Natural Health Blog

Natural Health Tips for Healthy Sleep- Nighty Night!

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Sleep support is not created equally for each person.

First you must discern the type of nervous system dominance one has. What the heck does that mean? Nervous system dominance is a way to classify which of the two basic nervous system "modes" your body regularly is dominated by.

If you are a sympathetic dominent nervous system type, this means you are a GO-GO-GO person, who has a hard time relaxing, who is perhaps a "foot-tapper"- meaning anxious. Sympathetic Dominant types might have difficulty sleeping, or are very "anal-retentive" (pardon the term) or perhaps they are just very "particular" and organized.

For the GO-GO-GO person choose 2-3 of the following for healthy sleep. 

  • Magnesium (powdered mag from Natural Calm on Vitacost is great)
  • Herbs like Skullcap, Passionflower, Hops, Catnip or Lemon Balm in capsules.
  • Avoidance of caffeine (seems like a no-brainer, but this really matters)
  • possibly 5Htp (if you are not on anti-depressants)
  • Possibly GABA if you have difficulty focussing.
  • Avoidance of caffeine.
  • If you are a blood type A or B, you will likely need more relaxing forms of physical activity, walking, lite jogging, yoga, tai-chi, quigong. 
  • If you are a blood type A or B, there should be more of a vegetable and fruit focus with meat several times per week but not necessarily every day. 
  • I would encourage a higher grass fed beef diet if you are a blood type O.
  • If you are a blood type O, you need vigorous exercise at least 3-4 times per week. 
  • Lastly deep breathing exercises like in yoga or mediation. 

If you are a Para-sympathetic dominent nervous system type- this means that you might be less easily motivated - yet artistic, you like to sleep in and stay up late, you may be more loosely structured or less organized, you could be slower to anger and easy going.

For harder to motivate types, choose 2-3 of the following for healthy sleep.

  • Valerian root in capsules
  • Calcium in a bone meal based supplement, bone broth (that you can make) for the blood type O's in the house. 
  • Food based Calcium supplements (like in Valerian Root herb) for the Blood type A's or B's. 
  • If you are blood type A or B, you will likely need more relaxing forms of physical activity, walking, lite jogging, yoga, tai-chi, quigong. 
  • If you are blood type A or B, there should be more of a vegetable and fruit focus with meat several times per week but not necessarily every day. 
  • Avoidance of caffeine.
  • possibly 5Htp (if you are not on anti-depressants)
  • Possibly GABA if you have difficulty focussing or are constantly stressed or anxious.
  • I would encourage a higher grass fed beef diet for Blood type O's. 3-4 times weekly. 
  • If you are a blood type O, you'll also need vigorous exercise at least 3-4 times per week. 

Still not totally clear on if your sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance??

Here is a description of each. Find out what fits you for the best source of sleep support. It can make all the difference in health. Our sleeping hours are vital for repair, detoxification and rejuvenation. 

Sympathetic Dominant Type Description-

Sympathetic dominant people have a stronger muscular system, heart, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland (responsible for calcium metabolism), kidneys, gonads, (ovaries or testes), uterus or prostate and adrenal medulla (the part of the adrenal gland that secretes adrenalin). The adrenal medulla is often over-active in sympathetics and they are typical “fight or flight” Type A people – “workaholic” executives, self-motivated leaders and high-pressure business people.

They have lots of nervous energy, are ambitious, enjoy exercise, love mental stimulation, have excellent powers of concentration, seem to be in constant motion and function well under stress. Sympathetics are anxious, impatient, quick to anger and have emotional swings, but they are rarely depressed. They enjoy vegetables, fruits and sweets and have good calcium metabolism. They are slow oxidizers (meaning they digest food and burn sugar slowly) and their cells are more “acidic.” They generally thrive on vegetarian or modified vegetarian diets, with chicken, fish and just a little meat.

Sympathetic dominant people tend to be slender and pale, with big eyes. The conditions they are prone to include constipation, diabetes, digestive problems, anemia, cancer, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, non-fatal heart attacks, poor circulation, migraine headaches, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis and hardening of the arteries. Because they are so busy, they may “forget” to eat. They tend not to “feel” sick (no time to be sick), so they don’t slow down even when they need to, which can lead to their physical and mental decline.

Parasympathetic Dominant Type Description:

Parasympathetic dominant people have a stronger immune system, pineal gland, lungs, adrenal cortex (which secretes cortisone), spleen and digestive system -- stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder and pancreas. They have good digestion and are fast oxidizers (meaning they digest food and burn sugar rapidly). They tend to be relaxed and easy-going, even lazy or lethargic, and don’t like to be rushed. They are strong people with enduring energy and a high stress tolerance, unless the stress becomes too much for them and then they fall apart. They have large appetites, are usually hungry, enjoy fatty and salty foods, and don’t like to exercise.

Parasympathetics are generally slow to anger, are friendly and talkative and make great salespeople. Their body cells are alkaline, so in spite of the prevalent belief that meat is unhealthy for everyone, they need to eat meat. If they are very parasympathetic, they especially need liver and other glands. (Organic meat preferred. Kosher is second choice.)

They tend to have large frames, ruddy complexions and small eyes. The conditions parasympathetic dominant people are prone to include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), diarrhea, overweight, low blood pressure, depression, heavy sweating and frequent urination, viral infections, allergies, asthma, cold sores, leukemia, osteoarthritis, and sexual problems (impotence in males and menstrual/menopause problems in females). If they have a heart attack, it is usually massive and kills them.

The above is a partial listing of the characteristics and tendencies of both types. Also, be aware that almost no one is purely sympathetic or parasympathetic, and that regardless of your dominance, “prone to” does not mean you will develop a specific conditions associated with your metabolic type.

Balanced Metabolic Type

In people who have a balanced autonomic nervous system, neither branch is stronger. They neither burn their food too fast or two slow, and they do equally well (or poorly, if they are sick) on all variations of foods. When they become sick, they can be prone to the conditions of either sympathetics or parasympathetics, but generally not to the extreme of either type.

It is not better or worse to have a sympathetic or parasympathetic dominant or balanced metabolism, although balanced metabolisms have more freedom in food choices. Regardless of your dominant metabolic type, you can be healthy or sick.

What Determines Your Metabolic Type?

You are born that way. While it is possible to “tone down” the anxious Type A behavior that is characteristic of a sympathetic, and bring up the lethargic nature that is typical of a parasympathetic, these personality traits come with our metabolic type. They are not something we choose, anymore than we choose our height or eye color; it’s the result of genetics.

A major factor is your ethnic, nationality and ancestral background – where your ancestors came from. According to the theory, in spite of the belief that humans are “supposed” to eat foods that grow in the earth, many people cannot be healthy if they remain on a strict vegetarian diet. While the human race may have started out in “the garden of Eden” eating foods that primarily grow on trees and in the ground, as humans migrated to areas where fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds were not plentiful, their digestive systems either adapted to digesting what was available for food (animal meat) or they died. Their descendants (and that could be you) were born with meat-eating digestive systems. Protein from non-animal sources cannot take the place of meat (beef, lamb, game animals, organ meats) for parasympathetic dominant people.

Since most people’s descendants came from a mixture of different backgrounds and countries and intermarried, most people (especially in America and Canada) are mixtures of metabolic types, with one predominating. Your natural (genetic) dominance can “switch” under certain conditions, such prolonged stress and illness.

I hope sincerely that this helps!