A Guide to Herbal Sleep Aids
Difficulty sleeping can affect many aspects of life. People who don't get the recommended amount of sleep for their age groups can have a myriad of negative affects.
Daytime crankiness, difficulty concentrating, frequent illness, depression, and accidents are all common problems associated with poor sleep habits.
For some people, getting more sleep is not as easy as going to bed earlier. If you suffer from insomnia, you know how wearisome it can be to lie in bed, unable to sleep.
Doctors can prescribe medication to help, but these medications have undesirable side effects. Stomach problems, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, difficulty awakening, accidents, and poor coordination are all common.
Not only do prescription sleep medications have negative side effects, they also don't cause healthy sleep. They cause sedation or unconsiousness--not the restful, healing sleep you need.
But you don't have to choose between sleep deprivation and unwanted medication--nature has provided us with many natural remedies for sleeplessness.
Whether you want a little help falling asleep occasionally or a long-term supplement that will help restore your body's natural sleep rhythms, you should be able to find an herbal sleep aid that will work for you.
Chamomile is one of nature's oldest and gentlest herbal sleep aids. It is most often drunk as a tea, which has a mild and pleasant taste. In addition to promoting calm and restfulness, chamomile is also used in cases of stomach irritation.
The benefits of chamomile works when taken occasionally, and is mild enough that it can be used daily for extended periods of time. It doesn't cause dependency, and has no side effects. It may, though, be an allergen for people who are allergic to daisies.
Experts are not sure how chamomile works to induce sleep. US Pharmacist reports that apigenin, a flavonoid in chamomile, may help to promote sleep, but that other components are probably also involved.
Valerian is a root that has long been used as an herbal sleep aid. It has a characteristic smell, like old socks, which comes from isovaleric acid. Valerian can be used to help occasional sleeplessness, but is also particularly helpful taken long-term.
Many studies have shown valerian root to be an extremely safe and effective way to promote sleep. Patients who take valerian report that they feel less anxious and nervous, and have better rest at night.
Clearly, there are many benefits of valerian, and it causes none of the negative effects on concentration and alertness that prescription medications, thereby making it an excellent choice for people who suffer from chronic insomnia. Very high doses may cause certain side effects such as nausea, headaches, and dizziness.
Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces at night. It is sometimes called the "sleep hormone" because it is so important to healthy sleep. People who are blind, who suffer from jet lag, or who live in places with extended sunlight hours may have trouble sleeping because their bodies do not produce enough melatonin.
Patients looking for a short-term sleep solution may be helped by taking melatonin supplements, as will persons whose natural wake/sleep cycles have been disturbed. Melatonin is also helpful to people who are trying to wean themselves off of sleep medications.
SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) is an amino acid derivative, and is found normally in the body. It is typically used as an antidepressant, but is also commonly used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome or as an herbal sleep aid. Its actions in the body help to promote healthy sleep cycles, especially when taken daily for several weeks.
Mario Kyriazis, M.D, author of The Anti-Aging Plan (Element, 2000) explains that SAMe helps to promote sleep by increasing serotonin, a nerotransmitter important to sleep and mood. SAMe also works with the hormone melatonin to harmonize the body's natural day/night rhythms. SAMe is extremely safe, with no known serious side effects. Minor possible side effects in high dosages may include nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to seratonin. Low seratonin levels can cause irritability, anxiety, and sleeplessness, so adding more tryptophan to your diet can help you relax and will promote healthier sleep patterns.
Many foods naturally contain tryptophan. Increasing the amount of turkey, cottage cheese, peanuts, soy, brown rice, or milk in your diet will help your body to manufacture seratonin. Tryptophan supplements are also available.
Choosing your supplement
With all of the natural and herbal sleep aids available, it can seem tough to choose one. The choices don't have to be overwhelming, though.
Some supplements are meant to be used only occasionally, while others work better when used long-term. Many supplements have additional benefits, so it's often easy to pick one supplement to meet several needs. Naturopathic physicians, dieticians, and herbalists can help you choose the best herbal sleep aid for you.
Cauffield, Jacintha S., Pharm.D., BCPS. "Supplements Used to Treat Sleep Disorders." http://www.uspharmacist.com/oldformat.asp?url=newlook/files/Comp/sleep.htm&pub_id=8&article_id=729
Kyriazis, Marios, M.D. "Depression and SAMe." http://www.smart-drugs.com/depression-SAMe.htm.
Dan Ho is chief editor of Nutritional Supplement Info Spotlight, which offers unconventional and unique solutions for common health issues. Claim your FREE subscription to his newsletter now at his Nutritional Supplement and Herbal Supplement Guide Site
Suffering From Osteoarthritis Pain? Natural Relief Is Available
It is clearly evident that hyaluronic acid in its oral form supports optimal joint health. The reality of the situation is that after 65 years of age approximately 30 percent of all doctor visits will be related to pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Vitamin Information for Health
Vitamin C may be the most famous vitamin. Tens of thousands of British sailors were dying of the disease scurvy until they began taking limes and other citrus fruit along on voyages.
Improve Your Mental Cognitive Abilities
The Connection Between Brain Inflammation, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's DiseaseThe evidence is overwhelming that sustained inflammation is the driving force of many degenerative diseases. Chronic inflammation is centrally implicated in heart disease, cancer and chronic viral conditioning such as Alzheimer's.
Know Your Bodybuilding Supplement - BCAAs
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids and is increasingly being recognized as an important supplement in the field of sports nutrition. In short the term refers to three essential amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Finally - The Truth About Calcium Supplements
Undoubtedly calcium has become a hot topic of controversy. We are bombarded with advertising telling us exactly what will give our body more calcium.
The Bodys Own Production of Nitric Oxide Can Help Prevent Heart Attack & Stroke
Nitric Oxide, a gas that occurs naturally in the body, may do more than any prescription drug to prevent heart attack and stroke.Nitric Oxide is essential for healthy circulation.
Creatine, Caffeine, and Carbohydrates - Supplements That Work
It would seem that everyone is looking to squeeze the most out of their training investment and as a result, the supplement industry has globally become a multi-billion dollar industry. There are however very few legal ergogenic (performance enhancing) supplements on the market whose benefits are proven and whose negative side effects are minimal.
Sleep and Vitamins
Vitamins and Minerals Can Improve SleepTaking proper vitamins and minerals may prevent trouble falling or staying asleep. Too much copper, especially if taken prior to bedtime, may increase the occurrence of nightmares by over-stimulating the creative areas of the brain.
The Benefits of Whey Protein
The benefits of whey protein are so numerous and apply to so many different groups of people, that listing them all would be quite a large undertaking. In the sense of an overview, the benefits of whey protein make it an excellent choice for individuals of all ages who struggle to maintain a healthy diet and to improve their overall health.
Not all Antioxidants are Created Equal!
The growing numbers of health conscious people today living more vibrant lives owe much to the efforts and research of certain pioneers who braved ridicule, for without them, many of us now wouldn't be aware of the general benefits of taking antioxidant supplements.To take a particular notable example, great scientist and humanitarian Linus Pauling (the only man to win 2 unshared Nobel Prizes, one in Chemistry and one for Peace) urged people to supplement with Vitamin C after he became convinced of its myriad of benefits.
What is Rhodiola Rosea?
Rhodiola rosea is available commercially as a supplement and rhodiola rosea is extracted from the rhodiola rosea plant. Also called the 'golden root', rhodiola rosea is mainly found growing at high altitudes in Asia and Europe.
Using Antioxidants in Your Weight Loss Program
If you're smart, you should not only be focused on your goal to lose weight but to maximize your weight lossprogram to its full extent by getting some health benfitsout of it as well, and make them priority #1.One of the health benefits you should be aiming for as you lose weight should be getting a good daily dosage of antioxidants while on your weight loss plan and even afterward while in maintainence mode.
8 Minerals Every Arthritis Sufferer Should Know About
Minerals are essential to maintain our bodies in top condition ..
The Importance of Taking a Multivitamin Supplement
It's absolutely crucial that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function effectively and efficiently. The daily stress of pollution, fatty and processed food, and stress deplete your body of nutrients and it's up to you to replace these nutrients.
As with most nutrients and minerals, zinc is often ignored by the average person however, it is an essential mineral that plays many roles in promoting the healthy functioning of the body. Its importance to the body's well-being goes far back as the earliest moments of growth and development and is serves a highly important role in maintaining a healthy way of life.
Know Your Bodybuilding Supplement - ZMA
ZMA is a scientifically designed anabolic mineral formula containing zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6. Studies have shown that it has a clinical effect on testosterone levels when taken in a combination containing 30 mg of zinc and 450 mg of magnesium per day.
Lipovarin Review: How Well Does It Work?
Lipovarin ReviewSince the ban on ephedra based products in April 2003 many ephedra free fat burners have hit the weight loss market with mixed success. A few of these new "ephedra alternative" weight loss products have performed a pretty decent job of burning fat and supplying a boost of energy while others have not been nearly as effective.
Learn Why Digestive Enzymes are Crucial for Optimal Health
Your body produces over 20 separate digestive enzymes that are actually proteins; they break down food so that your body can convert it to energy, relieve certain ailments and discomforts and bolster your immune system. Your digestive enzymes work hard from the moment that food enters your mouth.
Too Many Books, Supplements, and Programs
If I read 1 good valid murder mystery book, would I really want that to be the ONLY book on the subject? If my 8th grade history book was considered to be accurate by the majority would I really want to be limited to only knowing one author's thoughts on the subject? Or how about browsers and music players? Do I just want to use IE? It gets the job done well enough.So what's the difference between those analogies and fitness ebook, supplements and programs? Really there's no difference to me.
The Benefits of Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein concentrate popularity has increased dramatically in recent years because of advances in processing technology. Whey protein begins as a watery byproduct of cheese manufacturing.