foods – is both bad for your waistline and your long-term health. Walking around while not conscious enough to remember it the next day often leads to serious falling injuries like fractures and concussions. Some people have even been known to drive a car or engage in sexual activity while still technically asleep. these extreme examples are incredibly dangerous for obvious reasons.

Of course, the potential lethality of prescription sleep aids isn’t limited to what you do out of bed while unconscious. They can kill you in your sleep even if you stay in bed all night. Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a person’s airways become blocked and they stop breathing while they sleep. Prescription sleeping pills have been clearly shown to exacerbate symptoms of sleep apnea. This cuts off oxygen to your brain and the other major organs of your body, potentially leading to death.

Prescription Sleeping Pill Alternatives

Some people may read this and decide never to touch a prescription sleeping pill. Others may feel conflicted. After all, if your insomnia problems are very serious, it may feel like these drugs are the only answer. But if they’re too dangerous to take the risk, what else is there? Is the small chance of injury or death really that much worse than chronic insomnia? And if so, what else can a person take to alleviate their sleep troubles?

Some people may be tempted to reach for an over the counter sleeping pill. Since they’re sold in pharmacies and don’t require a prescription, they should be safe, right? Wrong. We’ve talked about over-the-counter sleep aids before, so we strongly urge you to read our report there. But to make a long story short, over the counter sleeping pills have their own inherent dangers and risks. They are only a slightly less unappealing option then a prescription.

Instead, you should try natural methods first. Many people are unaware how poor their sleep hygiene is and how much relief they can find from practicing better habits. Others may be surprised to find out that there are plenty of natural, herbal sleep aids on the market which can be just as effective as any drug. Better yet, these herbal remedies don’t come with the horrific side effects that you would experience from a prescription sleeping pill. Some of the most popular ingredients include melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile – just to name a few. You can relax naturally and get deep, restorative, high-quality sleep by using a natural sleep aid instead of a dangerous medication.