Get Your Sleep Habits Back On Track!

Get Your Sleep Habits Back On Track!

First of all, you may think that you’re just fixing your sleep patterns but it’s important to know that you’re fixing much more than that. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to more than a few yawns and a dragged out day. Here’s a brief list of health concerns that have been linked to poor sleep:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • School and work performance deficits
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Overall reduced quality of life

As you can see, sleep literally affects all aspects of our health. While the mechanisms responsible for sleep deprivation’s negative health consequences are still being investigated, it appears that they derive from alterations in hormone output. Relative to healthy sleepers, problem sleepers show a much greater release of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) and a lower amount of growth hormone (required to build tissues, as the name implies). Impaired glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity and low-grade inflammation are also all associated with impaired sleep. The combination of these factors makes it no surprise that poor sleep leads to poor health.

Now that you know how important sleep is, it’s time to make some positive changes! Try these tips and tricks to break your routine and get some well-deserved zzz’s:

1. Turn off ALL the lights: Complete darkness is required for our pineal gland to produce melatonin. Melatonin has been shown to not only be beneficial for sleep, but it also has anti-cancer properties.

2. Remove electronics: Cell phones, iPads, laptops, and pagers…whatever it may be, get it out of the room or at least a number of feet away from your head. Electronics are generally stimulating and their electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) can disrupt proper sleep waves and, once again, melatonin production.

3. Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night: Here’s some quick math for you – if you went to bed 30 minutes earlier every night, you would gain a total of 3.5 hours of extra sleep per week. That’s the equivalent of 2 extra full nights of sleep per month (14 hours!). Small changes go a long way. Enough said.

4. Do “calming” activities at night: Avoid watching T.V. or playing sports (if possible) right before bed. Instead, try reading, taking a hot bath or doing some deep breathing exercises before starting your bedtime routine.

5. Reduce caffeine and sugar: While many people know not to consume coffee in the afternoon or at night, few understand the impact that refined sugars and caffeine play at any point of the day. Try cutting back and notice the difference that it can make.

6. It’s all about routine: Don’t have a routine? Get one. You should aim to be going asleep and waking up around the same time each day…sleeping in on the weekend can be great, but don’t over do it. This will make the Monday to Friday grind that much more difficult. If you don’t have a great routine yet, start with small changes (ie. getting changed into bedtime clothing at the same time each night, brushing your teeth at the same time, reading for 5-10 minutes, etc). It doesn’t all have to be changed at once!

If you have made all of these changes and still find no success, there are many natural options that can help ease you into a routine, just be careful to not become reliant on supplements if you don’t absolutely need them.

Given that many people are familiar with sleep aids like GABA5-HTPL-Theanine etc., I thought I would mention a lesser-utilized sleep aid combination: B12 and Magnesium. B12 in its optimal form, methylcobalamin, actually helps to reset your circadian rhythm and normalize cortisol peaks. Methylcobalmin essentially resets your internal clock (very useful after the holidays to get you back in a rhythm!). When combined with magnesium, a well-known muscle relaxant, your body and mind can get back into a proper sleep routine much faster. This combination is also quite valuable in that most people have less than optimal levels of methylcobalamin and magnesium in their bodies to begin with.

*As always, if you are going to experiment and try some natural health products, be sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that they are safe for you. As a general rule of thumb, if you are on pharmaceutical medications for sleep and/or mood disorders and you don’t plan on seeing your doctor, don’t mix them with natural sleep aids. Many supplements share similar mechanisms of action with pharmaceuticals and, therefore, can be dangerous when mixed together.

Have you found a successful sleep aid or a trick that has forever improved your sleeping patterns? Share with us & leave a comment in the section below!

Image by © 2015 nenadaksic via DollarPhotoClub

Selected References:

Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 1999;354(9188): 1435–1439.

Van Cauter E, Spiegel K, Tasali E, Leproult R. Metabolic consequences of sleep and sleep loss. Sleep Med 2008;9(Suppl 1):S23–8

Knutson KL, Spiegel K, Penev P and Cauter EV. The metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep Med Rev. 2007 June ; 11(3): 163–178

Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Coulouvrat, C, Fitzgerald T, Hajak G, Roth T, Shahly V, Shillington AC, Stephenson JJ and Walsh JK. Insomnia, Comorbidity, and Risk of Injury Among Insured Americans: Results from the America Insomnia Survey. Sleep 2012; 35(6)

Sands-Lincoln M, Loucks EB, Lu B, Carskadon MA, Sharkey K, Stefanick ML, Ockene J, Shah N, Hairston KG, Robinson JG, Limacher M, Hale L, Eaton CB. Sleep duration, insomnia, and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Jun;22(6):477-86.

Fu X, Zhao X, Lu H, Jiang F, Ma X, Zhu S. Association between sleep duration and bone mineral density in Chinese women. Bone 2011 Nov; 49(5):1062-6.

McLean RR. Proinflammatory cytokines and osteoporosis. Curr Osteoporos Rep 2009;7:134–9.

Luciana Besedovsky & Tanja Lange & Jan Born Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch – Eur J Physiol (2012) 463:121–137

Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Alper CM, Janicki-Deverts D and Turner RB. Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Arch Intern Med. 2009 January 12; 169(1): 62–67

Published on January 20, 2014 on the AOR Blog by Dr. Colin O’Brien

Are all Melatonin Equal?

Natural or Synthetic: One would assume that melatonin is melatonin, but that is clearly not the case.


Two forms of melatonin exist in the general market. One is the natural form which comes from the pineal gland of animals. It can be mixed with unknown synthetic material or unknown synthetic material free from animal tissues. Life Choice® Melapure® Melatonin uses a patented synthetic form following the same chemical pathway as natural melatonin; it is USP pharmaceutical grade and protected by a drug manufacturing file. Being a USP grade of synthetic melatonin, it is safer to use because it is free from biological contaminants. Naturally-sourced melatonin, on the other hand, may pose a risk to humans because it can be contaminated with animal viruses.


As a background, there are 3 grades for raw material: pharmaceutical (which meets pharmaceutical standards of purity 97.5%+); food grade, which meets the standards for human consumption (more added fillers) and without quality testing oversite; and feed grade, which meets the standards for animal consumption (low quality, not much regulation) and less quality testing oversite. The lower grades are mixed with fillers, etc. and the amount put in the capsule will be more likely to vary (at times, vary widely, as recent studies have shown), while the USP standard must be pure and exact–this makes all the difference in what people’s experience with melatonin will be.

Melatonin derived from unknown non-USP sources may cause side effects. The pineal gland is very sensitive, and melatonin is the hormone the pineal gland uses for producing serotonin. Do you think triggering such an important gland whose bodily functions control the sleep/wake cycle, reproductive development and target both the central and peripheral nervous system tissues should come from a source that is patented and secure? Can you imagine stimulating this gland with an animal pineal gland or animal mixed with unknown synthetic sources? It is no wonder why Chinese sources are associated with such radical side effects. As a price comparison, Chinese melatonin raw material is less than $200 per kg, while the raw material Life Choice uses costs up to 700% more. What are the benefits of such expensive patented raw material? The benefits are twofold: first, the material is clinically tested and scientifically researched, and specifically used in dedicated clinical trials, and secondly, the quality is consistently high with each order. After the raw material testing stage, all our products are manufactured at third party GMP facilities, and then third party after product tested to ensure an arms-length distance at every manufacturing interval. We do everything in our power to ensure that the label matches the contents and to ensure that the product is therapeutic.

The price for this high quality raw material is worth every penny, as the patented USP material is used in all scientific research. Naturally-sourced melatonin that comes from the pineal gland of animals, and or mixed with unknown synthetic material may pose a risk to humans because it can be contaminated with animal viruses or environmental toxins. Synthetically-sourced, Melapure® Melatonin is safer to use because it is free from all biological contaminants. It is derived synthetically from 5-Methoxytryptamine; it is synthesized through a chemical pathway and produces a number of important chemicals, including serotonin, as intermediates. The patented formula takes a total of four reactions to bring about the change, and each of these reactions requires its own specific enzyme. One of these enzymes acts as the rate-limiting enzyme in the reaction pathway, and its activity determines how much melatonin is produced.

The rhythm or pathway for 5-methoxytryptamine that Melapure® Melatonin uses appears the same used for serotonin. The identification has been confirmed by analysis with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.

Although raw material sourcing is crucial—especially for melatonin—how the product is blended also impacts effectiveness. If we consider the active ingredient as being 3 mg, when encapsulated in the standard size “2” capsule, the total fill weight will be 370 mg with 367 mgs of fillers, and in tablets, the fillers are even more. If encapsulated in size “0,” the total fill weight would be 680 mg or 677 mg of filler. In perspective, a large pharmaceutical company would run a minimum of 100 million plus capsules, using 300 kgs of melatonin and 36,900 kgs of filler. It is perfectly understandable why each capsule is vastly different in the melatonin content, for blending equally is next to impossible. Life Choice® produces small batch runs of 133,000 capsules and encapsulate into size “4” vegetarian capsules with a total fill weight of 210 mg. This lower yield gives an equal distribution of melatonin per capsule.

If you have had bad experiences with melatonin, could it be because the melatonin was carelessly manufactured? Environmental toxins can affect the unstable molecule that releases melatonin from the pineal gland. Melatonin is a hormone, and because it is, hormones must be USP pharmaceutical grade. Otherwise, users run the risk of nightmares and other bad experiences. Have you tried our Melapure® Melatonin? Available in both capsule and liquid forms, every aspect of Melapure® Melatonin is made with the utmost care. If you are looking for a better melatonin experience, try Melapure® today.


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