Insomnia: Three Natural Remedies

Insomnia: Three Natural Remedies

Do you have problems with your sleep? If yes, you may suffer from a form of insomnia, a complex condition that affects one in three people at some point in their lives.


How is Insomnia Defined?

Insomnia is defined as difficulty with falling asleep or staying asleep, even if you are relaxed and have no underlying medical conditions. If you have insomnia, you may experience difficulty concentrating, mood swings, low energy, and decreased performance in work. People with insomnia are often dissatisfied with their quality of sleep and can feel ‘wiped out’ throughout their daily lives.


How Long Can Insomnia Last?

Insomnia is characterized in accordance with its duration. Two different diagnoses are most prevalent, Acute Insomnia and Chronic Insomnia.


Acute Insomnia:

This form of insomnia is often short-lived and occurs due to life circumstances. These could include work-related stress, grief, marital problems, and anything that adds stress to your routine. Thousands of people experience this type of short-term sleep disruption, and it tends to resolve without the need for treatment.


Chronic Insomnia:

Chronic insomnia is more severe and tends to last anything between three nights and three months. The condition can be caused by changes in the environment, shift work, jet lag, unhealthy sleep patterns, pharmaceutical medications, drugs and alcohol, and various clinical disorders.

People that have chronic insomnia often benefit from treatment to get their sleep patterns back in order. Chronic insomnia can be linked to psychiatric problems, including depression and anxiety.

People living with insomnia tend to experience difficulty falling and staying asleep. They often complain that they wake up too early and feel like they’ve hardly slept at all. 

There are several different treatment options for insomnia, including medications, natural remedies, behavioral or psychological therapies, or a combination of various alternatives. For long-term chronic insomnia, we recommend talking to your physician to develop a tailored medical plan that works specifically for your symptoms.

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Natural Remedies for Insomnia:

Valerian Root

Native to Asia and Europe, Valerian is a form or herb that is popularly used to treat menopause, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. This natural remedy is one of the most trusted supplements for sleep and relaxation across Europe. Recent studies have revealed that ingesting 300-900mg of valerian before bedtime could improve the quality of sleep.

Valerian is often ingested as part of a tea, but can also be purchased in capsule and tinctures. Valerian is often added to ‘nighttime’ cold and flu medications to help promote healthy sleep and aid recovery. It’s relatively safe to take in the short-term, with infrequent side effects such as dizziness reported in a small percentage of users.

The safety regarding long-term use is mostly unreported. However, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should speak to their doctor before using valerian products.


Magnesium:

Magnesium is a natural mineral that helps to aid hundreds of processes in the human body. It’s vital for heart health and efficient brain function. It’s also reported that this mineral can help to relax the mind and body, promoting healthy sleep.

Studies reveal that the relaxing effects of magnesium may be due to its interactions with melatonin regulation, the hormone that regulates our body’s sleep-wake cycle. It’s also believed that magnesium helps to increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which works as a brain ‘messenger,’ providing calming effects.

If you are magnesium deficient, you have an increased likelihood of developing sleep problems and insomnia.

Therefore, it’s believed that regularly taking magnesium supplements can help to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. During a 2012 study, 46 participants were administered 500mg of a placebo or magnesium supplement every day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, those that were given magnesium reported improvements in their sleep conditions.

When tested, this group had higher levels of renin and melatonin present in their blood; both of these hormones help to regulate sleep.

In a smaller 2011 study, participants were given a supplement that contained 225mg of magnesium, 5mg od melatonin, and 11.24mg of zinc. Once again, all participants reported improved quality and quantity of sleep.

Both of these studies were conducted with elderly participants, who may have been magnesium deficient due to their age. Therefore, healthy adults with good diets may not necessarily notice benefits from magnesium supplementation.


CBD, or also known as Cannabidiol:

The effect of CBD on sleep is dose-dependent, according to recent research. Scientific studies have revealed that low doses can have a stimulating effect, while larger doses can cause sedation.

One study that focused on patients who have insomnia discovered that 160mg day dose of CBD helped to increase participants the total amount of sleep time while decreasing the number of times they woke in the night. 

A 2011 study comparing two cannabis clinics found that patients with underlying sleep problems and patients that had no issues sleeping both noticed a decrease in the amount of time it took them to fall asleep.

Short term supplementation using CBD could improve symptoms of insomnia by helping people to fall asleep and increasing NREM. That said, those who supplement with CBD for the long term could have problems with their sleep when they eventually stop using the cannabinoid supplement.

For additional information regarding CBD and sleep, click here to talk to one of our CBD experts today.

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