I work long hours, and go to bed early, usually dog-tired. I fall asleep easily, but several nights a week, I wake between 12:30 and 2:00 am. and my brain goes to work. I call it my “monkey brain,” because it is usually nonsense stuff. I start thinking about things like work tomorrow, how I’m going to change parts of my ebook, plans for the future, and lots of other things that could certainly wait until daylight. I’ve tried natural remedies like valerian root melatonin, and chamomile tea, and even a prescription sleep aid- they all helped a little, but the brain still gets busy during the night. The result? As you can imagine, very tired the next morning, and coffee doesn’t help that much. It’s gotten so bad that I start worrying about it BEFORE I EVEN GO TO BED! What to do???

Luckily (I hope), I just read an interesting article in The Journal of Natural Health, by Dr. Janet Zand, that addresses this issue. Dr. Zand states that the brain needs certain sleep-inducing chemicals to signal that it’s time for your body and mind to fall asleep and stay asleep, and the most important chemical is an amino acid called gamma-amino-butyric acid, or GABA. According to a study at Harvard Medical School, people with sleep problems had 30% less GABA in their brains than those who slept normally. GABA deficiency interfere’s with the delta (deep) sleep that begins about an hour after you fall asleep. The brain produces less and less GABA as you age, and sleep problems are frequent with my geriatric clientele.

Dr. states that “unfortunately, GABA supplements don’t work very well.” However, there is an ancient Chinese herb called Honokiol, an extract from magnolia bark, that actually raises GABA levels in the brain! Traditional Chinese doctors have been using honokiol for over 2,000 years to treat anxiety, stress, and depression, and now, modern Chinese medical experts have discovered it’s an effective sleep-inducer too. And, with no grogginess the next morning. Dr. Zand recommends a product called Pure Sleep, by Bionutritionals, that contains a highly purified form of honkiol, along with lemon balm and passion flower. I’m going to give Pure Sleep a try. Note: I have no financial interest in this product.

I’ll let you know if it works.

Happy Sleeping.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.