Insomnia is the bane of modern society. Since the introduction of the electric light over one hundred years ago, nearly half of the world is lit up at night. Artificial light disturbs natural circadian rhythms. The pineal gland produces the sleep hormone—melatonin—only in the dark. Without adequate melatonin production, sleep is disturbed, hormones become imbalanced, and the ability to fight dis-ease is diminished.
The pineal gland, located in the center of the brain, is associated with the crown chakra. Light energy affects pineal production of melatonin. Cells located in our skin called chromocytes carry light wave information to the pineal gland. At dawn, the daylight is a blue wave which stimulates chromocytes to turn off the pineal gland. At dusk, the pink light of sunset blocks the blue rays and the pineal gland begins producing melatonin.
Melatonin production peaks about three hours after dark and lasts eight to nine hours in adults, longer in children. At dawn, the drop of melatonin arouses the hypothalamus. Located deep in the brain at the level of the sixth chakra, the hypothalamus controls all vital body functions including temperature, weight, libido, hormones, stress response, the immune system and directs the cascade of amino acids that form neurotransmitters. The hypothalamus is truly the maestro of the body’s biochemical orchestra.
Once the hypothalamus wakes up, it needs glucose, so it stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol which releases stored sugar. Cortisol stimulates the production of dopamine which is the neurotransmitter of alertness, memory and learning. Dopamine follows natural cortisol rhythms, remaining elevated until mid afternoon. Schools capitalize on the natural circadian rhythm of the learning hormone by teaching children from 8am to 3pm. The late afternoon slump that makes many of us reach for sugar and caffeine is a reflection of this natural drop in cortisol and dopamine.
Another extremely important nocturnal hormone is called prolactin. Released by the pituitary gland, prolactin is very high in pregnant and nursing mothers—its name refers to promoting lactation. Produced by all ages and both genders, prolactin stimulates the thymus to program the natural killer cells that keep our bodies free of foreign invaders and cancer. Without sleep, we are prone to disease as our immune systems weaken. Prolactin rises three hours after melatonin and is turned off by dopamine.
In the morning, melatonin cascades into serotonin. A calming hormone, serotonin controls our impulses. And the more serotonin made during the day the more melatonin at night.
You can create a natural circadian rhythm by rising with the sun and exercise early in the day. Exercise promotes cortisol production thus increasing dopamine, the active daytime hormones. Released in response to both physical and emotional stressors, cortisol fuels our bodies for flight away from potential danger. Dopamine and cortisol can prevent the cascade of serotonin back into melatonin in the evening so beware of exercising within a few hours of bedtime.
Natural Remedies for Insomnia
Insomnia is often at the root of many dis-eases. Cancer, obesity, immune dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, even heart disease have been associated with sleep disorders. Although sleep medications are available as temporary relief, they do not promote normal nocturnal hormone production.
I really did not appreciate how the hypothalamus affects our sleep cycles until I began taking Sacred Seven®.
You see, I suffered from somnambulance—sleep walking—for eighteen years. Rarely did I get a restful night’s sleep. Most nights I slept less than four or five hours. Many times I found myself outside clutching a pillow. Kind of scary and definitely not good for my health. I managed my days by running on fumes, exercising obsessively, and eating way too much sugar.
Then I began taking Sacred Seven® amino acids and within a month, I began sleeping through the night and my sugar cravings stopped. In fact for the first three months, I slept over ten hours a night—my body trying to catch up with years of lack of sleep.*
Balancing the hypothalamus takes time to reset the circadian rhythm, so Sacred Seven® is not an immediate sleep aide, but instead gets to the core issue, balancing the brain chemistry, restoring optimal hypothalamic functioning, and, in time, deepening and lengthening the sleep cycles.*
Genesis Gold® has the Sacred Seven® amino acids in it to balance the hypothalamus and restore normal circadian rhythm, yet it takes a bit longer, so extra Sacred Seven® may be needed for chronic insomnia.
Love and Light,
Deborah Maragopoulos MN FNP
Intuitive Integrative Health
*Statements not evaluated by the FDA