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DO YOU FEEL LIKE you’re always tired

DO YOU FEEL LIKE you’re always tired – even when you first wake up?

Do you lie awake at night, trying desperately to drop off, until the sun comes up. And even when you do finally get to sleep, you wake up for seemingly no reason? Maybe you started having the odd restless night, but the more you worried about it the less you sleep? You could even have found your health suffering, as lack of sleep lowers your immune system, making you more prone to infection – it can even lead to depression.

Many people turn to sleeping pills for help, but these are often addictive and long term use actually inhibits natural sleep. You are not alone – lack of sleep (or insomnia) causes misery
for 1 in 3 people in the UK.

In order to understand the causes of Insomnia, we need to have a look at how the sleep cycle works. The amino acid L-tryptophan (found naturally in certain foods) is converted during digestion into 5-HTP and used in the manufacture of a neuro-transmitter called serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, is transformed into a sleep hormone called melatonin by the pineal gland in the brain. The pineal gland only becomes active after dark. By regulating levels of melatonin, our bodies create the 'sleep-wake cycle'.

Of course the process is more complex than this and there are other things that could contribute to sleep problems. However, sufficient production of serotonin and melatonin is crucial in promoting and maintaining healthy sleep.