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Dr. Beth's Top Picks For Insomnia
Beth Ley Knotts, Ph.D.
We know if there is something wrong (symptom) there has to be a reason (root cause), so finding/understanding the cause of your sleep issues is key to finding solutions.

The most common causes are:
Cortisol (stress hormone) is too high (more common) or too low (adrenal exhaustion).
  • Phosphatidylserine (200 mg) before bed helps lower elevated cortisol levels. Be sure to look for a brand that is not soy-derived as most soy in the US is GM and that is something to avoid!! See PS100.
  • Pregnenalone - this hormone balancer helps lower elevated cortisol AND boost lowered cortisol. Start at 50 mg in am. Contact me for more info as dosaged needed will vary from person to person.
  • Stress and Sleep - features lemon balm, Chinese mint and other herbs.
  • Essential oils - Lavender, Stress Away, Peace and Calming, and Tranquil are just a few oils helpful for elevated cortisol levels.

Racing Thoughts (associated with elevated cortisol) - reliving all the stressful events/conversations of the day will just make things worse.
  • GABA - 750 mg before bed is very helpful, but this works best NOT taken every night... try 5 days on, 2 days off. GABA is also good for anxiety.
  • I also sing favorite songs or hymn in my head or recite memorized scripture or pray in the spirit.

Depressed Serotonin Levels - this relaxing hormone is depressed when cortisol levels are high. This causes anxiety, insomnia, depression and carb cravings. High cortisol combined with low serotonin makes it impossible for the body to go into deep (REM) sleep which you need for the body to heal and be rejuvinated at night. Without REM sleep you are still exhausted in the am.
  • 5 HTP - (5 Hydroxy-tryptophan) is the precursor to serotonin so it helps you make your own naturally. 100 mg is enough for most and can be taken every night. This is a natural replacement for SSRI medications (Paxil, Effixor, Prosac, etc.) that have horrible and dangerous side effects.

Low Melatonin - this is more common with age (after 40). Dosages will vary from person to person (1 to 5 mg). Very helpful for those with adrenal fatigue. Taking too much may cause strange dreams. Melatonin also suppressed with exposure to blue light from watching TV or using the computer, Ipad or phone before bed. This happens at any age and is also associated with weight gain, especially in youth.
  • Cedarwood essential oil - increases production of melatonin... place a drop over the pineal gland between the eyes before bed.

Hot Flashes/Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone fluctuations can cause sleep problems as well.
  • Herb Theory Menopause - features hops extract and other herbs... dosage is 1-2 before bed.
  • Flax Seeds or Flax Lignans, contain phytoestrogens to support balance.

Overactive or Weak Bladder
Needing to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom can also be bothersome for some.
  • Bladder Support is highly effective to reduce or eliminate those trips. 4 daily to start... 2 to maintain benefits.

Acid Reflux/Heartburn

Leg Cramps/Charley Horses/Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Magnesium - Low magnesium can wake you with cramps or legs that won't stop moving. Dosage is 400 to 600 mg for most. Magnesium is very relaxing and in general good for sleep as well. Epsom salt baths are also excellent.