In the 1920s, when electricity was not nearly as prevalent (but sources of artificial light were common), Americans were surveyed on sleep habits. The average American slept 9 hours a night, which meant that many slept more. Today the average American is believed to sleep 6 1/2 hours a night. We have not biologically evolved to need less sleep.
There are many types of insomnia: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking too early and sleeping at too superficial a level. People with sleep apnea may believe they sleep like a log, but they have hundreds of micro-awakenings from not being able to breathe, which send their adrenals into fight or flight mode and which leave them exhausted throughout the day. Sleep problems can be occasional, transitory (for short periods of time) or chronic. But the problem I see the most in practice is that people aren’t spending enough time in bed.
I am an herbalist, and that is where I turn first, in most cases. But Vitamin D is an exception. It is a hormone used by most of our cells in over 2000 functions,. As humans ranged north of the African savannah where we evolved and started wearing more clothing, we started lowering our D levels.
Vitamin D has the ability to kill off bacteria and that property has been so important that we have retained that property as primates for over 60 million years
Vitamin D also prevents the over stimulation of our immune system which could cause it to attack ourselves. This is important for the Swine Flu which can be dangerous if there is an excessive inflammatory response, called a cytokine storm.
Most deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic and more recently from SARS, happened when young healthy people who had a strong immune response provoked a cytokine storm which allowed an excessive response that quickly killed them off. We speculate that with higher levels of Vitamin D, the regulatory function that caused the excessive inflammation might not have occurred.