Sleep is something that many of us have issues with, and we all know how important it is to get a good night’s rest. Without it we may have problems with many areas of our lives. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.
NOTE: The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Seek the advice of your Doctor for your concerns. Refer to our medical disclaimer
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. It can drive chronic diseases, including heart disease. Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population. Depression is linked to poor sleep quality. Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function. Sleep loss is known to activate or make inflammation worse.
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There are two types of insomnia: Primary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems that are not related to other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems that may be due to health issues such as asthma, heartburn or pain. It can be a side effect of various prescription drugs and/or some substances such as alcohol.
If you think you have Primary insomnia — you may want to talk to your Doctor about having a sleep study test done to rule out Sleep Apnea.
Whichever it might be there are various things to try that might help you. I will say thou.. they may be more helpful if you have simple primary insomnia without sleep apnea.
One thing that helps me quite a bit is winding down at the end of the day. Just turning the mind down a notch or two while sitting calmly can be an easy way to do so. I generally turn social media off an hour or so before bed. I may play a few online games as I relax and quiet down. The lack of distraction and stimulation can help our brain to slow down, calm down, and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
I have found that the right essential oils in the diffuser at night can be beneficial to help induce sleep. I often use a product called “Sleep.” It’s a blend of Chamomile, Marjoram, Bulgarian Lavender and Vetiver Essential Oils. It also comes in a roll on – and a spray on.
There are relaxation tapes of all kinds that can help stop the mind from running and lull us off to sleep.
You will find that there are several supplements that are suggested for both sleep and stress. One often goes with the other.
B vitamins can be very helpful in reducing stress levels. I highly suggest a good B-complex. Taking a B-complex can help to lower depression, improve mood, and decrease stress levels.
Some common herbs that have been used with success are Valerian – Californian Poppy and Passion Flower. Or try a natural herbal complex designed to aid with better sleep.
A nice relaxing cup of Valerian – Chamomile or Kava Kava tea, before bed can be helpful. There are also some very good tea blends available.
L-Theanine is an amino acid and can be found in green tea or as a supplement. It can calm the brain and promote restful sleep.
Melatonin is often called a sleep hormone because the melatonin levels in the brain increase at night to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. We might need to boost our levels with a supplement sometimes because we may not produce enough for a good night’s sleep.
Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Besides all the other benefits from taking magnesium supplements, it also helps to maintain a healthy nervous system. It must be present for serotonin production, which is the hormone responsible for our happiness and feel-good emotions.
Sometimes all we need is just some more magnesium. Take it about an hour before bed with a glass of warm water.
5-HTP is a super-sleep supplement. It helps to replenish the serotonin-producing abilities that we naturally lose as we age. NOTE: HTP stands for Hydroxytryptophan. Definitions for 5-Hydroxytryptophan also known as oxitriptan is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is one of the best natural sleep supplements there is. It can help to activate the calming neurotransmitters in our brain, thus causing us to grow sleepy. It can also offer help to relieve anxiety.
People with chronic sleep problems generally have GABA levels that are below normal. This is also true for people with depression.
I have heard from people who use a GABA supplement that they have been able to fall asleep in almost half the time it usually takes and that combining GABA and 5-HTP has improved sleep and sleep duration more than the use of either of the two on their own.
Not eating that last couple of hours before bed can have a big impact on our ability to fall and stay asleep. I generally try not to eat anything at least 2 or 3 hours before I go to bed.
Let’s get more sleep and reduce our stress whenever we can, without toxic chemicals.
What’s your sleep secret?
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