Friday 6 December 2019 ,
Friday 6 December 2019 ,
Latest News
  • Khaleda’s bail hearing deferred until Dec 12
  • 58 migrants dead as boat capsizes off Mauritania: UN
  • Trump calls Trudeau 'two-faced' at Nato summit
  • ACC okays charge sheet against ex-CJ Sinha
  • No relief for consumers as onion prices still soar
  • Normalcy returns to BUET, JU
  • AL likely to induct fresh blood into central body
  • PM urges nation to stay alert against arsonists return
  • BPL teams start practice at Mirpur
  • Suhrawardy’s death anniv today
15 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 July, 2019 01:16:46 AM

14 Natural remedies to beat insomnia

Plus tips to get a better night's rest
verywell health
14 Natural remedies to beat insomnia

CATHY WONG

Although it's common to have the occasional sleepless night, insomnia is the inability to sleep or excessive wakening in the night that impairs daily functioning. Of natural remedies, three have been shown to be useful, and others have some preliminary but inconclusive evidence. Since chronic lack of sleep may be linked to a number of health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression), it's important to consult your physician and avoid self-treating with alternative medicine.

Here are 14 natural remedies to consider:

Melatonin

Melatonin supplements are widely recommended for various sleep conditions, but the best evidence is for help with sleep problems caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the brain. It is produced from serotonin when exposure to light decreases at night. It is used in conditions where sleep is disordered due to low levels of melatonin at night such as aging, affective disorders (e.g. depression), delayed sleep-phase disorder, or jet lag.

Melatonin supplements may improve sleep quality and morning alertness in older adults with insomnia. Timed-release melatonin is used to treat primary insomnia in people over age 55 in the European Union and elsewhere. In most studies on melatonin for insomnia in older adults, melatonin was taken up to two hours before bedtime for up to 13 weeks. The timing is important—when melatonin is taken in the morning, it delays circadian rhythms but advances them when taken in the afternoon or early evening.

Light exposure

Light therapy is used as part of sleep treatment plans. If you have trouble falling asleep at night or have delayed sleep-phase syndrome, you may need more light in the morning.

Light exposure plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep (by increasing melatonin production) and when to wake up. A walk outdoors first thing in the morning or light therapy for 30 minutes may help.

 On the other hand, if you find you're waking up too early in the morning or have advanced sleep-phase syndrome, you may need more light late afternoon and could try taking a walk outdoors or light therapy for two to three hours in the evening. Home light therapy units are available and may be recommended by your doctor or sleep specialist to use in conjunction with your sleep therapy.

Meditation and relaxation techniques

A regular meditation practice may help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and reducing stress hormone levels. Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing one's attention to an object of focus (such as breathing or a sound or word) in order to increase awareness, relax the body, and calm the mind. Some types of meditation include guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or body scan. Also try:

Visualization: Involves actively imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you're imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen to the waves. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.

Relaxation Response: A mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions patterned closely after Transcendental Meditation.

Mindfulness: A type of meditation that essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.

Early evidence suggests that meditation techniques may improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says relaxation techniques have enough evidence to say they can be helpful for insomnia. But further research is still needed.

Yoga

A system of relaxation, breathing, exercise and healing with origins in Indian philosophy, yoga has been described as the union of mind, body, and spirit. Preliminary studies show it may be helpful for insomnia, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state in which a person is more focused, aware, and open to suggestion. Although how it works is not understood, hypnosis may bring about physiological changes in the body such as decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and alpha wave brain patterns, similar to meditation and other types of deep relaxation. Hypnosis may be helpful in enhancing the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques. But the studies done so far are not well-designed.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture and acupressure may help with insomnia. Studies have shown some evidence that it can help, but the studies are of poor scientific quality.

Aromatherapy

A 2011 analysis found no studies that are rigorous enough to provide good evidence for aromatherapy for assisting sleep. The scent of English lavender aromatherapy oil has long been used as a folk remedy to help people fall asleep. It is one of the most soothing essential oils. Try putting a lavender sachet under your pillow or place one to two drops of lavender essential oil in a handkerchief. Or add several drops of lavender oil to a bath—the drop in body temperature after a warm bath also helps with sleep. Other aromatherapy oils believed to help with sleep are chamomile, patchouli, and ylang-ylang.

Food and diet

What you eat and what you don't can have an effect on your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine can have a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, tea, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine. Alcohol consumption can result in nighttime wakefulness.

Cut back on sugar: Although sugar can give a burst of energy, it's short-lived and can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night as blood sugar levels fall.

Eat foods that help you sleep: Tryptophan is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Eat carbohydrate snacks such as whole grain crackers before bedtime. Also include foods rich in vitamin B6, found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bananas, which enhances the body's conversion of tryptophan. Note that L-tryptophan supplements are not recommended as they have been linked to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome.

Eat Magnesium-rich foods: The mineral magnesium is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, and whole grains. In addition to including these whole foods in your diet, you can also try juicing dark leafy green vegetables.

Vitex agnus castus

The herb Vitex agnus castus (chaste tree) may help insomnia during menstrual periods or insomnia that is a side effect of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In one study, women with moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome were treated with either a vitex agnus castus extract or a placebo for three menstrual cycles. Participants were asked to document their symptoms with a PMS diary with a daily rating scale of 17 symptoms.

They reported fewer symptoms, especially less insomnia and negative affect, but their cramps didn't improve. However, chasteberry should not be used by anyone on birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or dopamine-related medications, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Valerian

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a herbal home remedy, brewed as a tea or taken as a supplement, that is commonly used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and act as a sedative. Clinical trials of valerian have had inconsistent results for insomnia. Studies measuring sleep quality have found no difference between people taking valerian and those taking a placebo. However, a sizable number of people in the studies anecdotally reported that their sleep quality improved with valerian.

Valerian is thought to affect levels of one of the calming neurotransmitters in the body, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It also relieves muscle spasms and is thought to help alleviate menstrual period pain. Valerian is typically taken an hour before bed. A standard dose is 450 mg. If taken during the day, valerian may result in drowsiness—it is often taken in two to three 300 mg doses with meals.

Lemon balm

Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) is a tea and herbal supplement that is said to relieve anxiety and calm the nerves. It may be seen in supplements that also include valerian. While one study found it to be helpful, reviews of studies have not found any evidence for lemon balm or other herbal "sleep formula" supplements.

Traditional Chinese medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia often stems from kidney energy weakness. This syndrome is not necessarily related to kidney disease in Western medicine. A few signs of kidney energy weakness are a low backache, tiredness and fatigue, and a burst of energy at about 11 pm in the evening. Women in menopause often experience this type of insomnia.

People who are taking anti-estrogenic drugs such as tamoxifen also experience this type of insomnia, however, they should not take herbal combinations such as the herbal formula liu wei di huang that may increase estrogen levels.

Ayurveda

In Ayurvedic medicine, insomnia is often associated with a vata imbalance. Vata regulates breathing and circulation. People with a vata imbalance often notice irritability, anxiety, and fear with insomnia. One Ayurvedic treatment is the application of oil on the head and feet. For the pitta type, room temperature coconut oil is used, for the vata type, warm sesame oil is applied, and for the kapha type, warm mustard oil is often applied.

Chamomile tea

Clinical trials have not proven chamomile to be helpful for insomnia. Chamomile is an herb traditionally used to reduce muscle tension, soothe digestion, and reduce anxiety, which may help induce sleep. Sip a cup of hot chamomile tea after dinner, but don't drink it too close to the bed or you may have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Hops, passionflower, and ashwagandha are other herbs that are often used for insomnia. As with chamomile, they have not proven their effectiveness in studies.

Other natural remedies

For hot flashes, a thin, flat foam pillow insert, called a Chillow, can help to cool the head throughout the night.

Gentle, slow music is another remedy that can help to improve sleep. Music therapy has been found to improve sleep quality, decrease nightly awakenings, lengthen sleep time, and increase satisfaction with sleep.

Although kava is sometimes recommended for anxiety-related insomnia, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers about the potential risk of severe liver injury resulting from the use of dietary supplements containing kava.

Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep. Muscle tension and stress build in the body. Exercise can promote deep sleep that night. However, intense exercise too close to bed can increase adrenaline levels, leading to insomnia.

Improve your bedroom Feng Shui

Feng shui, which originates in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, instructs on how to arrange rooms, furniture, offices, houses, and other arrangements to maximize favorable energy flow throughout living spaces. You can use feng shui tips for your bedroom.

A word from verywell

Before starting any natural remedies, consult your doctor. Chronic insomnia can be a symptom of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes. Think of insomnia as a "wake-up call" and ensure that you get early treatment for potentially serious conditions.

 

Comments

Most Viewed
Digital Edition
More story
Editor Speaks

Editor Speaks

World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)…
WHO on HIV/AIDS

WHO on HIV/AIDS

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people's defence systems against infections and some types of cancer.…
The AIDS epidemic: Public health importance of case reports - an example

The AIDS epidemic: Public health importance of case reports - an example

December 1, is observed as World AIDS Day every year from 1988 to raise awareness and bring people together in the fight against HIV/AIDS. AIDS is the…
HIV and AIDS in Asia & the Pacific: Regional overview

HIV and AIDS in Asia & the Pacific: Regional overview

                  The Asia and Pacific region was home to an estimated 5.9 million people living with HIV…
What is thrombocytopenia?

What is thrombocytopenia?

AMBER YATES, MD Thrombocytopenia is the medical term to describe a low platelet count. Platelets are one of our blood cells and their job is to help us…
Are low-calorie sweeteners good or bad for you?

Are low-calorie sweeteners good or bad for you?

CHRISTINE LEHMAN, MA   Marquita Adams, 46 of Alexandria, VA, whips out her little bottle of Splenda Zero from her pocket and squirts it twice into…
The 2nd International Symposium on ‘Community Health Workers 2019’ concludes in Dhaka

The 2nd International Symposium on ‘Community Health Workers 2019’ concludes in Dhaka

The 2nd International Symposium on ‘Community Health Workers 2019’ concluded on November 24, 2019 at a local hotel in Dhaka. The symposium…
Smartphone 'addiction': Young people 'panicky' when denied mobiles

Smartphone 'addiction': Young people 'panicky' when denied mobiles

SEAN COUGHLAN   Almost a quarter of young people are so dependent on their smartphones that it becomes like an addiction, research by psychiatrists…
Ketamine may reduce heavy drinkers' craving

Ketamine may reduce heavy drinkers' craving

A one-off dose of ketamine may help heavy drinkers cut back on alcohol, an experimental trial by University College London suggests. When the sedative…
FDA approves Xcopri (cenobamate) for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults

FDA approves Xcopri (cenobamate) for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults

SK Biopharmaceuticals, Co., Ltd., an innovative global pharmaceutical company focused on developing and bringing treatments to market for central nervous…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting