Beat Insomnia Naturally

Insomnia is a sleep disorder or an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. Insomnia can be short term that lasts up to three weeks or long term lasting above 3 to 4 weeks, which can cause memory problems, depression, bad temper and an augmented risk of heart disease and accidents. More than half population of the United States suffers from some type of sleep disorder. Whether it is sleep apnea, narcolepsy or delayed sleep syndrome. With insomnia touching the proportions of epidemic, countless people are unwell and exhausted of being tired, with the majority of people ready to try anything for just a few hours of good sleep.

Sleep gives the body duration of break to heal and restore to health. While one is sleeping, body systems are functioning hard to reclaim balance, repair broken links and protect against illness and disease. A body without rest or sleep shortly becomes unable to deal with exposure to daily germs, toxins and strain. Eventually, an exhausted body becomes a very ill body. Insomnia pose a very grave danger to one`s health and the health consequences include elevated cortisol and lessened human growth hormone (HGH). High cortisol stimulates high insulin and fat storage and eventually leads to insulin resistant diabetes and obesity. Elevated cortisol & lowered HGH levels build an inflammatory surge that deteriorates joints, tissues, and organs.

Insomnia can be categorized as transient, acute, or chronic. Transient insomnia lasts for less than a week and can be due to another disorder, by change in the sleeping environment or timing of sleep, severe depression or by stress. Acute insomnia is the inability to sleep well consistently for a period of less than a month. This insomnia occurs when there is trouble in instigating or sustaining sleep or when the sleep obtained is non-refreshing or of poor quality. Acute insomnia is known as short term insomnia or stress related insomnia. Chronic insomnia persists for more than a month. It can be caused by another disorder, or it can be a key disorder. People with high stress hormones levels or swings in the levels of cytokines have more probability to suffer chronic insomnia. Its effects can differ according to its causes and include muscular fatigue, mental fatigue or hallucinations.

Chronic insomnia speeds up the aging process all over the body which further speeds up the development of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson`s, Alzheimer`s, and osteoarthritis. High cortisol and lowered HGH will also cause skin wrinkling, hair loss, muscle loss  and poor vision. Getting a good night sleep daily is one of the best ways to prevent and/or reverse disease conditions. The recommended sleeping hours are 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Whilst the medicinal industry has offered solution to America’s sleep crisis by manufacturing host of sleep medications, there are other ways to encourage rest and persuade the body to recover its regular pace. Use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence or addiction if used regularly for an extended period. People are increasingly anxious of the side effects of chemical sleep-aids and thus are turning to natural therapies for help.

If you have been using alcohol, drugs or sleep medications make sure that you get at least 3 days off from work to get back into sober wholesome sleep state without their use. Remember that your body will take a few days to adjust so proper management is essential in this crucial stage. Even if you do not get enough sleep the first night you will still get some good sleep without the hangover of the alcohol, drugs or sleep medications. Therefore, do not lapse and do not use any caffeine, soft drinks or energy drinks throughout the next day and stick to the information below to promote sleep.

Here are some tips that can help you sleep through the night:
- Try to maintain a regular, routine sleep/wake schedule.
- Avoid taking daytime naps.
- Start your sleep ritual an hour or two ahead of time by avoiding all stimulants before you go to bed. That means dimming out the lights, not taking caffeine, sugar, or carbohydrates during evening, alcohol, smoking, watching TV, working out, doing anything online, indulging in stimulating conversations or arguing with someone.
- Keep a notepad next to your bed, so you can write down whatever pops into your mind when you’re trying to sleep. You can worry about those things tomorrow.
- Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible.
- Let go of anxiety about going to sleep, and of worrisome thoughts. If you’re feeling especially stressed, try a warm bath before bed and a cup of hot milk.
- If you still can not sleep do something relaxing, such as light reading. Then go back to bed once you feel sleepy. This way you won't associate your bed with your inability to sleep.

Exercise and Insomnia
Exercise can promote deep sleep & lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep. However, intense exercise too close to bed can increase adrenaline levels, leading to insomnia.

Diet for Insomnia
Magnesium regulates almost all processes in the body and deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping. It has also been used for people with restless leg syndrome because of its natural sedative properties. To know more about health benefits of Magnesium and its food sources, please click here.

Supplements for Insomnia

Melatonin - Melatonin is a hormone created naturally in the body at night when exposure to light decreases, indicating the mind to fall asleep.

5-HTP - 5-hydroxytryptophan, this substance is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. It is a precursor to serotonin which is an important neurotransmitter for happiness and to regulate sleep. To know more about this supplement, please click here.

GABA - Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter involved in inhibition and stress relief. Low GABA levels have been linked to depression , insomnia and anxiety.

L-Glutamine - It is a natural amino acid in your body which helps in releiving insomnia, anxiety, and to improve mood.

L-Theanine - It is an amino acid and is naturally found in green tea and has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect on the mind. Purchase green tea that is decaffeinated or supplement L-Theanine.

Herbal Remedies for Insomnia 

Valerian - Valerian is one of the most frequently used sleep remedies for insomnia. Studies have established that valerian promotes deep sleep, improves speed of falling asleep and overall quality of sleep. Valerian root capsules can be taken prior to bedtime. The herb also lowers the chances of awakening at night.

Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha's ability to calm the nervous system and balance hormones can have a natural sedating affect, which leads to restful and rejuvenating sleep.  Further, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can regulate cortisol levels, both of which also promote sleep. It is often consumed as a tea, but is also available in capsules.

Chamomile - Drinking a cup or two of chamomile tea before bedtime or massaging chamomile oil into the temples, arms and legs also proves to be beneficial. One can also breathe in the aroma to boost the herb's relaxation effects. Chamomile is a mild sedative and is excellent for those who are sensitive, restless and irritable, thereby making it a superb herb for finicky children. Chamomile's faintly sweet flowers also aid in soothing digestion and are mild sedatives.

Passion Flower – Drink passion flower tea to reduce mental anxiety as passion flower is a mild sedative. The herb is normally sold in over-the-counter sedatives in England. Passion flower is used for depressive states such as hysteria, general nervous agitation, insomnia and nervous gastrointestinal complaints. To prepare a tea, steep 1 teaspoon in hot water for 10 minutes and consume two to three times a day, then again a half hour before bed.

St. Johns Wort - Herbal supplement of St. John's Wort is great to treat chronic insomnia as well as depression. Keep away from direct sunlight when taking the medication and the usual dosage is 300 mg two to three times a day.

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan - This herb is for kidney energy weakness, which is thought be the cause of insomnia in traditional Chinese medicine affecting peri-menopausal women and the elderly. The herb is used to help people sleep more deeply and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

Yoga and Insomnia

A Harvard study found that daily yoga for eight weeks improved total sleep time, the time to fall asleep. To know more about yoga poses for Insomnia and Depression, please click here.

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