Sleep. It seems like a perfectly natural thing to do, and it is. A lot of good comes from getting a good night’s sleep. The body rests, in a general way of course. Your bones and muscles repair naturally during this period of rest, doing what they can to recover from use during the time your awake.
Sleep is also quite important to the brain. Studies show that uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis does more than help people feel rested. Sleep prepares the brain and the body for the activity that you’ll be engaged in during the day.
In fact, research shows there are specific cycles taking place during the time you’re asleep, different levels of brain activity including the processing of new information picked up during the time you’re awake.
The different cycles also allow the body to make those tissue repairs mentioned earlier. Not only that, but babies and children grow during sleep, which is one of the reasons babies need to sleep more than adults.
Getting to Sleep
It’s not unusual for everyone to have a sleepless night occasionally. But there are some individuals (hundreds, thousands?) who actually suffer from insomnia – the inability to sleep – or wake several times during the night. This will impair your thoughts and actions the following day.
Quite simply, it’s not healthy for the body or the brain. Chronic lack of sleep can be a contributing factor in diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and other maladies.
If sleep is so important to humans, why do so many have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The answers are not definite but researchers have made some progress in determining how an all natural sleep aid can help you when you have difficulty.
If you don’t find the right sleep aid for you, it’s possible you’ll be doing more harm than good. You may disrupt your natural sleep cycle, taking yourself away from the most beneficial stages of sleep.
Learn more by gathering valuable information at Insomnia Tracks.
What you’ll need to do is read as much as you can about sleep aids and the effects they have on the user. Some of them will not be right for you, while others may be just what you need. For example, people have found a few of the natural sleep aids cause them to feel “groggy” in the morning – never fully awake.
While it may seem you have a good night’s sleep behind you, this doesn’t do you much good when you find it difficult to function the next day.
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There are safe, all natural sleep aids to give you a comfortable, restful sleep. They’re considered by some to be true gifts of nature. Two of the most widely used and effective among sleep aids are melatonin and valerian root. The first is available as a supplement, but it’s produced in your pineal gland (behind your eyes, in the brain).
This gland responds to the light which passes through your eyes, and the gland responds by producing melatonin when its dark around you. The level of this hormone rises when the sun sets and peaks in the early hours of the morning.
Unfortunately, many people find their melatonin levels drop significantly as they get older, which means it’s more difficult for them to fall asleep after age 40 or so.
This makes a melatonin supplement useful, in the right amount. This addition can help you sleep better and feel rested, so you can be awake at the right time.
For thousands of individuals who experience problems going to sleep, this supplement can be the difference between sufficient rest and struggling to stay healthy and alert. You may want to give this one serious consideration at the beginning of your search for all natural sleep aids.
There’s a good chance your mother mentioned this natural sleep aid to you, because it’s been known as an effective self-help method for centuries.
In fact, you may even want to try it as a complement to your melatonin supplement mentioned earlier. This has helped a lot of people get the restful sleep they need. For them, it is the most powerful, natural sleep aid combination you can find.
The valerian plant produces a natural ingredient in its root to help calm the nerves, something our ancestors knew 200 years ago.
Research on the extract from this root shows this is a good method for people who have difficulty falling asleep. But it can also be effective for those seeking better overall sleep quality. For many, it can be the perfect choice for sleepless nights.
Once you’ve learned as much as possible about melatonin and valerian root, you may not need to look much further for help.
However, these may not be just the right option for you, because supplements and all natural sleep aids work differently for different individuals. This may be a good time to step back and take another look at what may be causing your sleepless nights.
What are some of the specific things happening, or not happening, when you don’t sleep at night? Do you have difficulty getting to sleep? If you’re tossing and turning, and getting up to wander around, you may want to look closely at one type of sleep aid.
Perhaps valerian root. If your mind seems to run faster when you lie down, you may need a combination of methods. If you’ve tried prescription medications and your mind is foggy in the morning, you may want to visit Insomnia Tracks
Maybe you should take a close look at your diet and the nutrients your body lacks. This can affect sleep, and the body’s ability to relax, more than you might think.
If you’ve made the mistake of thinking you’ll just live with being unable to sleep (and it is a mistake) you should do all you can to change that mindset, immediately. It’s possible to change your diet, you supplement use, and your habits so you stop waking up at night. You can get to sleep in a “normal” amount of time, if you take the right steps.
Use these guidelines to help you find answers. Is there too much stress in your daily life? This can be “bad” stress, the drama and trouble you must reduce or eliminate so you can relax and sleep. It can also be “good” stress, too much excitement and activity, especially late in the day and in the evening.
If your mind is racing when you try to relax and when you’re trying to get to sleep, there are specific natural aids you can use.
You will also have to take a close look at any prescription medicines you’re using. Some of these have side effects such as restlessness and inability to sleep. Alcohol intake may also have a significant impact on your ability to sleep.
A glass of wine or a small amount of liquor could help, but large amounts actually keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. You may think you’re sleeping well, but the truth is much different with alcohol.
Look at your daily activities and consider the amount of anxiety existing in your life. This can be a physical condition remedied by the right natural sleep aids and relaxation techniques.
Try using meditation in combination with melatonin and/or valerian root. This should involve slow, deep breathing methods and relaxation that reduces stress. You can direct your attention by focusing on one object – breathing rate, a sound, a word – so you stay in the present and keep your mind from wandering.
Visualization can also be a good technique, used for about 20 minutes before you want to fall asleep. Try imagining yourself in a quiet place, with a soft breeze and palm trees swaying in the wind.
Imagine smelling the wonderful aroma of flowers or flowering bushes. Listen to the waves from the ocean. Do all you can to make this visualization vivid and “real.” It works, so you’re encouraged to try it. Learn more at Insomnia Tracks.
When you’re thinking about all natural sleep aids, it isn’t common for most people to consider this gem of nature. But hops may be part of the answer for you when you’re searching for ways to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Some individuals have found a combination of hops and valerian extract to be quite effective. In the correct amounts, such as 500 mg of valerian extract and about 100 to 120 mg of hops extract, you could see some significant improvement.
Hops, of course, are one of the primary ingredients used to brew beer. But, what are they, really? They’re cone-shaped flowers used for a number of purposes, including the brewing process.
These are the female flowers of a perennial vine that may grow up to 30 feet long. There are many varieties of hops, so you’ll have to know which are to be used as a sleep aid.
Of course, if you purchase an extract off the shelf, this won’t be an issue. You may also be interested to know hops and cannabis are in the same plant family. They give beer its slightly bitter flavor and also provide some antibacterial properties, which means they act as a natural preservative.
In addition to their use to produce beer, hops can be effective in treating anxiety, insomnia and other sleep disorders.
You may also find some people who use this natural item for tension, nervousness and restlessness. Studies show hops can improve appetite, help with indigestion and even help mothers with the flow of breast milk. The chemicals in hops seem to have a weak estrogen effect.
The history of using hops as an herbal medicine is quite extensive, with the use of hops for brewing only becoming common in the last few hundred years. At one time, people even stuffed their pillows with hops to get help with sleeping.
Studies have shown the combination of valerian and hops may be responsible for the increase in alpha-wave activity in the brain. There are actually two types of alpha waves, and researchers believe they function differently in the sleep/wake cycle.
There is alpha-wave activity in the occipital lobe of the brain which is present during a relaxed mental state, though you’re not asleep. Some research indicates this might originate in the thalamic region.
Alpha-wave activity also occurs during REM sleep, centered in the frontal/central part of the brain. While research has not fully determined the purpose or effect of this type of alpha activity, it is believed to be quite normal and common. This may indicate a slightly more awake period during your night’s sleep, and may actually intrude into your otherwise restful condition.
Sometimes, a person might read this valuable information, understand a lot more about melatonin, valerian extract, hops and other sleep aids, and decide they just don’t want to “get into all that.” Others may begin the process by using natural supplements and not continue because they just don’t remember.
The old habit of crawling into bed and hoping for the best can be difficult to change, unless you’re suffering from extreme sleep deprivation.
However, you don’t have to wait until the problem is affecting the rest of your life. Even if you have problems occasionally, such as after a particularly busy day, you may want to have some of these all natural sleep aids available. You can learn more at Insomnia Tracks.
If you are not consistent with using natural supplements, or you hesitated before getting started, you may want to gather additional information about the effect a lack of sleep can have on your body.
The effects are not just working or enjoying at less than 100 percent. Your body won’t have the opportunity to make necessary repairs. Your brain won’t be able to process the information gathered during the day, at least not in the resting phase that’s so important.
As you consider all natural sleep aids, including the effective supplements already mentioned, you may also want to look for help in a couple of other areas. Some individuals have found relief and sleep assistance with hypnosis, though the way this method works or helps is still debated.
Hypnosis may cause physical changes in your body, reducing blood pressure, slowing the rate at which the heart beats, even affecting alpha-wave patterns.
This would mean it has effects similar to meditation and other relaxation techniques. Hypnosis may reduce the amount of time it takes to get to sleep and may help with sleep quality.
Others have found aromatherapy to be quite effective, especially when they use English lavender oil. This has been known as a folk-remedy sleep method for quite some time, because it is a very soothing essential oil.
Studies show this oil may actually extend sleep time and help you stay in deep sleep for a longer period of time. Some individuals participating in the studies, and those who have used lavender oil on their own, also report they feel more refreshed in the morning. It’s been said this works best for females, perhaps because of a more acute sense of smell.
To try this method, use lavender under your pillow or a couple of drops on a handkerchief. Drops of lavender in a bath may also help. The combination of a warm bath and the oil may lower body temperature slightly, helping you relax and sleep. Chamomile may also be effective as an aromatherapy method.
Light and Diet
It’s also been shown that exposure to light during your waking periods may have an effect on how you get to sleep and how you sleep. The change in light conditions tells the body when to go to sleep, which is when the body produces more melatonin.
You may be able to find some help with an outdoor walk first thing in the morning. But it’s also important to make sure the room in which you sleep is dark enough to make a difference.
You can also make some positive changes by altering your diet and limiting the intake of certain items. It would be a good idea to reduce the amount of caffeine you ingest, along with the amount of alcohol and nicotine.
Having these chemicals in your system late in the day can lead to insomnia and restlessness. Chocolate and cold medicines can be sources of caffeine, in addition to the coffee, tea and soft drinks you consume.
It’s also important to reduce the amount of sugar you ingest with meals and snacks. You get a burst of energy from sugar but it doesn’t last.
However, if you eat sugary foods late in the day and at night you may feel unusually energized and have difficulty getting to sleep. You may also get some help from certain foods that will actually help you sleep. Whole grain crackers before bedtime may have some effect, as may foods rich in vitamin B6.
Try eating foods rich in magnesium, since this is a natural sedative. A magnesium deficiency can result in restlessness, muscle tremors, anxiety, irritability, cramps and constipation.
Try seeds and legumes, dark, leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, blackstrap molasses, cashews and brewer’s yeast. If these don’t seem to help, you can always add yoga to your daily routine.
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