To obtain satisfactory sleep requires a careful evaluation of the reason why you cannot sleep well.
“Get a good night’s sleep…”
Isn’t this what the old country doctor used to say?
Healing indeed requires sleep. It is the most basic of all natural remedies.
Sleepless… somewhere in Canada…
But this most essential of all essential natural remedies is being stolen from us by various forces. Up to 30% of North America’s inhabitants suffer from insomnia in one form or another.
Nearly half experience difficulties falling asleep. You would think that people would naturally resort to natural remedies for insomnia!
But you see, these days the old doc’s suggestion simply does not do the trick!
We live in the Pill Culture.
Just gulp down this red pill. If the red isn’t good, you’ll take the blue one. Sleepless Americans (and Canadians for that matter) get countless prescriptions for drugs (millions annually). But is such drug induced sleep any “good”? A lot of people are now waking up (no pun intended) to the fact that such drugs could be very dangerous…
On the other hand natural insomnia remedies generally do not pose such dangers.
Why can’t I sleep?
Insomnia is commonly defined as abnormal wakefulness, an inability to fall asleep or remain asleep throughout the night. Such habitual sleeplessness, repeated night after night, can result from:
… may be physical, psychological, or more often, combination of both.
If psychological factors don’t appear to be the cause, then various drinks, foods and drugs may be responsible. There are numerous ingredients in what we eat and drink and more than 300 drugs that can easily interfere with normal sleep.
Should a drug be the reason for your sleepless nights try working with your doc to get off the drug.
Elderly persons are especially prone to sleeping problems. For these people natural remedies for insomnia can be particularly useful given that they often use drugs for other health issues.
Frequently, insomnia persists long after the traumatic event has passed but the condition becomes chronic and self-perpetuating. The person becomes anxious and worried about not being able to sleep.
A number of herbal remedies for insomnia are available. Herbal sedatives with no side effects are your optimal choice.
One of the best known herbs is valerian root, especially when used in combination with other herbs.
Not only the tradition of medical herbalism and anecdotal evidence support Valerian, Hops, Passion Flower as a natural sleep promoters. There are good clinical studies that confirm this too.
These studies have shown that compounds found in the valerian root of the plant improve sleep quality, reduce morning drowsiness and shorten time required to get to sleep.
Valerian appears to be as good as small doses of prescription tranquilizers with no side effects. You will need up to 500 milligrams of dried herbal powder less than 1 hr prior to bedtime.
Similar properties have been found in other herbs: passion flower, skullcap, hops. Hawthorn is sometimes recommended. It is high in chromium and may lower your blood pressure slightly.
Melatonin has been widely marketed as a number one out of all remedies for insomnia.
It is not an herb. What exactly is it?
Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland while sleeping. Melatonin is actually a hormone that plays a role in sleep. Supplementing with melatonin may help you improve your quality of sleep, increase total sleep time and make it easier to fall asleep. It may also help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Melatonin may even help reset the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin however is not for everyone. Melatonin should not be taken during the day, it may cause drowsiness in some individuals. It is not recommended for use by children, teenagers or pregnant or lactating women or those driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.
Foods high in tryptophan promote sleep. These foods are also considered natural insomnia remedies and include turkey, bananas, figs, dates, yogurt, and grapefruit. Try a half a grapefruit or a banana before you brush your teeth.
Avoid stimulants: caffeine in any form, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, bacon, ham , sausage, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant close to bedtime. These foods contain tyramine, which causes chemical reaction in the brain that interferes with sleep.
This is a special sleep related disorder. You fall asleep without issues. But somewhere in the middle of the night you wake up with insomnia.
Why is this?
Low nighttime blood sugar level. When this happens a number of hormones is released: adrenaline, glucagon, cortisol. They all produce a natural signal for the brain: hey, wake up, need sugar! It’s time to eat!
You should have a good bedtime snack that will help you to keep your blood glucose levels steady. Try oatmeal, whole grain muffin, or anything that contains complex carbohydrates.
You should also consider chromium. It is a co-factor in regulating blood sugar levels. The processed food diet makes it difficult to maintain adequate stores of chromium. And that’s bad, because chromium is needed for stable blood sugar levels.
If nocturnal hypoglycemia is your problem then a chromium supplement may to be included in your arsenal of remedies for insomnia.
Consult your doctor before using any of the above if you are currently taking any prescription medication. Do not discontinue use of any prescription medication without your doctor’s knowledge and approval. Nothing written or portrayed in this website should be taken as prescription, diagnoses or a substitute for consultation with a competent medical doctor. For educational purposes only.