Insomnia Support and Stress Management

Insomnia Support and Stress Management

1. Secrets to Sleeping Soundly

There are many reasons why people have a difficult time staying asleep. The good news is that common problems with sleep are often easily addressed without the use of medication – there are no guaranteed natural cures for insomnia, but there are effective steps you can take. Ask yourself these questions (and try the simple sleep aid recommendations) if you find yourself waking frequently in the night:

2. Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder, affecting about one-third of the adult population worldwide. Insomnia is more common in women, but quality of sleep often decreases equally in both women and men as we age.

There are a variety of factors that can cause insomnia: stress (including anxiety about not being able to sleep), extreme temperature fluctuations, environmental noise or changes, medication side effects, hormones, or disruption to the regular sleep pattern. Depression, chronic pain, a variety of health issues and sleep apnea can also contribute to insomnia. Lifestyle can also affect insomnia – studies have shown that alcohol and caffeine intake and smoking cigarettes before bedtime disrupts sleep, as can excessive napping in the afternoon or evening.

These are not guaranteed natural cures for insomnia, but each may provide relief:

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, go for a relaxing stroll, or practice meditation/relaxation exercises as part of your regular nighttime routine.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning. This includes weekends.
  • Get plenty of exercise during the day. Studies have shown people who are physically active sleep better than those who are sedentary. The more energy you expend during the day (preferable earlier in the day) the sleepier you will feel at bedtime.
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening.
  • Avoid large meals late in the evening.
  • Learn and use a relaxation technique regularly. Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are good examples.
  • Use “white noise” devices to block out surrounding environmental noise.
  • Don’t obsess about not sleeping. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that individuals who worry about falling asleep have greater trouble dropping off. It may help to remind yourself that while sleeplessness is troublesome, it isn’t life-threatening.
  • Short naps are good. Try to get into the habit of napping: ten to twenty minutes in the afternoon, preferably lying down in a darkened room.
  • Spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light. If you are concerned about harmful effects of solar radiation, do it before ten in the morning or after three in the afternoon or use sunscreen.
  • Try to give yourself some time (up to an hour)in dim light before you go to sleep at night. Lower the lighting in your house and bedroom and if other members of the household object, wear sunglasses.
  • The two best natural sleep aid treatments are valerian. Valerian is a sedative herb, used for centuries. You can find standardized extracts in our store. Take one to two capsules a half hour before bedtime. Phosphatidylserine can lower your cortisol levels at night and can help you fall asleep easier.

3. Coping with Insomnia

Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder, affecting about one-third of the adult population worldwide. Unfortunately, as we age, quality of sleep can decrease. While different types of insomnia have different causes, most people can find relief through natural remedies for insomnia, regardless of the source of their insomnia:

4. Fighting Fatigue With Insomnia Herbs

If you feel worn down or are lacking energy due to improper sleep, a hectic schedule or day-to-day stressors, learn how to fight fatigue naturally with insomnia herbs. Taking a few minutes for yourself and doing simple breathing exercises can be helpful, as can daily moderate exercise and getting adequate rest. Certain nutrients, botanicals and other compounds can also help to ward off or lessen the effects of general fatigue. Experiment with the following insomnia herbs and natural remedies for insomnia:

  • Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms of fatigue in persons with low magnesium levels.
  • Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng. Studies show that Eleuthero can help enhance mental activity as well as physical endurance.
  • Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
  • Ashwagandha, an herb prized for its ability to help the body deal with stress.
  • Cordyceps, a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels.

5. Sleep for Weight Loss

Want help achieving and maintaining a healthy weight? Aim for eight hours of sleep a night. Research suggests that appetite-regulating hormones are affected by sleep and that sleep deprivation could lead to weight gain. In two studies, people who slept five hours or less per night had higher levels of ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates hunger – and lower levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin than those who slept eight hours per night. So make sure getting adequate sleep is near the top of your optimum health checklist!

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