Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Posts Tagged ‘melatonin

Foods that harm and foods that help Sleep

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Best and Worst Foods for Sleep – Health.com. Who knew cherries were good to eat before bed time?

Bowl of cherries

via Foods that harm and foods that help Sleep.

Written by Queen of Sleep

October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Does Cheese give you Nightmares?

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…or is it just an urban myth? You are naturally very prone to dreaming if you each rich/sugary foods right before bedtime so if you tried eating cheese before sleeping I think you would be more likely to dream than not, in combination with the suggestion that you will experience “nightmares”, you have set your brain up for some wacky night. It think the whole argument sounds odd but  The British Cheese Board conducted a study and found that different types of cheese do seem to influence the types of dreams individuals may have. They claim that Stilton can cause bizarre and vivid dreams;  Red Leicester is thought to provoke nostalgia and Cheshire causes the least dreaming of them all. Read more Here.It gets weirder…It would be very interesting to find out exactly what ingredient/chemical process triggers nostalgia in Red Leicester and weather MRI scans were used in the experiment but I haven’t been able to find any in-depth data.

The British Cheese Board  dispels the urban myth that Cheese causes nightmares but they claim that it induces dreams, lovely dreams, creative dreams. I dream so much that it’s quite tricky to say what kind of dream is a night mare and what kind of dream is not as my dreams are constantly changing in theme within the dream. I have been eating more cheese around Christmas time than at any other time of the year and I can honestly say that I have not had increased nightmares. It appears to be another marketing jippo/exercise but I have to admit it’s a fun idea.

The BC  also write that cheese contains tryptophan – a substance that can help reduce stress and actually induce a good night’s sleep. ….which is…

Tryptophan is one of the standard 20 amino acids as well as an essential amino acid in the human diet which means that it must be part of our diet. They act as building blocks in the body’s manufacturing process of protein. It also works a precursor for:  the production of serotonin which in turn can be converted to melatonin. So far so good, don’t exclude cheese but keep the tryptophan rich foods such as cheese and turkey for moments when you need energy i.e. not right before bedtime.

I sleep best when I don’t dream intensively so eating cheese or anything at all before bedtime makes my sleep even worse and I dream more, move more and so it prevents me from getting a nights restful sleep.

Written by Queen of Sleep

February 7, 2012 at 8:08 am

Melatonin: Not a Magic Bullet for Sleep

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Dr. Michael J. Breus: Melatonin: Not a Magic Bullet for Sleep.

If you take melatonin to help regulate your sleep – make sure you don’t take more that is recommended in this article or you might get even more vivid dreams etc.


Written by Queen of Sleep

February 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Light Photo-therapy SAD and Narcolepsy

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Iglo Light Cafe

Iglo Light Cafe in Stockholm

I decided to write about Iglo Light Cafe in Stockholm but unfortunately halfway through my research I found out that they were forced to shut the photo-therapy centre last year due to unforeseen increased rent. If you are interested light therapy or photo-therapy you can join their Facebook page here so that you will know when and if they decide to reopen.

As I am in Sweden during the darkest time of the year, I decided to look into light therapy and subsequently stumbled across an article online at The Local: Sweden’s News in English, and found that SAD sufferers who do indeed find it a sorrow to bear the long winter months in Sweden, photo-therapy may be a ray of hope. Better known as light therapy, photo-therapy has been used in Sweden for years as a means of combating SAD.
SAD is a psychological disorder characterized by depression, tiredness, decreased motivation, a tendency to sleep excessively and a craving for carbs and sweets. In severe cases, sufferers may experience intense anxiety and irritability, and the condition can even lead to suicidal tendencies.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a psychological disorder. I believe it’s directly related to the body’s capacity to absorb/convert/produce/retain: Melatonin/Vitamin D/Serotonin which turns it into a neurological condition rather than a psychological one. I also find the symptoms of SAD quite similar to narcolepsy in many ways.

Photo-therapy is most commonly administered through the use of a light box which emits a measured amount of balanced spectrum light from fluorescent tubes. “Clinically, patients do benefit from light exposure and light does indeed have certain biological benefits” says Hetta, a Professor in Psychiatry at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The professor also says that  there is no conclusive scientific proof of the effectiveness of photo-therapy. This article is from 2008 so hopefully there is research available today. Personally, I think that there must exist conclusive medical proof for the effectiveness of sun exposure and uptake of Vitamin D?

In 2005, Kate Melville wrote for Science A GoGo, referencing The American Journal of Psychiatry quoting, ..  a study, appearing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, has found that light therapy effectively treats mood disorders, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other depressive disorders. The study, led by a psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina (UNC), also found that the effects of light therapy, also known as phototherapy, are comparable to those found in many clinical studies of antidepressant drug therapy.

Light boxes can be easily purchased from the internet for home use, but there are other options. The Iglo Lightcafé, opened in Stockholm in 2004 by Martin Sylwan, is Sweden’s and possibly the world’s, first light cafe. Rather than sitting next to a light box, the idea of the Lightcafé is that the whole room is illuminated with constant, unshadowed rays. On entering the cafe, visitors don white robes and are able to buy food and drink or even take breakfast.

“I think it’s a great way to treat SAD,” says Sylwan. “From the people I’ve spoken to, it really helps.” Sylwan explained what originally made him start up the Lightcafé: “When I personally suffered from depression, light therapy was prescribed by my doctor. The treatment was in the psychiatric ward of a hospital and although I found the treatment helpful, I really didn’t like going there.” Finding medical institutions “in no way a positive experience”, Sylwan decided to create a more relaxing environment for light therapy.

Many working environments are not properly lit and there is not enough natural light from windows during the dark season. During some parts of the year, it can also be a real challenge to find the time on a daily basis to spend time outdoors while it is sunny. This makes  people naturally low in energy and affects performance, and for some people it can even be a real difficulty that affects day-to-day activities.

Trendhunter.com on Iglo and Iglo Light Cafe

If you have narcolepsy and don’t get enough exposure to the sun on a daily basis, I would definitely try to be referred for photo-therapy or purchase a light box. Only purchase from a reliable vendor and ensure you get the right supportive technology i.e. the most up to date technology light tubes to suit you.

If you know of any Light Cafe’s or therapy rooms – Please contact me with the details so I can create a contact list/sheet.

German Milk Might Aid Insomniacs

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German Night Milk might aid Insomniacs is an interesting article from the Guardian, World News.

The German milk producer Milchkristalle GmbH patents ‘nocturnal milk’ said to contain higher levels of the sleep hormone melatonin. They claim it’s 25 times higher than in normal milk. Scientific research has proven that milk taken from cows during the night contains higher levels of melatonin.

Melatonin helps to regulate the bio-rythm of all mammals. The animals are also fed large amounts of clover, containing high levels of protein and the amino acid tryptophan – the key ingredient needed by the body to create melatonin. Could the milk help narcoleptics sleep better? The article does not comment on how much milk you would have to drink before bedtime to make the best use of the high melatonin levels just milk powder. It would be 2 million portions. Sounds like a right scam to me…

Newswire also reports on the medicinal cow milk rich in Melatonin

Written by Queen of Sleep

October 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm