At some time in their life, almost everyone has suffered from insomnia. Insomnia is also something that is on the increase with tests showing that 33% of adults suffer from it nowadays. But what are the reasons for this sleep problem?
It could be caused by a too hectic lifestyle, maybe your eating habits are not the best or you could possibly suffer from bad health.
But whatever the cause there is nothing worse than either not being able to fall asleep for hours, or falling asleep easily but finding yourself awake again a while later and not being able to go back off to sleep. Often just as you manage to get back to sleep the alarm clock rings! What a way to start the day!
Your lack of sleep makes you become emotionally unbalanced and physically tired throughout the day. You become irritable with everyone and are not able to concentrate on what you have to do. And if you have a demanding lifestyle this can be an absolute catastrophe.
Insomnia that is caused by having a hectic lifestyle or insomnia caused due to bad health can possibly last for longer periods of time, perhaps even months. Or it could just last for a couple of days, or rather nights!
Not surprisingly, lying awake half the night can be detrimental to your health. You might find yourself gaining weight, looking older than you actually are and, in most severe cases, it could be the cause of serious heart problems. Insomnia is a problem that needs to be taken seriously and treated accordingly.
You have possibly unsuccessfully tried natural cures such as exercising, establishing a better daily routine for yourself and drinking less coffee. Taking a bath before going to bed and avoiding that glass of alcohol in the evening also didn’t work for you. You’re at your wit’s end – what more can you do?
Maybe you only suffer lack of sleep for short periods of time but at regular intervals. Whatever the reason for it and however long you suffer, it’s time to consider trying out herbal sleep remedies.
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Of course, prescription sleeping pills may help you sleep, but because they lose their effectiveness when used regularly, they should only be used for short periods of time. Also there are many side effects of taking them, such as drowsiness the next day and worse still, you could find yourself becoming dependent on them. The longer you take them, the less effective they become so you start taking more.
Even if you take some sleeping pills that can be bought over the counter you will possibly be faced with side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, clumsiness, blurred vision and even nausea. All not very pleasant experiences.
Herbal remedies, on the other hand, will give you the same results as prescription drugs or over the counter drugs, but without the side effects. There is also virtually no chance of you becoming addicted to them. Despite this it is not recommended you take them for longer periods of time. Normally, 4 to 6 weeks is acceptable. After that you should take a break from them.
There are many natural remedies available that you can choose from such as Valerian, Hops, Chamomile, St John’s Wort and Passionflower that could help solve your problem without causing addiction. If you are interested in more information about these herbal sleep aids, read on.
You’re probably now asking yourself which natural remedy is the right one for you. The answer to this is that the best remedy for you depends on the reason for your insomnia. First find out what the underlying causes of your sleeplessness are.
Should your problem be caused by anxiety then Valerian and Passionflower are recommendable.
Valerian has been used as a homoeopathic means of treating depression since the second century A.D. But watch out, there is a possibility that you will suffer drowsiness the next day.
Although passionflower is safe for most people, there have been a few reports of it causing slight dizziness, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat and vomiting.
Hops are another herb that has been used for treating insomnia for centuries. Combining hops with valerian will help reduce anxiety, and restlessness thus helping you to get a good night’s sleep. Should you already be taking a sedative drug, be sure to check with your health care professional as this could have an effect on the drug. It could cause too much sedation and naturally this is not good for you.
Another herb you could try using is lemon balm together with valerian. This has also been known to promote sleep by promoting calmness for hundreds of years. But you should be aware that it could cause excessive sedation if taken together with sedative drugs. When taking lemon balm you should avoid alcohol and be extra cautious when driving or operating any form of machinery.
Valerian or valerian combined with hops or lemon balm, and passionflower can be consumed in the form of a tea or taken as capsules. Valerian taken with lemon tea is also available as a tincture.
It is often the case that sleeplessness is the result of depression. If you find that you have problems sleeping because you are depressed it is recommended that you take St John’s Wort.
St John’s Wort can be taken in the form of capsules or tablets, as a tincture or drunk in the form of tea. You’ll be happy to have herbal sleeping tablets that actually work for you. But, they should only be taken short term as there is a possibility of side effects. One side effect is that it could affect your eyes if you take it long term. There is the chance of you becoming extra sensitive to sunlight. This is a side effect you can do without.
Should your insomnia be caused by an active mind then chamomile can help relax you as it is a mild tranquilizer. It has been used for centuries as a homoeopathic soothing aid. It can be drunk in the form of tea or taken as a pill. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that there is no fear of you becoming addicted. A couple of enjoyable cups of chamomile tea drunk throughout the day can have a positive effect on your sleep pattern. Just be careful, if you drink a cup just before going to bed, the chances are that you’ll wake in the night as you’ll need to use the bathroom! Make sure you drink that last cup at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
If you’re looking for aromatherapy as a remedy then lavender has been known to help if you have sleep issues. This is mostly used in the form of oil. By sprinkling a few drops of oil on your pillow before going to bed, it can help slow your heartbeat and relax your muscles. As an aromatherapy, it is relaxing and apart from possible allergies there are no side effects.
But that’s not all, as lavender can also be drunk in the form of tea. It helps relieve stress, which in turn helps you have a restful sleep. Just make sure that you drink it about half an hour before going to bed.
Once you’ve come to terms with the reasons for your insomnia you’ll be able to assess which treatment you think would be suitable for you. Then it’s up to you to try out which one you think best suits your needs.
Don’t give up too soon if it doesn’t work immediately. All good things take time! And don’t forget, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. If you find there are no satisfactory results after a couple of weeks of taking a herbal remedy for sleep, then try another until you find the right one that works for you.
While herbal remedies are safe for most people, it is always better to check with your doctor before using any. There is always a chance that you are allergic to some plants that are known to be of help to people who suffer from lack of sleep. An allergic reaction on top of sleeplessness is not something you want to have to contend with.
Also if you regularly take any kind of medication, you should check with your doctor first to be sure that the herb is compatible to the medication. You shouldn’t take any risks when taking regular medication.
As clinical testing is not complete for all remedies, it is advisable that pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding consult a doctor before they try any.
Although you can be sure that these aids are not habit forming they should only be taken short term. Using for between 4 to 6 weeks is regarded as being generally safe. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Herbal remedies for sleep can be very effective, but you need to have a little patience. Valerian, for example is known to take up to three weeks before you see any effects. Saying that, it has been used for hundreds of years to treat anxiety and depression, which are often the underlying causes of sleep problems. It wouldn’t have been used for this length of time if it weren’t effective.
Passionflower, on the other hand, helps suppress the nervous system and is often taken combined with lemon balm, valerian root, lavender, chamomile or St John’s Wort. It can be enjoyed as a tea or taken as a capsule. As it is non-addictive it is also often used to treat children who can drink it as a tea.
Hops and St John’s Wort are also remedies that have been used for centuries in the treatment of insomnia that is caused by anxiety or depression.
Lemon balm is an aid that is commonly used as a sedative in the form of tea and Lavender can be drunk as tea or used as an aromatherapy.
Considering all of these remedies have been used practically since the beginning of time, you can be sure that they are effective. They would no longer be used today if they didn’t work.
But beware, you should read the product guidelines carefully before usage and be sure to only take the recommended dosage. Also consult your medical doctor beforehand.
You should be aware that the FDA only regulates herbal aids under the category of dietary supplements. This means that the product has to reach a certain standard and the FDA can remove any product they deem to be dangerous. But FDA approval is not necessary before a company brings the product onto the market.
For this reason it is important that you are aware of any possible side effects and of the potential benefits of the product before purchasing.
There is a risk factor when taking such products in combination with prescription medications. The result could even be life threatening, so be sure to consult your doctor beforehand.
So don’t forget – FDA regulations only ensure that manufacturing standards are adhered to, there is no guarantee that the product is effective or even safe.
There are various herbal remedies that have been used for centuries that you can take to help you sleep. Which one you choose will depend on the cause of your insomnia. Whether you choose valerian, hops, chamomile, St John’s Wort or passionflower remedies, be sure to read the product description carefully so that you are aware of any potential side effects before use and only take the manufacturer’s recommended dose.
But one word of caution before you take anything. If you are taking prescription medication regularly, are pregnant or even breastfeeding, it is important that you consult your medical doctor to ensure that there won’t be any further problems.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!