With a 24×7 society, sleep has become a valuable necessity. It not only increases energy levels, but helps the body heal naturally from the wear and tear of the day before and saves you the daily grinding experiences. Insomnia is described as a condition that prevents people from getting the required amount of sleep regularly, thus hampering the essential body functions.
Understanding Insomnia- The Medical View
Insomnia can be defined as difficulty commencing or maintaining sleep continuously for at least 3-nights in a week, paired with complaints of any sleep-related daytime impairments. With 35% American adults experiencing these sleep-related problems, insomnia is a growing problem.
Habitually non-restorative, sleep can stem from an interruption of the circadian rhythm- an internal-clock that regulates sleep-timing, hormone-production, body-temperature and other vital functions.
Insomnia and its Negative Impacts
If you are suffering from insomnia or any sleep disorders, you must have tried out a lot of cures by now. Sleep disorders have severe negative effects on the body and result in health complications. Scientific studies have analyzed the root causes of insomnia and the main culprits are stress, tension, financial or marital problems and medical conditions.
Did you know that people with insomnia are:
- more likely to be depressed
- more prone to heart diseases
- more stressed out and likely to achieve less as compared to more rested co-workers
- have a shorter attention-span and
- more at the risk of accidents on roads, at home or at work
Though supplements are often the most popular solutions, not all are approved by the FDA. Foods and herbs along with natural remedies remain a safe course for addressing insomnia. Sleep is absolutely essential to rejuvenate and restore the balance of the body and mind along with maintaining overall health.
Get Help from Natural Sleep Remedies
Valerian: Insomnia can be dealt with the help of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – a herb, that has become one of the popular over-the-counter remedy. Probably affecting the levels of neurotransmitter GABA, studies suggest that it works like conventional sleeping-pills, without being addictive or causing grogginess. It’s also very inexpensive.
Take Valerian an hour before bedtime and it takes about 2-3 weeks to work and should not be consumed for more than 3-months at a stretch. Side-effects include palpitation, dizziness, indigestion and slight headaches and should not be taken in conjunction with medications like antihistamines and sedatives.
Melatonin: Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. It is a hormone found naturally in the body- serotonin, which is produced by the pineal gland, is changed into melatonin at night when natural light begins to diminish.
The herb is typically taken half an hour before bedtime. It causes drowsiness, slows down metabolic functions and puts the body into the sleep mode. However, the herb should not be used by people with depression, schizophrenia, any autoimmune diseases or any other serious illness. When used for less than 3 months, there are no significant side effects- as revealed by the studies of the University of Alberta. So like Valerian it should not be used for more than a 3 month stretch.
Kava: This is another popular anti-anxiety herb that helps effectively deal with anxiety related insomnia. It should be noted that there are reports of liver damage associated with Kava use. The FDA felt compelled to issue an advisory to consumers against the use of Kava. So it is obviously preferable to give Valerian or Melatonin and shot before considering Kava as a sleep aid.
Various relaxation techniques like visualization, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, relaxation response, are used effectively to relieve with insomnia. Maintaining a healthy diet, cutting down on caffeine and sugar intake; aromatherapy and eating magnesium-rich food will help you fight insomnia effectively. Hopefully these suggestions will help you overcome short-term bouts of insomnia so you can return to getting a restful night’s sleep. Please let us know in the comment section if you have any other methods you have used successfully to overcome short-term insomnia.
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