NATURAL SLEEP AIDS
Natural Sleep Aids are used as an alternative to prescription drugs by millions of Americans that suffer deprivation of sleep.
Although it is common to have the occasional sleepless night, insomnia is the lack of sleep on a regular basis.
It is extremely important to note that like prescription sleeping aids, one must consult a physician before starting any natural sleep aid remedy. Chronic insomnia can itself be a symptom of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes, so these are the reasons that it is important to see a doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Why would you want to use natural sleep aids when there are plenty of pharmaceutical sleep aids available to fight deprivation of sleep? There are people who simply instinctively shy away from any kind of chemically based sleep aid products. However there are those who are willing to try anything just to get a good night’s sleep.
Having had many horrible nights sleep, I will never judge anyone who takes either natural sleep aids or a prescription product. To us here at deprivationofsleep.com, the main goal is to get some sleep because it is key to a healthy long life. Apart from having the piece of mind that they are not ingesting chemicals into their bodies to get some sleep, here are a few benefits that some feel they get from using natural sleep aids:
- avoid harmful addiction
- fewer worries about drug interaction
- no morning after grogginess
Some people feel that although prescription sleep aid manufacturers have worked hard in recent years to decrease the percentage of people who become addicted to their sleeping pills, there are still many people who do become dependant. Statistics show that many people develop a drug addiction in the truest sense of the phrase and/or find they are unable to go or stay asleep without popping pills. So let’s look at some common Natural sleep aids.
Not just an old wives tale, drinking warm milk to help you sleep is very effective for many people. Of course it’s not a miracle cure and the effectiveness of warm milk does vary. However, milk contains an amino acid that is converted to a sleep-enhancing compound which in turns helps one relax and this results in falling asleep. In addition, a caffeine and alcohol free beverage such as chamomile tea will also help the sufferer to relax in the evening before sleep. Here are other types of natural sleep aids:
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an herb that has been long used as a remedy for insomnia.
- Valerian is an herb sold as a dietary supplement in the United States.
- Valerian is a common ingredient in products promoted as mild sedatives and sleep aids for nervous tension and insomnia.
- Evidence from clinical studies of the efficacy of valerian in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia is inconclusive.
- Constituents of valerian have been shown to have sedative effects in animals, but there is no scientific agreement on valerian's mechanisms of action.
- Although few adverse events have been reported, long-term safety data are not available.
Melatonin is a popular remedy to help people fall asleep when the sleep/wake cycle has been disturbed; such as in shift workers or people with jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body's circadian rhythm.
- Melatonin possesses antioxidant activity and many of it’s proposed therapeutic or preventive uses are based on this property.
- New drugs that block the effects of melatonin are in development, such as BMS-214778 or luzindole and may have uses in various disorders.
Kava is an anti-anxiety herb that may be helpful for anxiety-related insomnia. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers about the potential risk of severe liver injury resulting from the use of dietary supplements containing kava.
Relaxation techniques are one of the most effective ways to increase sleep time, fall asleep faster, and feel more rested in the morning.
Although we will list the basics below, diet is a huge part of everything sleep related, so we have created separate pages on the subject that you can access by clicking here.
- Cut out caffeine. Caffeine can have a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, tea, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine.
- Avoid sweets. Although sugar can give a burst of energy, it is short-lived and can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night as blood sugar levels fall.
- Eat foods that help you sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Carbohydrate snacks such whole grain crackers before bedtime may help promote sleep.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. It has also been used for people with restless leg syndrome. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, and whole grains.
Natural sleep aids, along with "alternative remedies," are viewed by many people with skepticism. This is truly unfortunate as there are many great products out there. However, because of the influences that certain groups have on Congress, these natural sleep aids are often left to be sold by MLM companies and therefore not taken very seriously.
Some of these alternatives may be less expensive and may be easier on the body than pharmaceutical options. That's not to say that all alternative remedies are necessarily effective, are less costly than medication, or are free of side effects.
Either way, to us, all that is important is that you get some sleep. So all we want you to do is be informed before you take something whether it is natural sleep aid or pharmaceutical sleep aid.
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