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03-28-2007, 10:02 PM
Studies Find Majority Of Older Americans Have Sleep Problems - Alternatives To Sleep Drugs Recommended

Older Americans are convinced that a good night's sleep is necessary to maintaining their health. A survey by the Gallup Poll found that seventy-two percent of seniors have discussed poor sleep with their doctors. The study also found no clear consensus on the safety of sleep medications such as Ambien and Lunesta - also known as hypnotics.

In another study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled "The Treatment of Sleep Disorders of Older People", NIH estimates that disturbances of sleep affect more than half of people aged 65 and older. They advise hypnotic medications should not be the mainstay treatment of insomnia as "they are overused and have habit forming potential". Some of their recommendations include exercise, avoidance of alcohol and caffeine, and reduced fluid intake in the evening.

Particularly for older people, one possible underlying nutritional cause of insomnia may be a deficiency of certain minerals. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: "A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep."

However, specific forms of these minerals are more digestible than others - an important factor because our digestive enzymes lessen with age. Magnesium chloride is a unique form of magnesium which holds good benefit for older adults. In 1915, the French surgeon Pierre Delbet, M.D, did several studies with magnesium chloride and discovered a variety of health advantages resulted from its use, including a calmer nervous system, improved digestion and a stronger immune system.

Magnesium chloride crystals are made from seawater. Separately, both magnesium and chloride have important functions in keeping us healthy. Chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that declines in the body as we grow older. Magnesium also provides rejuvenation by preventing the calcification (hardening by calcium) of our organs and tissues - which is a characteristic of age-related physical degeneration.

Using other forms of magnesium is less beneficial as these have to be converted into chlorides in the body before they can be digested. For example, when we take magnesium in the oxide or carbonate form, we then have to produce additional hydrochloric acid to absorb it. Another benefit of magnesium chloride is that it instantly dissolves in any temperature of water. Natural remedies for sleep, such as Sleep Minerals from Nutrition Breakthroughs, have begun to include this highly-digestible form of magnesium.

One example of a father's addiction to sleeping drugs was in Phoenix Arizona, where Sabrina and her dad live. Out of concern for him, she began searching for natural sleep solutions. She says: "My father was hooked on Ambien and the side effects weren't good. I checked on the Internet for other alternatives and came across Sleep Minerals. My dad was willing to try something different - something natural. He did, and the first night he took them, he said it was the best sleep he's had in years. Now he always keeps some by the bed."

We think of calcium as food for our bones, but it's also a natural sedative that releases the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. The pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis discusses the calming benefits of calcium in her book Let's Get Well. She says: "A calcium deficiency often shows itself by insomnia, another form of an inability to relax. The harm done by sleeping tablets, to say nothing of the billions of dollars spent on them, could largely be avoided if the calcium intake were adequate."

A relatively new form of calcium - calcium lactate gluconate - is emerging as a popular choice for fortifying beverages (such as orange juice and sports drinks), because of its ability to dissolve readily in any temperature of liquid - cold or hot. Calcium works best when it's balanced with magnesium, according to Davis.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, California, is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural ingredients for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals, a unique blend of magnesium chloride and calcium lactate gluconate.

Nancy Richardson of Burbank, California says: "The Sleep Minerals put me to sleep pretty fast and I slept like a rock for about eight hours. It was quite beneficial. And I've been having trouble getting to sleep and staying that way but this was quite terrific."

Nutritional remedies can be an alternative to suffering the side effects of sleeping drugs. Their most common side effects include memory loss, headache, nausea, depression, dizziness, confusion, reduced ability to perform on the job and at home, and a hangover effect the next day and beyond.

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