Introduction to Herbal Sleep Aids.Sleep is essential to the body. The human brain would go crazy if a person could not sleep like in the case of the fatal familial insomnia.
Many people around the world, Men, Women and Children experience sleepless nights. Night after night they stay awake in their beds. Statistics show that over 3.5 Million people suffer from one form of sleep disorder or another and use different herbal sleep aids.
The side effects of this problem ranges from auto accidents which leave about 1,550(US alone) dead and about $12.5 BILLION worth of property damage each year. Absenteeism and low productivity also caused by sleep problems is costing companies a fortune.
With such staggering numbers, leaders in the health sector are granting more funds for research each year for the development anti-insomnia drugs. But there are questions about the side effects of these drugs and many have begun to turn to herbal sleep aids as efficient insomnia remedy.
Herbal Sleep Aids have enjoyed recent attention in the media. Some of these ads even claim that their products can cure insomnia. Many of these sleep aids are made from leaves, roots and even the bark of trees and have been effective for thousands of years. When these herbal sleep aids became popularized in the West, many embraced them and some claimed they worked wonders. To the surprise of most medical practitioners these herbal sleep had no attendant side effects unlike prescription drugs.
Results have shown that these herbal sleep aids are mostly effective against insomnia that is caused by anxiety or depression. Unlike prescription drugs herbal sleep aids have a direct biochemical reaction with your body. And many drug manufacturers today are beginning to include herbs in recent drugs.
There a lot of sleep aids out there and they can be purchased at your local health store.
Some of them are of low quality and can contain contaminants. You should always seek the counsel of a practitioner before using a herbal sleep aid you are not used to. Any herbal sleep aid drug should come with name of the supplier, the product should have a batch number and it should be clearly labeled so if there are any problems with the product it will be traceable back to the manufacturer.
Different herbal sleep aids work in different ways. Most sleep disorders are caused by an imbalance in serotonin a chemical in the brain, which the body produces from the amino acid, tryptophan. Some herbs help restore the serotonin level balance whilst others trigger the calming mechanisms in the brain.
Valerian Root. (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian Root is a well known sleep aid. It has been used for hundreds of years and is the natural source of valium. Unlike the old days valerian root is now taken mostly in capsule form with oils taken from a flower also called valerian. Valerian root works better when taken with other sedative herbs. Because of one of its components called isovaleric acid it has an odd smell like that of an old sock. Valerian root works best when taken for a period of weeks though most people report immediate success after a few days. Valerian root works as a good muscle relaxant.
There have been no cases of side effects whatsoever though very high doses may cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, loss of muscle function and heart troubles. It should be noted that valerian should not be taken when driving or when you need full mental concentration as it has relaxant effects. To use put 2 to 3 spoonful of tincture made from valerian roots in a cup of hot water and take as a bedtime drink. It is advisable take only one cup a day.
Chamomile. (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is one of the gentlest herbal sleep aids. It is mostly taken in form of tea and has a very pleasant taste. Experts are not sure how chamomile works but they know that apigenin, a flavonoid in chamomile and another volatile oil helps insomniacs sleep better. It can also be used if you have stomach irritation and it also aids digestion. It is mild and can be used daily for a period of time and has no side effects whatsoever, neither is it addictive. To people who are allergic to daises or ragweed it can serve as an allergen. Chamomile can be used with other herbs but should not be taken in huge quantities. This one of the few herbal sleep aids that is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. To use add one teaspoon of it to boiling water and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
This is an amino acid that helps improve sleep and is a pre-cursor to serotonin. As earlier stated when serotonin levels are low the patient becomes irritable, sleepless and anxious. One way to solve this is to take more tryptophan based food like turkey, peanuts, brown rice, cottage cheese and milk. There are also tryptophan supplements available for at your local health store.
Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava has been around for a long time. Kava Kava is a herb that helps to relax the muscles and causes a dreamless state. Kava has been used for thousands of years by different cultures and civilizations and is presently gaining grounds in the West. Recently researchers have been able to show a strong link between kava kava and liver toxicity. Despite this some people believe that the use of additives and the usage of wrong parts of the plant cause health problems and not that the plant itself has negative side effects.
Hops has been used for long as a flavoring ingredient in beers, that has a calming and hypnotic effect on the mind and body. Hops has a very bitter taste and is part of the cannabis family. It is available in form of tinctures, tablets and capsules and can also be combined with chamomile, lavender and passionflower which also are sedatives. Even pillows are being made of hops because of its relaxing effect and people with depression should avoid hops because of its depressant effect. Pregnant women are also advised not to use hops because it has an estrogen-related compound that can complicate pregnancy. Hops is widely cultivated in Germany and the pacific northwest of the US.
Passion flower(Passiflora incarnata)
This is a calming herb and works wells especially with sleep disorders caused by muscle conditions, anxiety and chronic pains. It has no side effects apart from sleepiness is not addictive and can be used by both children and adults. Its most active ingredient is harmine which helps stop the breakdown of serotonin. The herb can be taken in form of tea, tincture or capsule.
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
This is a homeopathic herb that serves as a mild sedative and can be found in many health stores all over the US. It promotes relaxation and helps tackle mild anxiety. It is mostly added as an ingredient in sleep aid drugs or is available in the form of liquid extract. This is one herb that is safe for children because of its mild sedative effects.
Skull Cap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
This herb is typically used in the treatment of restless legs syndrome. It relieves the central nervous system.
Catnip also known as catmin or catswort comes mostly in the form of tea and is a very good sedative. It can also serve as a homeopathic for migraines, cramping and indigestion. Catnip has a dangerous effect on pregnant women and has been known to induce miscarriage. It can also cause heavy menstrual flow.
This herbal sleep aid was once used as a fish tranquilizer in the Caribbean. It is consumed in form of tea and should not be used by pregnant women and people with heart problems.
This herbal sleep aid works like chamomile and has a calming effect and alleviates headaches. Because it is mild it is more effective in treating children with sleeping disorders.
Lavender can act as a sedative. The Spanish lavender is very effective in treating depression. Lavender is mostly taken as tea and has no known side effects and is not always as effective other herbs. One way to use this herb is to steep it in vodka for a month and then strain. For stress related insomnia take three spoonful for three times a day until you feel better. If you have headaches you can rub the essential balm on your temples. To aid sleep you can also put a sachet of lavender under your pillow.
Peppermint is a herbal sleep aid that relieves indigestion and insomnia. It has no side effects apart from the fact that it prevents the body from absorbing iron. So if you are taking any iron supplements avoid it.
Lemon balm is also known as Melissa. It is a sedative that is often used in combination with other sedatives and can also serve as a stomach soother. To use add two or three spoons of Lemon balm into a cup of boiling water and steep for 5-15 minutes and then drink.
St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s Wort works particularly well against insomnia and is also effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety. It is used as an ingredient in some over the counter sleep aids and also comes in tablet form. Its side effects include increased sensitivity to the sun. People who already take medications for depression and/or migraines should avoid using this herbal sleep aid.
This herb is used to treat nervous conditions, sleep disorders and depression. It has known side effects. It can be used with a meal, as a tea and also as an additive with other sleep aids.
This herbal sleep aid is most effective against chronic fatigue syndrome and depression. People who have high blood pressure or nervous disorders should avoid it.
Most of the herbs listed have not been subjected to adequate clinical testing. Only valerian root has been clinically tested so far and is ascertained to treat sleep disorders. But when compared to over the counter drugs they have little or no side effects and are very effective. Most have been used by different cultures for thousands of years and have come to be trusted and passed from one generation to another.
What is Melatonin?
Discover how melatonin works in the human body and learn how to use the supplements effectively.
Melatonin as a Sleep Aid.
You may wonder, what is melatonin used for? Well, your body could develop melatonin hormone deficiency. When this happens you may develop the inability to sleep properly. One way to correct the situation is to use M.S. They can help to balance the melatonin levels in the body by complementing the amount produced by the pineal gland. You can also take melatonin with herbal/natural sleep aids such as kava or Valerian root. Some of the benefits of M.S are a refreshing sleep and an energetic day.
Melatonin and Sleep.
The Melatonin Hormones in your body control your biological clock. This means that it decides when you sleep and when you wake. Lack of sufficient Melatonin Hormone will lead to improper sleep patterns or lack of sleep.
Melatonin is safe to use and there has not been any report of advanced side effects. Still you have to be careful when using it. Like normal drugs, they alter the chemical state of the body and should be used in the right proportion. Some country’s such as Germany and some other European nations have banned M.S importation and manufacture. There have been no known cases of melatonin addiction neither has there been any information on it's long term side effects.
Sometimes sleep problems can be fustrating and if you have ever experienced a sleeping disorder that deprives you of sleep for days (Fatal Familial Insomnia), you know what that feeling is like. It is like running mad!
You can be tempted to take an overdose of your melatonin supplement or any other insomnia drug. Please don’t, as this will have it’s side effects. Dangers of Melatonin overdose can be found here including information on what is the melatonin dosage for children and adults.
Information on how to take MS differs from person to person. Some people need more, some need less. It all depends on what you are comfy with. Children should be administered smaller dosages than adults. You should start with small dosages and if you still have your sleep problems, increase your dosage gradually till you are able to find sleep. You can start with melatonin 1 mg and gradually increase to melatonin 2 -3 mg and even 5mg melatonin dosage.Click the link above to find out how to take it.
Melatonin for Insomnia.
The use of Melatonin for insomnia treatment is becoming very popular as people are led to believe that MS are “ all natural” and that it comes with little or no side effects. But what is melatonin's effect on insomnia? Does it really treat insomnia? The truth is that since melatonin is a hormone that determines sleep times and regulates the biological clock, melatonin supplements are better used in cases of jet lag. I have used melatonin supplements for insomnia and have had very little results whilst some of my friends have used it with outstanding results. So far there is no official word from the FDA or any professional medical source that melatonin is not good for the treatment of insomnia but there have been more results when used to treat jet lag.
Side Effects of taking Melatonin.
You may ask, What is Melatonin side effect on my body? Melatonin Supplements comes with its own set of side effects. The side effects vary from person to person. Most of these side effects are mild and even in the case of an over dose there are little or no side effects in most people.
Melatonin Supplements also come in liquid form. They can be purchased in almost any health store. Personally I love to use liquid Melatonin.
Where to buy Melatonin.
If you are looking to buy melatonin supplements you can purchase them at the sleep store below by clicking on the Melatrol Picture. My favorite Melatonin Supplement is Melatrol. I have come to trust and love this brand over the years.
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