Holistic Cures for Insomnia
You Are Not Alone
Chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders are a serious matter. Insufficient sleep results in slowed thinking, impaired reaction time, and weakened immune system. When one is extremely tired and drives a car or attempts to operate machinery, the chances of having an accident greatly increase. Trying to get through the day in a state of total exhaustion is like wading through molasses – and as the nights of low sleep stack up, the cumulative effect can put one’s whole life on hold.
Sleeping pills (sedatives) can have side effects such as dizziness, headaches, digestive problems, and stomach pain. Someone with chronic insomnia would do well to look into any natural or holistic solutions to the problem. Some recommended remedies include:
- Walk. Get out; get some fresh air and look around your environment. Many with office jobs do virtually no walking on a daily basis. The point of taking a walk is to get “out of your own head” and put your attention out into the world at large.
- Exercise. Vital – in fact, indispensable – not just for sleep but overall health. You want to get your cardiovascular and respiratory systems working. If you are lying in bed and cannot sleep, your body may be telling you it has not gotten enough activity and needs a workout. Exercise also releases endorphins – hormones that calm the body and mind.
- Hydrate. You’ve got to drink plenty of water no matter what.
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and tobacco. All these can act as stimulant or depressant depending on how much you take and your tolerance. They can affect your sleep/wake cycle – particularly in the 3 hours before you go to bed – and are addictive to one degree or another.
- Tryptophan and melatonin. Our bodies operate on 24-hour cycles (some say 25-hour) called circadian rhythms, which are regulated by the hormone melatonin. These rhythms could also be described as your “biological clock.” Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body ultimately converts to melatonin. Both tryptophan and melatonin are available as supplements and are known for their relaxing effects.
- Calcium and magnesium. These are available in powder form. You make a hot drink that relaxes muscles and soothes joints.
- B-Vitamins. In addition to the physiological benefits, the full gamut of B-vitamins is known to reduce such things as anxiety and depression that may be influencing your sleep.
- Proper diet. In addition to laying off the java, doughnuts, booze, and cigarettes, try eating right. Avoid fast food, fried food, and heavily processed foods. Eat whole grains, organic meats, fish, poultry, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Overloading your body with chemicals and additives is like powering your car with the lowest grade fuel known to man. Eventually, your engine sputters and stops. This may not immediately affect your sleep, but is an excellent base to cover no matter the circumstance.
- “Sleep foods.” There are foods known to contain tryptophan and other compounds that induce relaxation. These include bananas, grapefruit, dates, figs, almonds, herbal tea, raw honey, yogurt, oatmeal, rice, flax seeds, tuna, and turkey.Barring allergies, give them a try.
Many people suffering from insomnia lay in bed with their minds racing about all sorts of things. They can’t really relax due to the thoughts rolling around in their heads. To change your mental outlook, a good place to start is to write down all your incomplete tasks. Write them all down – from the smallest job to the most formidable barrier you have yet to overcome. Once you have the list, start getting jobs DONE. You can start with the small easy ones and work your way up. This has the effect of grabbing all those “airborne ideas” and pulling them down into physical form. From there you can pursue all manner of methods to improve your lot in life and go to bed in a better state of mind.