There may be some people who can survive on a small number of hours sleep each night. But the majority of us need a good 6-8 hours to be performing at our best.
A lack of sleep means you are placing significant stress on your body. And long term it can have significant health implications.
Insomnia is a horrible condition that can disrupt sleep for people in many ways. There are five main types of insomnia that people suffer from:
• Acute Insomnia – Brief episodes of difficulty sleeping usually triggered by stressful life events that resolve without treatment.
• Chronic Insomnia – Long-term difficult sleeping patterns. These typically consist of trouble falling and staying asleep for three or more days a week for three months or longer.
• Comorbid Insomnia – Insomnia that occurs as a result of another condition like anxiety or depression. This will clear with the treatment of the other condition.
• Onset Insomnia – When insomnia occurs at the beginning of the night when the sufferer is trying to fall asleep.
• Maintenance Insomnia – When a person has multiple wake ups during the night followed by difficulty getting back to sleep.
No matter what your type of insomnia you have, finding a way to get through it is important.
Many of the over the counter sleeping aids can have an extreme hangover effect the next day. When the medicines leave you feeling groggy and foggy it’s almost better if you had not slept at all.
You don’t need to rely on medications however, as there are herbal options you can take to help with insomnia.
As with all new medications or supplements, make sure you discuss your use of herbal medicines with your doctor. Some may interact with medications.
Let’s take a look at some herbal options for insomnia.
Passionflower is a mild sedative and can be used to treat stress and insomnia. There are several teas available that use passionflower as the main ingredient.
If your insomnia is related to stress, you can try taking the tea during the day. They won’t make you sleepy but will help to calm down the nervous system. This will give you a better sleep at the end of the day.
You can also try taking the tea before bed.
Valerian has been used since ancient Greece as a sleep aide and sedative. It is wonderful for most people but can have a ‘paradoxical’ effect in a small percentage. That is, the reverse happens and you can’t sleep.
If this is the case, avoid it and try one of the other herbs.
Almost everyone knows someone who drinks a glass of chamomile tea before bed. This herb is one of the oldest forms of herbal medicine and has been used to treat many common ailments.
It has been shown that Chamomile has a flavonoid in it called apigenin that binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. This acts as a central nervous system depressant and an anticonvulsant.
Both of these factors are thought to be why chamomile is so good at helping people fall asleep.
What Should You Take?
All of the above herbs are good for insomnia so it comes down to a personal preference.
The other thing to consider is that herbs often act like traditional modern medicines. Because of this, you should always talk to your physician about adding in a herbal supplement to help you sleep. This will make sure that they do not interfere with any of your current medications that you are taking.
You can find teas and tinctures that contain one of the herbs or all of the herbs listed above. Depending on your bodies response you may only need a small dose of passion flower in order to fall asleep. If you have severe insomnia you may find that a blend of all three works better for you.
Try them out and see which herb helps you hit the hay faster.