|Minor Allele Frequency (%)
The risk ‘T’ allele of the SNP rs10830964, or C2120T in the MTNR1B gene was associated with an increase in insomnia, although no mechanism was described. We can hypothesise that the activity of MTNR1B is reduced either through a reduction in receptor cell number, or action following melatonin binding 2.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body in order to regulate sleep patterns, and is the native protein for melatonin receptors. Produced when the body detects a dark environment (receptors in the eyes are especially important for this) it interacts with MTNR1B receptors throughout the body to slow cell activity and promote the onset of sleep. Although this effect may only be observed with a history of trouble sleeping.
Magnesium has been shown to improve sleep length and quality by stimulating the complex GABA neurological pathway. It has also been shown to improve the feeling of wakefulness and alertness the morning following supplementation. This may help relieve the symptoms of insomnia associated with the ‘T’ allele of MTNR1B 5,6.
Hops are the flowers of the hop plant. With a bitter flavor, rich in resins, and essential oils, hops are mainly used to flavor and stabilize beer. However, the essential oils derived from hops have also long been used in herbal remedies for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. The active ingredient of hops, 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (MB), mimics the activity of adenosine by binding with ADORA2A and inducing sleep. This may help relieve the symptoms of insomnia associated with the ‘T’ allele of MTNR1B 7.
Chamomile has a long history of use, as an aid to improve sleep and act as a general relaxant starting with the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. The key ingredient of chamomile which promotes sleep is the flavone apigenin. Found in many plants, with chamomile flowers being a particularly rich source, the complex molecule apigenin interacts with the complex neural signaling pathway GABA in order to promote sleep. This may help relieve the symptoms of insomnia associated with the ‘T’ allele of MTNR1B 8.
Passion flowers are a large group of vine growing plants, originally found in tropical regions but now grown much more extensively. Long been used Native Americans to make a tea used to treat insomnia; this practice was rapidly adopted by European colonists. The key ingredient of passion flower for promoting sleep has been identified as vitexin, which is derived from apigenin. It is thought to act in a similar fashion to apigenin, promoting good quality, deep sleep and reducing restlessness, by interacting with the complex GABA pathway. This may help relieve the symptoms of insomnia associated with the ‘T’ allele of MTNR1B 9,10.
A major reason we use caffeine is because of its wakefulness promoting effects. Caffeine induces these effects through the adenosine receptor ADORA2A. When adenosine binds to ADORA2A pathways promoting sleep are initiated. However, whilst caffeine can also bind to ADORA2A it does not induce these pathways. So, by sitting, blocking ADORA2A it prevents the sleep inducing effects of adenosine. Removal of caffeine from your diet is often a recommended step for those with trouble sleeping 11.
Discuss this information with your doctor before taking any course of action.