A few years back, I traveled to Jamaica to visit my friend Ivey Harris. Ivey is the last-living Maroon healer on the island.
Maroon healers combine the herbal knowledge of their African ancestors with the healing arts of Jamaica’s native CaRib Indians.
We were working together on a book about Jamaican herbs and these ancient healing practices.
I wanted to explore every inch of this amazing island…
So Ivey took me to watch a group of fishermen in a sparsely inhabited area high in the eastern John Crow Mountains.
Finding Ancient Remedies
The fishermen there had a tradition of “relaxing” the fish to sleep. They would crumblE up bits of leaves and bark from the Jamaican dogwood tree and toss it into the water. Within minutes, the fish would be “asleep,” and the fishermen could just scoop them up with their hands.
This extract works so well Jamaicans call it “fish fuddle.”
I was intrigued and did some research. Animal studies have found that Jamaican dogwood contains sedative activities.1 But I needed to know more. I decided to bring this herb back to the States and have my research team look into it.
If it worked I would include it in my new sLeep remedy.
A Formula For Better Sleep
A few weeks later, I tried my new formula. It worked so well that the next morning I actually overslept for the first time in years.
But the best part is that I woke up with a clear mind. There was no fogginess or confusion like you get from other sleep aids.
Discoveries like this are the reason I leave home twice a year and travel to different parts of the world. I get to bring back cures like this and offer them to my patients — and to you. I want to find these cures before they’re lost forever. But I’m also looking for safe, alternative remedies so you don’t have to rely on drugs with their dangerous side effects.
And sleeping pills have some of the worst. Side effects from sleeping pills include heart attacks,2 broken bones,3 and even dementia.4
But one of the scariest side effects is that they cause erratic behavior. Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien have been known to cause sleepwalking, sleep eating and even sleep driving. Many people have absolutely no memory of what they did the night before.
And you know how much “extra sleep” you get from one of these drugs? About 11 minutes!
It’s just not worth it. Especially when there are so many safe and natural alternatives. Along with 10 mg of dogwood, here’s what I recommend.
4 Ways To Sleep Well Every Night
Take melatonin. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid that reverses insomnia. It does this by resetting your body’s clock. The problem with melatonin is absorption. Pills get destroyed in your gut and you never get the full effect. The best way to take melatonin is in spray form. But watch the dose. Many folks take too much, killing its effectiveness. Make sure you only take 300 mcg to 1 mg of melatonin.
Read before bed. Most people think it’s only your body that needs sleep. But it’s your brain. Reading is relaXing for your body, but requires a fair amount of thought. Because you’re working your brain, you’re more likely to grow tired enough to sleep soundly through the night.
Sleep in quiet and darkness. If you sleep with the TV or the light on, you are interfering with your brain’s natural sleep cycle and production of sleep hormones like melatonin. Turn it all off and sleep in total darkness. Even blocking the light from under a door or covering the blue glow from an electronic device could stop you from waking up.
Increase your thiamine intake. You might know it as vitamin B1. It’s well-known for supporting healthy circulation in the brain. But studies show thiamine improves sleep patterns when you have enough. The best food sources are organ meats, yeast, peas, pork, beans and sunflower seeds. To regulate sleep, I recommend 40 mg a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
DID YOU FIND THE RED LETTERS: RELAX
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Sources & References:
1. Costello C, Santaniello E. “Major isoflavonoids of the Jamaican dogwood.” Phytochemistry. 1994. 23:2976-77.
2. Kuo-Liong Chien. et al. “Habitual Sleep Duration and Insomnia and the Risk of Cardiovascular Events and All-cause Death: Report from a Community-Based Cohort.” Sleep. 2010 Feb 1.
3.Marlies R. de Jong, et al. “Drug-related falls in older patients: implicated drugs, consequences, and possible prevention strategies.” Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2013 Aug; 4(4): 147–154.
4. Hsin-I Shih, et al. “An Increased Risk of Reversible Dementia May Occur After Zolpidem Derivative Use in the Elderly Population. A Population-Based Case-Control Study.” Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 May; 94(17):e809.