- Alternative & Natural Medicine
5 Home Remedies for Insomnia
You've been watching your bedside alarm clock tic slowly forward for hours. The night is slowly giving way to the dawn, and you wonder how you will have energy enough to make it through the work day. If you suffer from insomnia, this scenario probably seems pretty familiar.
The Dangers of Insomnia
Insomnia can impact your health profoundly, and overall decrease your quality of life.
- More likely to have accidents. These include at work, home, or while driving.
- More susceptible to depression.
- More likely to suffer from illnesses, ranging from mild to serious.
- More likely to miss work. If you do show up for the work day, you are more likely to be less productive than your well rested peers.
5 Remedies to Get the Sleep You Need
Before I tell you about the things I've tried, and whats worked for me, remember to consult your doctor first because chronic insomnia could be a symptom of a more serious problem. It's not a bad idea to get your doc's opinion on any OTC supplements you take. They can give you their professional opinion, and warn you of any interactions these supplements could have with your existing prescriptions.
It seems fairly obvious, but if you suffer from insomnia cutting back on the java is probably a good idea. Even if you require that first cup of coffee to get you going in the morning, try to limit your consumption to two servings per day. Restrict caffeinated drinks to the earlier part of the day. If you currently drink a lot of caffeine it might be easier to cut back a little at a time. If sleep eludes you this is probably the first and easiest thing you can try.
Create a new bedtime routine
Going to bed at consistent times helps your body establish a sleep rhythm. That means staying up much later than normal on the weekends is sure to throw your sleep schedule out of whack for several days. Most parents know following a bedtime routine is a great way to get your children ready for sleep. It can work just as well for adults. Choose one or more relaxing activities to do in the evenings. These could include having a hot cup of chamomile tea (or any decaffeinated beverage), taking a warm bath, reading, listening to soft music or anything that puts you in a relaxed mood.
If your body is low on serotonin, which is the case for many that suffer from depression, 5-htp may help you get the rest you need. Depression and insomnia are known to go hand in hand for many. 5-htp is a precursor to serotonin, but should not be taken by anyone currently taking medication for depression. Mixing this with most depression meds can cause a serious condition called Serotonin Syndrome. This supplement can cause stomach upset, so take it with a bit of food an hour or more before bedtime. I take 100mg of this supplement most evenings, about 2 hours before bedtime. When I first tried it I did experience a bit of tummy discomfort, but that quickly passed after a few days.
This herbal supplement is made from a plant, and used to treat anxiety in addition to insomnia. It's found in most health food stores as either a capsule or tea. I would advice on taking it in pill form because it has an awful smell. I've never tried the tea, and I doubt very much I could stomach it. I've used this herb off and on for several years. It does seem to lose effectiveness after a few weeks when taken daily. I haven't noticed any morning grogginess when I use it.
Your body already makes the hormone melatonin, but we produce less of it as we get older. That may be one reason why older adults have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. This supplement is easy to find at most health food stores, and some grocery stores. I've used melatonin with success in the past. I'm usually able to fall asleep about an hour after taking it, but it can cause some morning grogginess. For me it caused very vivid dreams so I stopped taking it. It made falling asleep very easy, but I didn't feel very rested when I woke up, even when sleeping 8 hours or more. Everyone is different, so if other methods have failed to work for you, it might be worth giving a shot.
If your body isn't getting the sleep it requires I hope some of these suggestions can help. Insomnia can take a real toll on you emotionally and psychically. Remember to work with your doctor. If the first remedy you try doesn't work, keep exploring.