All Posts tagged Insomnia


If you have difficulty sleeping due to insomnia, shift work  or jet lag? 

Consuming tart cherry juice concentrate significantly improves both the quality and duration of sleep, according to a new United Kingdom study by scientists at Northumbria University.

In an article published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that tart cherry juice from Montmorency cherries significantly increased melatonin levels in the body.

Since melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep, the team found that people who consumed tart cherry juice concentrate not only slept longer, but also experienced improved quality of sleep.

The melatonin contained in tart cherry juice concentrate is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response.”

Drink a 30 ml serving of tart cherry juice for seven days and see how you feel. Participants who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for one week were found to have a significant increase in urinary melatonin (+15-16%) against the placebo group.

The study participants had an increase of about 15 minutes of time spent in bed, an increase of 25 minutes in total sleep time and a five to six percent increase in “sleep efficiency” (a global measurement of sleep quality).

Cherry juice drinkers also reported less napping time during the day (compared to their normal sleeping habits and against placebo group napping times).

Researchers think the melatonin is the principle reason for the improved sleep observations.

The study used pure tart Montmorency cherry juice concentrate (with a greater concentration of phytochemicals, including melatonin).

European Journal of Nutrition.


Somnolin sleep question

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the info on the sleep/insulin studies.  I had heard about some of them.  Good to see the actual test results.

I wanted to respond to the following:

For others, insomnia is a monster that’s hard to tame.

There are a number of natural sleep-aids that can help ease you into slumber without worrying about waking up with a brain fog hangover from prescription drugs.

I  recommend five natural sleep-inducers: L-tryptophan, melatonin, valerian root, L-theanine and kava. A very helpful supplement for support for restful sleep & relaxation is Somnolin by Metagenics. Order @

As someone who has long suffered from the untamable monster,  I would like to add that a good relaxing organic herbal tea with chamomile etc. and a soak in a hot tub are also wonderful natural aids for calming the mind and body prior to attempting sleep.  

Could you kindly clarify why you recommend Somnolin for insomniacs?  Here is the list of its ingredients from your meta-ehealth website:
Two tablets supply:
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl)     40 mg
Folate (as L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate†)     400 mcg
Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)     500 mcg
L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (L-5-HTP from Griffonia simplicifolia)     200 mg
L-Theanine     200 mg
Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, and silica.


Somnolin has significant amounts of B12 and B6.  According to everything I have read, the last supplements an insomniac should be taking before bed are B6 and especially B12.  They will energize you, not relax you!  I am confused why they are recommended and even why they are in the formula.


Somnolin supports balanced levels of the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, and dopamine with the 5-HTP & theanine which help with sleep.

Theanine may influence the generation of alpha brain waves associated with a deep state of relaxation.
I think you might be relating B12 shots with suppling energy to the body. B12 injections help people feel less fatique but do not interfere with sleep. Other B vitamins act like enzymes – they make reactions occur in the body. Research suggests that L-5-MTHF (active folate) may cross the blood brain barrier helping to influence the other substances.
Griffonia simplicifolia is an herb that provides the 5 HTP. 




Get More Sleep

Sleep Deficit…
Almost every patient I see, especially those in chronic pain are sleeping less than they should. Looking back, adults slept eight to nine hours a night in 1960. By 1995 that average was down to seven hours. And now the average is just over six-and-a-half hours.

Television, the internet, and crazy work schedules keep us up too late at night. I recommend turning off your cell phones and “crack” berries around nine o’clock.

In a poll of 7,000 people, 52 percent said they were losing sleep from stress. So even if you are in bed, you may not be sleeping the whole time.

Did you know that too little sleep raises the risk of diabetes? One study showed that people with insomnia who slept five to six hours total had twice the risk of diabetes. In those who slept fewer than five hours the risk was almost three times greater than someone who gets a full seven to nine hours.

Sleep problems and diabetes go hand in hand. More than half of all people with type 2 diabetes have some sort of sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. At the same time, almost 40 percent of people with sleep apnea have diabetes – as well as a much higher risk of developing diabetes. That’s a strong correlation between sleep and diabetes.

People in their late 20s and early 30s who slept less than six-and-a-half hours a night had the insulin sensitivity of someone more than 60 years old.

A group of young adults in their 20s were studied in a sleep lab. Each time they started to drift into slow-wave deep sleep, they were subjected to sounds that disrupted their sleep but didn’t fully wake them up. After three nights of decreasing their slow-wave sleep by 90 percent (comparable to the slow-wave sleep of someone in their 60s), they became 25 percent less sensitive to insulin. The result was a 23 percent raise in blood glucose – the equivalent of gaining 20 to 30 pounds.

Sleep habits of 276 subjects were analyzed for a six-year period. 20 percent of those who slept less than seven hours or more than eight hours developed diabetes or impaired blood glucose. Only seven percent of those who slept between seven and eight hours developed blood glucose problems.

Things to enhance a good night’s sleep:
Don’t let pets sleep with you.
Alcohol might make you drowsy to start with, but then it turns around and wakes you up. Stop drinking several hours before bedtime to skip that effect.
Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Have a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Taking a hot shower or bath, or reading a chapter of a book will help you get ready to sleep.
Make sure your sleep environment is dark and comfortable. Keep your computer out of the bedroom. Use eye shades, ear plugs or “white noise” if it helps you stay asleep.
If your mattress is more than ten years old, it’s time for a new one.
Finish exercising several hours before bedtime. Body temperature goes up during exercise and takes a while to drop. Cooler body temperatures are needed to go to sleep.
Don’t eat anything too heavy or spicy at bedtime.
Restrict fluids late in the evening so you aren’t awakened later to go to the bathroom..

Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

Bensom is a natural fomrula by Metagenics that I recommend to promote a restful, relaxed state and relieve occasional sleeplessness. It contains Melatonin and Passionflower.