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Natural Remedies for Treating Insomnia

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, around one in three people have at least mild insomnia. That means an astonishing 2.56 billion people are going without sufficient sleep each night.

Getting inadequate sleep can lead to increased risk for many diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even depression. It’s not surprising that most adults aren’t getting enough sleep, but why is sleep so hard to come by?

How much sleep is enough?

Everyone is different, and that holds true for how much sleep we need to feel well rested each night. While the rare person can get by with only 3 hours of sleep, most of us need 7-9 hours to survive our jobs the next day.

With work, family, and financial stress, it’s no wonder people are having a hard time falling asleep. In fact, most adults only average 6 hours of shut-eye each night. People often turn towards prescription medicine to fall asleep, but we suggest trying natural techniques first.

According to a study done in 2012, prescription sleep pills may be associated with over 500,000 deaths per year. That’s why it’s important to always maintain good sleep hygiene.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is effectively developing your sleeping habits in a way that prepares you to fall asleep.

  • You should stick to the same schedule each day so your body can maintain its own natural sleeping rhythm.
  • Engage in relaxing pre-bed activities. Take a bath or hot shower, use essential oils, play some soft music, or whatever else helps you wind down at the end of the day.
  • Don’t use electronics within an hour before bedtime. You may want to try reading a book or keeping the lights dim at night, so your body produces melatonin.
  • Save the bedroom for all activities pertinent to sleep. Never watch TV, read, or use phone apps in the bed. And if having sex energizes you, reserve this for earlier in the day so you can fall asleep faster.

What are some natural supplements for sleep?

There are many natural supplements available on the market that aren’t habit-forming. Try each supplement one at a time to see what works best for you.

1. Cherry Juice/Melatonin

Believe it or not, cherry juice can actually help you fall asleep. It’s naturally high in melatonin, a chemical made by the body to regulate wakefulness. It’s very safe, and only poses problems for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes because of the sugar content.

You can also try more concentrated melatonin as well. These supplements are sold most at the pharmacy or grocery stores. Melatonin is non-addictive and uses your own body’s hormones to regulate sleep.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. If you have restless leg syndrome and it keeps you up at night, magnesium helps calm your muscles. Magnesium also increases the bioavailability of melatonin. 300mg of magnesium a day is recommended for most people.

3. Valerian Root

Valerian is an herbal remedy that many people find helpful for falling asleep. It’s a mild sedative without any addictive properties. It can even resolve problems related to stress, anxiety, and depression because of its profoundly calming effect.

Sleepless nights may have been getting you down, but they don’t have too any longer. Simply practicing good sleep hygiene and introducing natural supplements into your life can have an enormous impact on your quality of sleep.

It’s always better to try natural solutions before jumping into substances that can harm your body. We suggest trying one or a combination of the techniques mentioned in this article so you can finally have a good night’s sleep.




10 Things Insomnia Can Tell You About Your Health

 

By Power Of Positivity

Insomnia, or the lack of sleep, may lead to medical and psychiatric conditions. In some cases, it is these medical and mental issues that actually cause sleep problems. But whether insomnia is the cause or the effect, difficulty sleeping is definitely a sign that something is wrong with your health.

The National Sleep Foundation says that it’s always a good idea to have a general check-up with a health care provider if you have trouble getting regular sleep. It is important to determine if you have underlying health issues or sleep disorders because insomnia can affect the quality of your life.

 

Here Are 10 Things That Insomnia Can Tell About Your Health

1.    Your thyroid is overactive

You have a condition called hyperthyroidism if you have an overactive thyroid. This occurs when there’s more production of a hormone called thyroxine in the thyroid gland.

When you have hyperthyroidism, you could experience symptoms that seem to mimic other health conditions. Thus, it’s not always easy for doctors to catch the problem. Aside from insomnia, you may also experience the following symptoms of hyperthyroidism:

  • Change in appetite
  • Frequent bowel movement or diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Light menstruation and missed periods – for women
  • Fertility issues
  • Unusual sweating
  • Vision changes
  • Frequent dizziness
  • Hives and itching
  • Weight loss
  • Oversensitivity to heat
  • Swelling of the neck base

If your weight loss is sudden and you have two or more of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for an assessment. Don’t forget to describe the changes you’ve noticed in your body to the doctor so that you can get the right diagnosis.

2.    You’re having anxiety issues

What may be keeping you up at night are your concerns in life. Have you been going through something lately that’s causing a great deal of anxiety? Experts say that your mind can’t rest if you’re always anxious. If your mind cannot rest then you’re likely to sleep lightly and develop insomnia.

But the problem is that your sleeping brain cannot distinguish what’s happening compared to your waking brain. The neurotransmitters that send the signals in your brain won’t be able to cope with the threats that anxiety causes in your sleep. So, even if you think you’re making it through day by day with little or light sleep, it will eventually take its toll.

You have to see a therapist as soon as possible in order to sort out your anxiety issues. You have to find positive coping mechanisms that help calm your mind when you’re going to bed. For some people, these coping tools may include meditation, light exercises, and other soothing activities.

3.    You’re physically stressed out

Just like mental stress or anxiety, physical stress may also lead to light sleeping. This is because your body’s temperature, heart rate, and adrenaline are higher, which affects your ability to engage in deep sleep, also known as REM sleep. REM sleep takes 25 percent of your sleep cycle. Its main functions are:

  • To store your brain’s long-term memories
  • To aid in your learning
  • To stabilize, enhance, and balance your mood

You lose the benefits of having deep sleep if your body can’t complete the REM phase of your sleep cycle. So, you wake up feeling more groggy and tired because your body didn’t actually get a good rest.

Thus, creating a relaxing routine for bedtime may help regulate your sleep cycle. You must also avoid doing heavy physical workouts two hours before you go to bed.

4.    You’re experiencing acid reflux

You won’t get a good night’s sleep no matter what you do if you’re suffering from acid reflux or heartburn. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract can influence the quality of sleep because the acid contents from the stomach may rise back when you’re lying down the bed, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

You’re standing or sitting during the daytime so acid reflux won’t have much impact. When you’re reclining, however, the stomach acid can’t be pushed down to your stomach so you end up having interrupted sleep with a burning sensation in your chest and a sour taste in your throat. It’s an unpleasant feeling, to say the least.

There are over-the-counter medications to take care of this problem. You should see a doctor right away for the proper diagnosis or treatment. Apparently, 60 percent of patients with gastro issues suffer from sleep problems.

5.    You’re having hunger pangs

Your bouts of insomnia might be related to your eating habits. If you have an irregular dinner schedule and you suddenly ate earlier, say between 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., then by 2 a.m. your brain triggers your body to demand fuel or food.

You get these hunger pangs because of a hormonal imbalance. This, once again, highlights the importance of having a routine so that you can be assured of a good rest. Try as much as possible not to mess with your dinner times so that it won’t also ruin your sleep cycle.

6.    You’re drinking too much coffee throughout the day

Do you know that coffee takes an average of eight to 10 hours to be completely eliminated in the body? If you drink a cup or two early in the day, at least 75 percent of it will be gone by the time you go home for dinner.

But if you drink coffee in the afternoon or less than six hours before you go to bed, then you may have problems getting decent sleep at night. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can impede your sleep routine.

Ironically, if you’re trying to cut down on the coffee drinking, you might also experience insomnia since your body will go through withdrawal as an automatic response. You may also experience increased heart rate, headaches, and jitters that could impact your sleeping patterns.

But be patient as you get through the withdrawal stage. It’s much more positive to restore your sleep quality than continue to suffer from the effects of insomnia.

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