As we discussed last week, there is evidence to support Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s theory that the pain of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is related to insufficient growth hormone (GH) production. Growth hormone plays an imperative role in the body’s recovery and repair processes, to include muscle repair, and is only produced during the final—and deepest—stages of sleep. The inability of 99 percent of FMS patients to reach and maintain deep sleep is thus an impediment to pain relief and recovery.

Fortunately, there are many natural sleep aides that can be taken independently or in conjunction with prescription sleep medications, such as Ambien and Trazadone. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends beginning with the lowest effective dose of natural sleep aides, starting with one and gradually incorporating additional remedies as necessary to reach and maintain 8-9 hours of sleep. If sleep remains elusive after combining 5-6 natural remedies, only then should you consider prescription medication.

The following sleep aides are combined in Dr. Teitelbaum’s End Fatigue Revitalizing Sleep Formula and in Dr. G’s SLEEP, both routinely recommended for our FMS and chronic fatigue patients:

1. Suntheanine is the active ingredient in green tea that promotes a calm alertness during waking hours, and enables the achievement of deep sleep at bedtime.
2. Wild lettuce has been shown to relieve anxiety, headache, restless leg syndrome (RLS) and muscle and joint pain.
3. There is a fable about a lazy fisherman who would litter the water with Jamaican dogwood and then net the sleeping fish. Jamaican dogwood works as a muscle relaxant that reduces the incidence of muscle spasms and cramps, which often disrupt sleep for FMS patients.
4. Hops is type of hemp plant that relieves anxiety and insomnia, working in a similar way to Valium with no grogginess the next day.
5. Passion flower has a calming effect that is known to relieve muscle spasms, menstrual pain, pain-related anxiety, colic, diarrhea, and dysentery.
6. Valerian root has been used for centuries to relieve anxiety and promote deep sleep. As a member of the “Valium family,” this root is most effective when taken long-term, produces no hangover from sleep the next day, and can be highly effective in reducing symptoms of withdrawal from prescription sleep medications.

Dr. Vosloo has also found that pregnenolone supplementation can help induce sleep. Pregnenolone is a hormone that regulates various nervous system functions, to include those involved in the establishment and maintenance of circadian sleep rhythms. We will talk more about pregnenolone as a part of next week’s discussion of the big “H” in S.H.I.N.E protocol—hormone support.

Many patients also find that microcurrent therapy effectively reduces anxiety and calms the racing mind—in addition to reducing the incidence of muscle cramps and spasms—which in turn makes it easier to achieve and maintain sleep. We will talk more about microcurrent therapy in the nutrition and exercise sections of the S.H.I.N.E series.