Lack of sleep for a long time is known as insomnia. There is no one who hadn’t had at least one sleepless night during their life, but some people battle with chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep may be caused by many different things, including both physical and physiological factors. Talking about physiological, certain conditions may be associated with insomnia, including: diabetes, depression, heart or lung diseases and menopause and hot flashes during that period of life. Sleep apnea is another possible reason that might be responsible for sleeping problems. To be sure why you can’t sleep, visit your doctor.
Natural Remedies for Insomnia
However, there are numerous natural remedies you may want to try out. Some of the most commonly recommended by naturopaths are herbal remedies: valerian, kava or lavender and melatonin. Many people dealing with insomnia found out that changes in the diet and relaxation techniques might also be of great help.
Valerian (also known as Valeriana officinalis, in Latin) is in use as over the counter (OTC) insomnia remedy throughout the Europe for a very long time. Scientists still don’t know exactly how valerian affects the sleep, but they theorize that it might be associated with effect on the neurotransmitter (GABA, gamma amino butyric acid) in the brain. This course of action is actually very similar to mechanism of action of some sleeping medication.
Valerian is usually recommended to be taken an hour before sleeping time and most people see the first effects after 2 or 3 weeks. This remedy doesn’t work for every person and even if it works, it is not advisable to use longer than 3 months in a row. Valerian is known to cause adverse effects such as headache, indigestion, dizziness or palpitations and some people find its smell unpleasant. These patients may use valerian capsules instead the herbal tea or liquid extract. This remedy may interact with some medications and therefore shouldn’t be used with: antihistamines or sedatives. People with liver problems or those who are going to have or just had surgery should avoid valerian. Don’t use valerian if you are about to drive or operate some machinery.
Kava and Lavender
Kava is discovered to help people who experience troubles with insomnia due to anxiety. This remedy may cause serious liver injuries and should be used with caution.
Lavender, as the part of aromatherapy, is an ancient remedy for good sleep. Women are more likely to respond to lavender because their sense of smell is more sensitive than in men. Place a lavender sachet under the pillow, drop few drops of lavender oil to handkerchief or to your bath and you should sleep like a baby.
One of popular remedies these days is melatonin, especially among people who have jet lag or work in shifts. This is naturally occurring hormone, made in the body at night. Melatonin should be used some 30 minutes before bedtime, but it should be avoided in people suffering from serious illnesses like depression, autoimmune disease or schizophrenia.
Diet and Relaxation
Proper diet is also helpful for good night sleep. Try to cut out your caffeine, avoid sweets and eat food which will help you sleep, such as food containing tryptophan or magnesium.
Visualization, transcendental meditation, mindfulness, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation may all help you sleep better.