Posted in Fitness
Six Natural insomnia-fighters that will put you to sleep faster than counting sheep
Sleep is essential to our health. If you don’t believe me, you’ve never suffered from insomnia. During periods where we lack adequate rest, our health can start to deteriorate due to low immunity; we can slip into a depressed mental state due to lack of sleep and stress on our bodies and minds; and our relationships—both personal and work—can suffer due to irritability and the inability to concentrate. However, if you ever suffer from bouts of insomnia, there are many supplements and natural therapies that can ease you back in to a peaceful, quality sleep. A whole lot quicker then counting fuzzy sheep, that is!
Natural sleep vitamin and supplement aids are readily available over-the-counter at any U.S. drugstore. However, if you compare prices online—especially with pharmacies that sell Canadian drugs at discount prices—you will find a more economical way to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. As always, it’s wise to talk with your doctor if you suffer from insomnia, as a prescription solution might be better suited to your body and health concern.
The most popular over-the-counter supplements and natural therapies to get you to sleep are:
I’ve taken this sleep aid myself in the past and it has never failed me. Don’t be put off by the name that actually stems from the shape of the plant’s seeds, which, obviously, resemble tiny skulls. Skullcap gets you to sleep by as a powerful sedative on the body’s nervous tension. It can be taken in tincture or tea form, but I took in as in capsule form about 30 minutes before bedtime. Physicians discovered Skullcap in the 1700s and used it to ease nasty rabies symptoms. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns against any use of skullcap over the long term as it’s been known to cause seizures and irregular heartbeat. It also advises diabetes (high blood sugar) sufferers to avoid this supplement altogether, as it may lower blood sugar levels and increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
This extremely popular supplement for insomniacs works by regulating sleep patterns via a hormone that’s already naturally produced by our bodies. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, located in the brain. Its soothing affects were found to increase quality of sleep for patients over a short period of time. A series of studies from University of Alberta of 651 people who complained of disturbed sleep, administered Melatonin to patients for a period of approximately three months. Although the studies showed no side effects from melatonin use, scientists advise patients suffering with depression, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, and pregnant and nursing women to avoid using melatonin altogether.
3. Valerian root
Valeriana Officinalis is a popular over-the-counter supplement for sleep used in Germany. Akin to a prescription sleeping pill, valerian root calms the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain. If you can’t rest your mind enough to go to sleep, valerian root may be for you—without the rather harmful and addictive qualities of prescription sleeping pills. Again, the verdict is still out on this supplements side affects so doctors advice taking it in the long term (longer than three months) as it can make you extremely groggy.
4. Hatha yoga
A gentle style of yoga that incorporates deep breathing as well as gentle stretching will ease your sore muscles and active mind so you can get a good, restful sleep. To back it up, Harvard scientists had patients do daily yoga sessions for eight weeks. They found patients not only fell asleep faster, but also remained asleep longer.
5. Breathing and meditation
Meditation sessions are excellent for calming the body and mind because they put you in a peaceful state, which not only soothes a wandering mind, but helps the body visualize positively in a state of rest. Just meditate at home before bed by lying comfortably on the floor for 20 minutes in a prone position. Concentrate on clearing your mind and breathing slowly. Concentrate on your breath as you inhale fully, pause, and then exhale fully until your lungs are empty. Do 15 rounds before you head to bed.