Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. Seven or eight hours are an optimum that should be achieved every night. However, the many factors can interfere with normal sleep patterns, like stress, anxiety, extreme exhaustion, depression, tension and several mental and physical conditions and diseases. Some people use prescription medications to overcome insomnia, but there are also more natural ways to fall asleep.
Insomnia and diet
Everyone knows that caffeine causes insomnia. However, some people are particularly sensitive and even one cup of coffee in the morning can interfere with normal sleep in the night. Therefore, all beverages containing caffeine, like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even coffee-flavored products like ice cream, cakes and yogurt, should be avoided. Alcohol can cause insomnia too.
Maintaining normal sugar levels is also important. Nighttime drops in sugar can cause waking up. Instability in blood sugar levels can be caused by too much refined sugars and carbohydrates. It helps to have a bowl of whole grain cereals or whole wheat toast 30 minutes before bedtime.
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is important for strong, healthy nerves, and its deficiency can cause inability to relax and sleep. Foods rich in this vitamin are whole grains, pulses and nuts.
Home remedies for insomnia
It may sound surprising, but lettuce can be of great help for people who suffer from insomnia. It contains a substance called lectucarium, which has sleep-inducing properties. It can be used as juice or as a concoction made of seeds.
Milk is a traditional remedy for insomnia. A cup of warm milk, especially if sweetened with some honey, should be taken every night before bedtime to assure a good and peaceful sleep. Honey taken alone or with some water helps too, especially in babies.
Curd can be useful too. People who suffer from insomnia can massage curd all over the forehead before going to bed.
Herbal remedies for insomnia
Various herbs have been known for centuries for their ability to induce sleep. Some of them are rather mild and are used even in people who do not regularly suffer from insomnia, while others can be quite strong with a powerful sedative effect.
Some of the mild herbs for insomnia include California poppy, lemon balm, and passionflower. They should be prepared as herbal tea, with boiling water.
More powerful herbs hops, kava and valerian. Hops are used as an herbal tea, but they should be avoided by persons who suffer or are prone to depression.
Kava has a rather unpleasant taste so it is usually used in form of extract. Valerian can also be very pungent so many people take it in capsules.
Valerian can, in some people, cause agitation instead of sedation.