POPULAR HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR SLEEP

Let’s look at some over-the-counter supplements that many people believe help with insomnia. Before taking any supplement, please be sure to check with your doctor.

Melatonin is believed to be able to help insomnia without altering the individual’s sleep pattern, unlike many prescription drugs.  Not addictive.

Valerian, like Melatonin, falls under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 while allows “medicines” such as this one to bypass the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Derived from the roots of the Valerian plant, this herbal medicine is used for a variety of purposes, one of which is treating sleep disorders. Some people find it to work well, especially when used over a period of time. Like Melatonin, the risks of using Valerian are not fully known.

Many experts believe both of these products are fairly harmless and do help many individuals with anxiety and sleep disorders. However, there are several adverse side effects that Valerian has been known to cause some people. Valerian is also not to be used at the same time as other depressants, such as alcohol. If you are using herbal supplements, make sure you do the research and understand the risks involved.

Remember Kava-kava? The popular anti-anxiety herbal pill was pulled from store shelves a few years ago when there was a proven link found between Kava and liver damage. Kava was also found to have documented adverse interactions with several prescription and non-prescription drugs. Kava is an excellent example of why we want to weed ourselves off of all types of unnecessary, unregulated supplements. With no FDA oversight, we simply don’t know the possible risks. This is why we want to learn to sleep great without the help of any aids.

Want to Know About Causes Of Insomnia?

by Cindy Heller

In broad terms, insomnia refers to difficulty experienced in falling asleep or maintaining restoring/refreshing sleep. It is a topic of great debate whether insomnia is a symptom or disorder. Whether disorder or symptom, different kinds of insomnia have been recognized and are described here.

Kinds of Insomnia

Sleep Onset Insomnia is also called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome because the patient delays the major sleep episode and this delay causes sleeplessness and difficulty in getting up at the desired time. Psycho-Physiological Insomnia is caused due to anxiety or psychological problem which creates physical symptoms and prevents sleep. In Idiopathic type of insomnia, the nervous system becomes incapable of controlling the sleeping and waking mechanism of the body. The result is a lifelong failure to get proper sleep. It usually starts in early childhood.

Childhood insomnia in children is of two types- Limit- Setting Sleep Disorder and Sleep-Onset Association Disorder. Altitude Insomnia is an acute version of insomnia, short-lived but intense, accompanied by symptoms of headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, all occurring when you move to high altitudes. Insomnia that results as an allergic response to certain foods is called Food Allergy Insomnia. Toxin-Induced Sleep Disorder is insomnia caused due to poisoning with toxins like heavy metals or certain organic compounds. Environmental Insomnia is sleep difficulty caused by the presence of certain environmental factors in the surrounding e.g. noise, smell, smoke etc. Stimulant-Dependent Sleep Disorder is insomnia resulting from using substances (drugs for example) that stimulate the nervous system. The person becomes addicted to their use and fails to get sleep when abstinence from the drug is practiced.

Alcohol and Insomnia

Many people believe that alcohol and insomnia are not related since alcohol actually puts a person to sleep when it is consumed in excess. Yes, it is true that initially a person who consumes large amounts of alcoholic drinks would fall asleep or pass out as it is popularly known. However, if such binges are happening often enough, the effect will be drastically reversed and the person is bound to have a very fitful sleep. People who suffer from diseases such as blood pressure, indigestion and gastric or kidney or heart problems, and the like are prone to develop insomnia if alcohol is introduced in the diet on a regular basis. It would be good to stay away from alcoholic beverages at least 3-4 hours before bedtime

Anxiety and Insomnia

Anxiety and insomnia have been found as causally related in people who remain excessively worried about some problem or coming event. While sleeplessness on account of mild anxiety for a couple of nights is normal in many cases, prolonged sleeplessness accompanied by constant worrying is clearly a case related to the causal relation between anxiety and insomnia. Anxiety is not a single disorder but a group of psychological disorders called Anxiety Disorders. These include generalized anxiety, panic and phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Different approaches treat anxiety and related insomnia differently. These include psychological counseling, psychotherapy, prescribed medication, nutritional treatment, herbal formulas, and alternative treatments like acupuncture.

Stress Related Insomnia

There are so many people all over the world who are so stressed out during the day that they find it almost impossible to sleep at night. If you are one of those people who have been losing sleep because of stress, you should try to find some solutions to your stress and insomnia problems. Studies show that stress and insomnia are so closely related that when one is present, the other is more likely to follow. For instance, if you have some emotional problems that have been bugging you for sometime, you will find it difficult to take your mind off of your problem. There are many prescription drugs that can help you with your stress and insomnia problem. There are many natural cures for treating stress related insomnia. Most cases of stress related insomnia can be cured by simply taking a break from your daily routine. Taking a walk in the park and breathing some fresh air can help you relax and calm your nerves.

Depression and Insomnia

Depression and insomnia seem to feed off on one another. A person becomes depressed and cannot stop worrying, living in fear, or having anxiety attacks. This does not end when the day does, and the night only continues the barrage of voices that carry over from the day. Insomnia then sets in, and the physical strain on the body weakens the mind and body further until depression sets in again. Relief comes when one identifies the source of the insomnia, whether it is clinical depression or something altogether different. Counseling may prove to be quite helpful in dealing with cases of depression and anxiety. It is important to know that options are available in the form or medications, herbs and supplements in order to help someone suffering from depression and insomnia.

Depression Anxiety Insomnia

One of the most common causes for sleeping disorders is depression and anxiety. In most cases, depression anxiety and insomnia would go hand in hand that people often find themselves dealing with two types of disorders at the same time. According to experts, depression anxiety and insomnia usually go together because the more stressed out and disturbed the person, the more he or she will find it difficult to sleep at night. There are so many people who experience depression anxiety and insomnia for a long period of time simply because they refuse to admit the real cause of their problems. If you really want to help yourself cope with depression anxiety and insomnia, learn to be honest with yourself.

Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit insomnia solution to learn more about herbal treatment for insomnia and other insomnia home remedies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cindy_Heller

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How to get the Perfect Sleep You’ve Always Wanted

by Charlotte Hunter

There are times when getting yourself to dreamland becomes difficult. Instead of getting some rest, the tossing and turning at night wears you out. Do yourself a favor and stop counting how many of Mary’s sheep can jump over a fence and learn from the guidelines below to achieve a sleeping state that even Sleeping Beauty would envy.

Watch your Diet. It is true that eating, especially foods high on carbohydrates, increases our blood sugar, making us sluggish just a few hours after eating. Nevertheless, eating few minutes before your bedtime makes you awake so be sure not to eat anything that’s high on sugar and carbs few minutes before hitting the sack.

Take a Physical Activity. Jogging, dancing or even floor exercises are surefire ways to de-stress your body helping you to get a good night sleep. But be wary not to do this physical activities a few minutes before you get a snooze as they cause the blood in the body to circulate more thus making you stay awake and alert.

Do Something Else. If it’s already thirty minutes and you still keep on tossing and turning in your bed, don’t force yourself to get that Zzzsss. Get up and walk around the house, watch TV or read a book until your eyes get tired. If you want, you can even turn on the radio or your MP3 player and listen till you fall asleep. Some people like it when they hear something while waiting to snooze whereas others hate to hear any kind of sounds before sleeping.

Find the Perfect Position. Finding the perfect position and spot in your bed is the best way to fall asleep. This differs in every person. Some like it lying down face flat. Some can’t sleep without a pillow to cover their face while others can’t doze off without a pillow to hug. It all depends on the person and it’s up to you to find the position that suits you.

Clear Your Mind. Before going to dreamland, clear your mind first of the excess baggage. You might be worrying for your term paper due the next day but staying up late at night worrying about it doesn’t help a bit. Sleeping is a time to relax your worn out body and mind so vacate that thing between your ears and have a good night sleep.

Follow a Routine. If you feel that taking an afternoon nap messes up your sleeping pattern then cut off with the siestas. A 15-20 minutes power nap in the afternoon is just enough but anything more than that especially in the late afternoon is a big no no if you want to sleep early in the evening. If you go to bed at 10:00 pm and wakes up at 8:00pm, then follow that routine everyday. Trust me, you’ll never have to endure again another sleepless nights once you have instilled this sleeping patterns in your clock. Because as soon as the clock strikes ten, your body and mind will automatically shut down readying you for another sleep fest.

Charlotte Hunter operates the SelfHelpWarrior website community for people who wish to improve all aspects of their lives. We have many free ebooks, reports, articles and special offers to help improve self esteem and self confidence.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Charlotte_Hunter

Pillows That Help Sleep Apnea

by Carl Ringwall

Sleep apnea pillows are specially designed for better sleep. Sometimes called SONA or CPAP pillows, they have a unique wedge-shaped, cradling design that holds your head and neck in the correct alignment and allows you to sleep with our airway open.

Sleep apnea is a severe snoring condition – it can be dangerous to your health if not treated. When you have apnea, you stop breathing for small durations while you sleep. Moderate to severe sufferers often never get REM sleep – the kind that is most critical.

If you are waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air, you need to see a doctor, as you likely have severe sleep apnea. This oxygen deprivation harms your internal organs, particularly your heart. Now if you have a mild case of snoring, you can usually help by using a specially pillow made of contour foam.

These pillows are very comfortable and while they hold your neck in the correct alignment to minimize snoring, they also make sleeping on your side more comfortable. You can really give yourself some snore relief by becoming a side sleeper.

Good anti-snoring pillows are hypoallergenic and are designed to blend in with your regular bedding. The better pillows have a top that is quilted and comfortable while the foam core works to hold your head in the correct position. Some are even FDA-approved as a snoring reduction aid.

Your sleep apnea is not going to go away on its own. You can try to lose some weight and that might help, but really you are going to have to something about this condition. Ignoring it will cause long-term health problems in the future.

While bands, sprays and CPAP machines are all solutions for sleep apnea, they can be restricting and uncomfortable. A sleep study by a clinician can cost a considerable sum, and the CPAP machines are very expensive. But if you have severe apnea, you may have no choice – your health is too important to neglect this.

One easy way to start is to get a good snore pillow and try it out. It’s a small investment and even if you end up having to get a CPAP machine, the pillow will help by keeping your head aligned properly.

Understand that sleep apnea is not just a nuisance – it’s a sleep disorder; a serious medical problem that needs your attention. You will feel so much better after you begin to sleep more soundly during the night – you will have more energy, be more alert and will just feel much better overall.

Stop procrastinating and do something about your snoring and sleep apnea – it will be a great investment in better health that will last a lifetime.

The 5 Stages of Sleep

by Jimmy Law

Did you know that when we sleep, we go through 5 different stages? The experience differs with each individual stage. Knowing these stages will help you maximize the energy you gain from your daily dose of sleep or naps.

In the first stage of sleep, we all have consciously experience it before. Try to recall the times when we fell asleep during long hours of lectures, or when your mind wanders off and you find yourself day-dreaming. It really feels good being in this stage, our mind and body are in the state of relaxation. This stage is merely the doorway to our sleep.

During the second stage of sleep, our mind is trying to shut itself down. At this point, the slightest disturbance in our environment would wake us. Once awaken from this stage of sleep, you’ll swear that you’ve been awake all this time, when in fact you’ve actually fallen asleep.

Once we’re in the third and fourth stages of sleep, we can officially declare that we are truly asleep. These stages are called deep sleep. During deep sleep, the activity of our mind and physical body are at the lowest point of the day. Our muscles and organs are nourished and replenished during this stage. The lack of these stages would cause us to feel tired once we’ve awaken from our sleep.

The fifth stage of sleep is called Rapid Eye Movement, or simply REM sleep. As the name suggests, our eyes move rapidly during this stage. The dreams we’ve experience during our sleep occurs at this stage.

Understanding these stages in our sleep helps us to gain more quality sleep.

Jimmy Law writes on a wide range of topics. Some of his favorite subjects include teething and vomiting and baby teething symptoms.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jimmy_Law

7 Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep

By Deann Barrow

Many people have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, and are always looking for ways to solve this problem. With over 40 million Americans suffering from insomnia, the treatments and remedies are endless. However, not all insomnia therapies work for everybody. Below are 6 tips that may help you to get the sleep you need.

Set and maintain a consistent bedtime routine. By doing this, you will train your mind and body for sleep at the same time every night. Studies have shown that people who suffer from insomnia and regulate their waking and bedtimes, were able to conquer their inability to fall asleep. Making other changes such as, avoiding naps during the day and only using your bedroom to retire to, also helps.

Why keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature? Keeping your bedroom cool can trick your body into thinking it’s time for sleep. When you go to sleep, your body’s temperature drops. If the room’s thermostat has already been lowered, your body will be pushed toward wanting to sleep that much sooner. Sleep experts recommend this room temperature be between 65 and 72 degrees, depending on what’s comfortable for you.

Get help for Acid Reflex or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disorder). GERD is stomach acid backing up into the esophagus, which causes heartburn and pain. Acid reflux normally comes from eating certain types of food, excessive eating and drinking. It disturbs sleep because lying down is when it’s the worst. For this condition, if its severe enough that your sleep is affected, you should see a physician to be tested and treated with the proper medication In fact, some doctors will screen for it when a patient comes to them with complaints of insomnia.

Going to bed hungry makes a sound sleep nearly impossible. You will be constantly aware of your hunger. Have a snack containing the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan can be found in foods such as, lean turkey, poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs. Foods rich in tryptophan induces drowsiness.

Consider having your pets sleep in an area separate from your bedroom. Having a pet in bed with you, may cause you to wake if your pet moves around a lot on the bed.

Caffeine should be avoided before bed. If you drink caffeinated coffee, cola, or tea, make sure it’s at least 4 to 6 hours prior to retiring for the evening. Chocolate is also included in this group. Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep you alert, and unable to sleep.

Do deep breathing activities before bed such as, meditation, yoga, tai chi or muscle relaxation. Take a warm bath, listen to soft nature or ocean sounds, or read relaxing good book.

For more information and suggestions on natural cures for insomnia, visit the link below.

Disclaimer:
The information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic insomnia, please seek professional medical advice.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Deann_Barrow

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Sleep Hygiene – A Brief Overview

Sleep hygiene describes good habits that can help give yourself the best chance at refreshing, rejuvenating sleep. There are several basics concerning sleep hygiene, which include:

       Go to bed at the same time each night.

      Get up at the same time each morning.

      Spend at least part of each day outdoors in natural light.

      Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

      Don’t drink anything with caffeine in the evening.

      Don’t share your bedroom with children or pets.

Just as sleep hygiene describes the good habits you need, many sleep issues are the result of the bad habits we develop over the course of a long period of time.