Sleeping & The Complicated Processes Behind It

They​ ​wake​ ​us​ ​up,​ ​put​ ​us​ ​to​ ​sleep, make us​ ​dream​ ​and​ ​control​ ​our state​ ​of​ ​mind.​ ​Neurotransmitters are the​ special agents​ responsible​ ​f​or activating​ ​or​ ​deactivating​ ​the major functions ​of​ ​our brain.

It​ ​sounds​ ​like​ ​a​ ​conspiracy,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​good​ ​news​ ​is​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can​ ​do something​ ​about​ ​it.​ ​Once​ ​we​ ​know​ ​how​ all that affect​s ​our​ ​sleep​ ​and​ ​dreaming,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​take​ ​some​ ​action​ ​to​ ​fix​ ​the situation.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​change​ ​the​ ​foods​ ​we​ ​eat,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​can​ ​take additional​ ​supplements​ ​to​ ​help​ ​rebalance​ ​our​ ​neurotransmitter levels​ ​and​ ​rearrange​ ​them​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​the​ ​perfect​ ​condition.

Acetylcholine

Acetylcholine​ ​plays​ ​a​ key ​role​ ​in​ ​the​ scheduling ​of human​ ​sleep. Usually,​ ​ACh (Acetylcholine)​ ​levels​ ​start​ ​to​ ​drop​ ​as​ ​we​ ​drift​ ​off​ ​to​ ​sleep.​ ​ In the morning hours during​ ​REM​ ​sleep​ its​ ​levels​ ​would rise to​ ​reach their average daily rate​ ​

Whats The Importance?

Slightly​ ​elevated​ ​Acetylcholine​ ​levels​ ​improve​ ​our​ ​memory, ability​ ​to​ ​learn,​ ​and​ ​promote​ ​REM​ ​sleep.​ ​Decreased​ ​ACh​ ​is​ ​linked to​ ​memory​ ​lapses,​ ​mental​ ​fog,​ ​fatigue​ ​and​ ​suppressed​ ​REM sleep.  

As​ ​we​ ​grow​ ​older​​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​this chemical​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​decrease.​ ​​In​ ​neglected​ ​cases​ ​of​ ​Alzheimer’s​ ​disease, ACh​ ​levels​ ​can​ ​be​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​90%​ ​lower​ ​than​ ​average​ ​levels,​ ​and the​ ​memory​ ​of​ ​such​ ​patients​ ​tends​ ​to​ ​switch​ ​off​ ​completely.​ ​There is​ ​a​ ​wealth​ ​of​ ​clinical​ ​evidence​ ​suggesting​ ​​ ​that​ ​people​ ​should​ ​take Acetylcholine​ ​supplements​ ​to​ ​retain​ ​clear​ ​mind​ ​during​ ​the​ ​senior year

Serotonin

​​Serotonin​ ​is​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​’sleep​ ​switcher’​ ​that​ ​can​ ​act​ ​in​ ​both directions​ ​-​ ​as​ ​a​ ​stimulant​ ​and​ ​a​ ​blocker.​ ​

It​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​two​ ​essential​ ​chemical​ ​messengers affecting​ ​both​ ​onset​ ​and​ ​duration​ ​of​ ​sleep.​ ​Serotonin​ is about to burst as we slowly move to the deep regenerative​ ​​sleep phase.​ ​From this​ ​point​ ​the​ ​system​ ​starts​ ​to​ ​work​ ​backward​ ​boosting​ ​the complimentary​ ​neurotransmitter​ ​-​ ​Acetylcholine​ ​which​ ​blocks Serotonin​ ​as​ ​we​ ​enter​ ​​ ​REM​ ​sleep.​ ​Having more​ ​serotonin​ ​implies​ ​deeper​ ​sleep.​ ​And​ ​vice​ ​versa​ ​-​ ​high Acetylcholine​ ​means​ ​REM​ ​sleep.

Whats The Importance?

Slightly​ ​reduced​ ​serotonin​ ​levels​ ​result​ ​in​ ​suppressing​ ​the​ ​’deep sleep’​ ​stage​ ​and​ ​more​ ​intense​  ​periods​ ​of​ ​REM​ ​sleep.​ ​But​ ​when Serotonin​ ​levels​ ​decrease significantly ​it brings​ ​about​ ​anxiety,​ ​insomnia and​ ​​non-REM​ ​sleep.

All​ ​that​ ​might​ ​imply​ ​that​ ​serotonin-containing​ ​supplements​ ​can directly​ ​improve​ ​your​ ​sleep.​ ​But​ ​when​ ​taken​ ​as​ ​food​ ​they​ ​have​ ​no effect​ ​on​ ​the​ ​central​ ​nervous​ ​system.​ ​Serotonin​ ​does​ ​not​ ​cross​ ​the blood-brain​ ​barrier.​ ​Luckily​ ​there​ ​is​ ​the​ ​amino​ ​acid​ ​Tryptophan and​ ​its​ ​metabolite​ ​5-HTP​ ​which​ ​do​ ​cross​ ​the​ ​blood-brain​ ​barrier, followed​ ​by​ ​Serotonin​ ​synthesis.  

Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine​ ​is a neurotransmitter of wakefulness​. ​ ​Once you​ fell asleep​ ​and​ ​during​ ​the​ ​​deep​ ​sleep​ ​NE levels​ ​go​ ​down.​ ​​ ​The​ ​secretion​ ​of​ ​NE​ ​restarts​ ​during the​ ​’REM’​ enhancing your​ ​morning​ ​sleep​ ​in​ ​quantity​ ​and​ ​quality.

Whats The Importance?  

NE​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​essential​ ​neurotransmitters​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​our​ ​sleep regulation.​ ​Deficiency​ ​of​ ​this​ ​chemical​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​sleepiness,​ ​lower alertness,​ ​concentration​ ​and​ ​focus​ ​issues​ ​and​ ​depression

There​ ​are​ ​very​ ​few​ ​over-the-counter​ ​supplements​ ​that​ ​work​ ​with NE​ ​levels​ ​without​ ​affecting​ ​the​ ​other​ ​brain​ ​chemicals.​ ​One interesting​ ​exception​ ​is​ ​a​ ​herb​ ​Yohimbine​ ​which​ ​helps​ ​the​ ​brain synthesize​ ​more​ ​norepinephrine​ ​for​ ​normal​ ​sleep​ ​regulation.

GABA

GABA is​ ​another key chemical messenger​ ​that​ ​is generated​ ​naturally​ ​in​ ​our​ ​brain​ ​ ​providing​ ​a​ ​calming effect​ ​on​ ​our sleep.

Whats The Importance?

​Found​ ​in​ ​the​ ​brain​ ​excitatory​​ ​- Noradrenaline​ ​or​ ​Dopamine​ ​are to​ ​be​ ​counter-balanced​ ​by a specific​ ​calming​ ​agent.​ That’s the way GABA​ works​.​ ​Once​ ​its ​concentrations increase ​throughout​ ​the​ brain​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​system strikes​ ​a​ ​balance​ ​between​ ​arousal​ ​and​ ​somnolence.​ ​​ ​  

Gaba​ taken from natural sources cannot​ ​pass th​rough ​the​ ​blood-brain​ ​barrier.​ ​But ​picamilon​ ​and​ ​phenibut​ ​- GABA pre-drugs – do ​get​ ​into your brain ​followed​ ​by​ ​GABA​ ​generation.​ ​As​ ​for​ ​the medicines​ ​over-the-counter,​ ​the​ ​recent​ ​studies​ ​show​ ​that​ ​some adaptogens​ ​can​ ​help​ ​synthesize​ ​of​ ​GABA​ ​protein,​ ​for​ ​example, Shilajit​ ​which​ ​acts​ ​as​ ​an​ ​anti-epileptic​ ​drug.

Dopamine

Dopamine​ ​is​ ​a​ ​chemical ​which​ ​is​ ​also​ linked to scheduling of sleep.​ ​The influx of this substance​​ leads​ ​to​ ​vigilance,​ ​while​ ​its deficiency brings about​ ​drowsiness,​ ​mental​ ​fog,​ ​and​ ​poor​ ​reasoning.  

Whats The Importance?

Dopamine​ percentage in ​the​ ​brain​ ​is​ ​invariable​ ​until​ ​age​ ​45, and​ ​then​ ​its levels ​decrease ​linearly​ ​by​ ​about​ ​13%​ ​per​ ​decade.  

When​ it fells by one-third, ​all the traces of Parkinson’s disorder are in.​ ​High Dopamine concentrations ​may​ partially ​account​ for the fact that people​ ​have​ ​a​ ​stronger​ ​​libido​ ​during ​their younger years.  

There​ ​is a useful​substance obtained from African shrub Mucuna Pruriense that ​easily reaches human brain followed by Dopamine synthesis.​ ​The​ ​other​ helping​ ​brain-tonic​ ​is called​ ​Shilajit.​ ​This​ ​​food​ ​supplement​​ increases​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of neuronal​ ​dopamine​ ​in​ ​our​ ​brain.

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