Headache, drugged feeling, confusion, anterograde amnesia, excessive sedation, lightheadedness, delirium, nightmares,
hallucinations, nervousness, agitation, and seizure. Fatigue, arthralgia and myalgia, increased chance of infection, hepatoxicity, involuntary urination, heart palpitations, sleep apnea, respiratory depression, angioedema of the tongue, larynx, and/or throat closing, severe withdraw symptoms including: agitation, restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, tremor, nausea, abdominal discomfort, sweating and a chance of psychotic reaction.
That’s a list… an incomplete list of the side affects that have been documented with Ambien. If you are one of the millions taking it to sleep through the night, you know at least one of its side effects. It is powerful stuff that creates a dependency in only a few weeks of use.
I know Ambien and its effects very well. After a little bump on my head a few years ago, I didn’t sleep more than three consecutive hours a night for sixty-three days… yeah, when you haven’t slept in two months, you have nothing better to do than count the days you haven’t. I was miserable, grumpy, and finally reached a point where I was very easily angered, had no patience and began to take it out on those around me. I am probably lucky Josh didn’t seek employment elsewhere. Ambien was the only thing that would put me down… at double the maximum recommended dosage. Even that wouldn’t keep me down. It was like my brain was on fast forward. Actually, that is not true. It was more like pressing your accelerator to the floor, but the car was in neutral… I was revving out, but going absolutely nowhere. I’d wake after four or five hours, with my thoughts spinning and no more rested than when I went I went to bed. Over the following year, my doctor prescribed a long list of things for me to try. I finally settled on Ambien CR because it gave me six or so hours of sleep.
I woke up one morning to find I had not slept as well as I had thought. I had been up the night before. It was at least the third time I experienced the sleep walking you hear associated with Ambien. The same sleep walking my doctor said was a myth.
It was then I began to research sleep. It was not difficult to find the information that would soon have me sleeping like a baby. I read about how deficiencies can lead to insomnia. One article I read really put things into perspective. It said “you do not have an Ambien deficiency”. Right then, things kind of clicked. It wasn’t that my body couldn’t produce the hormones and neurotransmitters I needed for sleep, it was I didn’t have all the nutrients my body needed to make them. My injury only exacerbated things.
So what fixed my sleep? Magnesium, the amino acids L-tryptophan and L-taurine, inositol and changing my diet.
I, like most every American, was greatly deficient in Mg. I addressed it first by supplementing with Mg Gluconate, a chelated form of Mg, at 1,000mg each evening. Magnesium is used in every cellular process in our bodies. A Mg deficiency inhibits
many of the body’s functions. Mg is best taken at night, since it is calming. Note: if you take Mg and it increases your heart rate or feels like a stimulant, that is an indicator you are VERY deficient. In that case you take it earlier in the afternoon until you’ve increased your levels and it becomes calming.
Next I introduced L-tryptophan. Tyrptophan is a building block of proteins, an amino acid found in many foods, especially starch carbohydrates. Tryptohan converts to serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible regulating a great many things in our bodies, including the processes that put us and keep us asleep. If your diet is lacking in tryptophan, you will also be without serotonin. Low serotonin levels lead to depression and poor sleep. The two go hand in hand. Again, none of us have deficiencies in Paxil or other SSRIs. I digress… depression is another topic.
Tyrptophan worked the first time I took it. While the Mg had improved my sleep, the tryptophan seemed to fix it almost immediately. All I did by taking the tryptophan was give my body what it needed to create serotonin. Simple enough.
Fast forward about a year and I met Jared Olson, a BioSignature Practicioner. He suggested adding Inositol to my sleep supplement to even further improve the quality of sleep I was getting each night. Inositol is a sugar found in citrus fruits that also supports serotonin production. After a few days of taking 4 grams of inositol at bedtime, I woke feeling even more rested and refreshed.
Jared also suggested adding the amino acid L-taurine at 2-3 grams each evening. Taurine supports many processes in the body, one is lowering cortisol and another is raising GABA levers. Both are calming to the body and brain.
The final thing I did was shift my carbs, all my carbs, to my last meal of the day. That also shifted my dietary tryptophan to the evening when I need to calm down. I literally do not eat any starch foods all day, everyday until the evening.
So far I’ve had only two folks say any of this didn’t work for them. Both experienced a stimulation effect from the Magnesium and ceased taking any or all of the recommended sleep protocol.
I have only changed my sleep supplements once since beginning them. I now opt for Mg Threonate instead of Gluconate at bedtime. Threonate is absorbed better by the brain and has a much better affect for calming the body. Otherwise, it worked and continues to work. No side effects, unless you call better health a side effect, and no groggy, drugged up feeling in the mornings.
Below is what I take each day/night to make sure I get the best sleep possible.
UberMag – 5 caps post evening workout or with dinner.
Zen Mag – 4 caps at bedtime
Inositol – 4 grams at bedtime
Taurine – 2 grams at bedtime
See Cody to order them.
Want to know more, set up a BioSig consult with myself, Cody, or Melissa. Maybe your sleep woes are only a few weeks away.