Posted on: 12.05.2023 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

My formative years were crafted in the 1980s. And as I turned from a girl to a woman during this decade, one man was there by my side…Michael Jackson. I remember racing to a friend’s house to watch his next video, attempt his latest dance move, or simply revel in his songs. So, it was with great sadness that heard of his passing. But what is even more disturbing to me is that it appears as though hard-core sleeping pills (Diprivan) may have played a role in his death.

This is an issue near-and-dear to my heart. Insomnia runs in my family. My grandmother and mother both have great difficulties sleeping, and I tend to wake up in the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep. For me, it is more stress related, with many “to-dos” running through my head each night. However, for my mother and grandmother, it is more of a menopause symptom, closely related to declining estrogen levels.

I have avoided taking any prescription sleeping pills, as they are highly addictive, and you need more and more to achieve the same level of sleep satisfaction. This is likely the case with Michael Jackson. Many reports indicate that he had great difficulty sleeping and needed stronger and stronger medication to achieve the rest he desperately desired.

My grandmother started on the same path, frequently taking as many as three sleeping pills a night. It started to affect her behavior, her health, and her relationships. We practically had to have an intervention to simply lower her dosage, let alone try to get her off the pills. Fortunately, she was able to cut back to a lower dose and stay there. Plus, the experience scared my mother enough to give up her sleeping pills altogether.

Fall Asleep with Natural Hormones

If you also have trouble sleeping due to stress, anxiety, declining estrogen levels, or simply as a side effect of menopause, there are many natural solutions for you. The two that work the best for me are melatonin and 5-HTP.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is made from the neurotransmitter serotonin and is responsible for setting and regulating the timing of your body’s natural rhythms, including waking and sleeping. According to an analysis published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, researchers reviewed and analyzed 15 studies involving healthy adults with insomnia who supplemented with melatonin. They concluded that melatonin was, in fact, very effective in increasing total sleep and sleep efficiency.

For melatonin to work, your bedroom needs to be dark, as light suppresses its release. When using melatonin, Dr. Lark recommends that you start with a small dose, 1 mg, at bedtime to improve sleep.

5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin. Within your brain, serotonin often inhibits the firing of neurons, which dampens many of your behaviors, and relaxes you and calms you down. It plays a key role in regulating sleep, as well as temperature, blood pressure, and biorhythms. If stress and anxiety is the reason for your sleepless night, then 5-HTP may do the trick.

Dr. Lark suggests taking 50–100 mg to help you sleep. Be sure to take 5-HTP with a carbohydrate snack, such as a piece of fruit, to facilitate its uptake into the brain. In addition, take 50–100 mg of vitamin B6, to ensure 5-HTP’s timely conversion to serotonin.


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