Exploring Ways to Sleep Better Naturally

By Taylor Smith | Images courtesy of Shutterstock.com

For many people, sleep is elusive. You run around all day completing your to-do lists and when it’s time to shutdown, you can’t. This is an all too common complaint at places like Santé Integrative Pharmacy in downtown Princeton.

Have you ever heard the term wired and tired? That’s is the state that Michael Pellegrino, a clinical nutritionist and wellness practitioner at Sante, finds most customers in when they walk into the store looking for suggestions. “The goal is to nourish and calm the nervous system,” explains Pellegrino. “This includes both a daytime and evening regimen and often an adjustment to their current lifestyle.”

“Nutritionally, we immediately look at adjusting or reducing the time or amount of caffeine, sugar, and refined carbohydrates that a person is consuming,” he says. Technology is a common culprit, as well. “I advise patients to place cellphones outside of the bedroom. No screens near the bed. Even turning the Wi-Fi off before going to bed can help. You would be surprised at how sensitive some people are to Wi-Fi,” Pellegrino says.

When treating sleep issues, some people think of taking a melatonin supplement. But Pellegrino says that most people take too much melatonin, which can cause further problems in the body. For example, essentially “overdosing” on melatonin can cause the body to stop producing melatonin on its own all together. “The original recommended dosage was 0.3 mg, but the pharmaceutical industry turned that into 3 mg,” says Pellegrino. “Now, you see common single dosages of 5 or 10 mg at any pharmacy or grocery store.”

Instead, Pellegrino likes to take a herbal approach that involves consuming herbs that are classified as adaptogens. Adaptogens are strictly plants that can be taken in a herbal beverage, liquid extract, or encapsulated form. These particular groups of plants are proven to enhance the resiliency of the body and to support the process known as allostasis, which is the ability to maintain stability through change.

“Adaptogens are appropriate for most ages,” says Pellegrino. “Gaia Herbs, HerbFarm, and various practitioner lines are what I most turn to most when prescribing adaptogens.”

Curious about CBD or hemp oil extracts? Pellegrino says that when taking these forms of nervous system relaxants, it’s important to consider quality and purity above all else. Sante maintains the highest standards when it comes to the lines of CBD oil that they carry, so that customers can be assured that they are only getting the cleanest and most effective product.

“I may also suggest GABA as a supplement, which is helpful for those whose nervous systems are running hot,” says Pellegrino. 5-HTP is another supplement frequently suggested by Sante wellness practitioners as it is a precursor to serotonin, which can become depleted over time due to a person’s lifestyle, age, hormone levels, or even prescription medications.

“Sleep issues are chronic for most people, which means that change doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you choose to take a nutritional approach to the problem,” affirms Pellegrino.

That being said, a non-prescription approach to improving sleep habits may be the kindest and gentlest approach to your brain and body.

Learn more about Santé Integrative Pharmacy at www.santeintegrativepharmacy.com or call 609.921.8820.