Pharmacist Michelle Gray offers one-on-one hormone consultations for those who’d like to achieve better quality sleep. Learn more at Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

Pharmacist Michelle Gray offers one-on-one hormone consultations for those who’d like to achieve better quality sleep. Learn more at Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

In the quest for sleep, a multi-pronged approach is best

Many reach for melatonin, but this Kimberley pharmacist says it’s not the only tool

What’s your sleep issue?

Do you struggle to fall asleep, or do you fall asleep easily and find you wake up a few hours later wide awake and stressed by racing thoughts? The path to better sleep begins with understanding the individual challenges you face.

“We’ll take a different approach to your sleep depending on your symptoms. Sometimes people have multiple issues, so we have to take time to find the source for each,” says Michelle Gray, pharmacist and owner of Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kimberley.

Lifestyle affects sleep

You can dramatically improve your sleep quality without spending money or adding medications.

Basic sleep hygiene should include: ensure your bedroom is dark, avoid using screens (smartphones, TVs, etc.) at least an hour before bed, don’t plug in your phone in your bedroom.

Consider your diet and exercise. You may sleep better by adjusting your caffeine, alcohol, sugar or carbohydrate intake. Even the timing of unrelated medications can affect sleep quality.

Poor sleep isn’t just unpleasant, it can lead to other health challenges as well. Quality sleep is worth prioritizing.

“Shift work can cause huge stress and sleep struggles for many, and studies show those sleep disruptions can have a major impact on other aspects of our health like high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux and other issues. Those issues then disrupt our sleep even more,” Michelle says.

You’re not alone, and you still have options

Many people struggle to get enough sleep, and just because you’ve tried one tool doesn’t mean your quest for better sleep is hopeless.

“Often people try taking melatonin, which is a hormone our bodies produce at night. But even that can be fine-tuned. It comes in a wide range of doses and formulations, so it’s important to consult a knowledgable health professional.”

But melatonin is just the beginning — other tools may be more effective for your needs.

Tired but wired

“If you’re under acute or prolonged stress, that raises your cortisol levels. Normally cortisol is highest in the morning to help us wake up and is lowest in the evening when it’s time to go to bed. But stress can disrupt those patterns,” Michelle says.

If you feel exhausted throughout the day but wide awake as soon as your head hits the pillow (tired but wired), adjusting your cortisol levels may help.

Serenagen by Metagenics is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that helps lower cortisol levels. Michelle says for many people it pairs well magnesium glycinate, which helps with mental and muscle relaxation. MyoCalm Plus by Metagenics contains many components to help relax the mind and body, including lemon balm, passionflower, valerian root and a strain of hops that helps with pain and inflammation. Sleep-Great by Healthology contains many of these helpful ingredients, plus gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and theanine, which can both be used to help the mind relax. If you’re ready for a reset, the Metagenics Clear Change 10-day metabolic detoxification program can help your body rebalance, and make it easier to diagnose next steps.

“Pain is another reason that people have trouble falling asleep, and it can wake you up in the middle of the night. If it’s muscle cramping, magnesium glycinate may help. If the pain has a different source, we can help address that so you’re able to relax,” Michelle says.

If you’re getting a lot of sleep but never feel rested, a sleep test can help diagnose possible sleep apnea. Fitness tracker apps can also help assess your sleep quality.

Acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga and many other strategies may also help you get better sleep. If you’ve tried a variety of non-prescription products without success, talk to your physician and pharmacist to find out if prescription sleep products are right for you.

Schedule a hormone consultation with Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy to take a deeper dive into your personal melatonin, cortisol and other hormone levels, and find a custom solution.

Kootenays step up to help Ukraine

Canbrook’s Dr. Tracey Parnell is off to Ukraine, and this time she’s taking a bit of the Kootenays with her. Last month Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy put out the call to raise funds for medical supplies, and the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley and the surrounding area stepped up with $900 in donations!

“We want to send out a big thank you to the communities for coming together to help this important cause,” Michelle say

Dr. Parnell has plans to continue making medical visits to the war-torn region, so donations are still being accepted at Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy. Donate in person at 417B 304th St. on Highway 95 in Kimberley, open Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donate by e-transfer to

Get in touch at 250-427-0038 or at

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