Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills. 

Please note that these natural remedies cannot cure insomnia and if you are suffering from prolonged periods of sleeplessness you should contact your doctor.

Alternative therapies cover a wide variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to meditation and lifestyle changes. Some alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided meditation, yoga, hypnosis, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others.

Valerian Root

Some studies have suggested that the root of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) may help with sleep. Valerian root can sometimes interfere with some medications. It also has side effects and is not safe in small children or during pregnancy. Before taking this supplement check with your doctor.

Lavender

Lavender is a calming herb that is a natural relaxant. According to a study at Southampton University, lavender can increase your sleep quality by 20%. In this study of 10 people, 5 were exposed to lavender during sleep and the other people were exposed to a placebo. The 5 people exposed to lavender reported a 20% overall better sleep experience1.

Accupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at specific acupuncture points in the body. The results of recent studies have shown acupuncture improved sleep quality in people with insomnia2.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has been used as a sleep aid for thousands of years. It is a natural relaxant, like lavendar. This can help your mind to relax and unwind for bed.

Meditation

Meditation can be an effective way to treat insomnia. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the value of meditation in treating insomnia. There are many types of meditation to choose from. Learn more about meditation for sleep in our article here.

Exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to help improve sleep. However, most experts advise exercising at least three to four hours before bedtime to avoid interference with sleep.

A Noise Machine

Listening to soothing background sounds can help cover up manmade sounds like voices or traffic. Noise machines offer a variety of sounds from white noise to sounds from nature.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills.  Please note that these natural remedies cannot...

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How Stress Affects your Sleep

How Stress Affects your Sleep

Stress can impact your life in many ways but how does stress affect your sleep? It’s late at night, you’re lying in bed, worrying and feeling anxious, which makes it almost impossible to turn off your brain, relax and fall asleep. People who suffer from chronic stress find they have poorer sleep quality and find it harder to function during the day.

The science of stress

When you experience a perceived threat your body’s stress response is triggered. As a result, your body will experience physical changes such as shallow breathing and a burst of energy from the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This is sometimes described as the fight or flight response, but it isn’t always the appropriate way to deal with the stresses of modern life.

How does stress affect sleep?

If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. When you enter a deep sleep the brain chemicals tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those stress hormones. When you wake up the next day, you feel more stressed and the following night you might find it harder to fall asleep. The more exhausted you feel, the harder it is for you to focus at work and at home, leading to even more stress. This can make you irritable with friends and family, causing stress over relationships1.

Sleep and Busy People

Busy people may have trouble getting enough sleep because being busy and not devoting 8 hours a night to sleep can trigger the stress response. This can lead to a cycle of stress and trouble falling asleep. It’s important to allow yourself 8 hours for sleep at nighttime, no matter how busy you may be.

Stress, sleep and your health

People who have high, prolonged levels of stress have a higher risk of heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, stomach issues, and more. They are also more likely to grind or clench their teeth, which can lead to dental problems. That’s why it’s so important if you feel overly tense, to try different stress relief methods and to make getting plenty of sleep a high priority2.

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What Causes Asthma at Night?

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night?

Why asthma can wake you up at night

If you haven’t got your asthma under control, you’re more likely to get symptoms at night. But what causes these symptoms?

  1. When you lie flat on your back gravity makes it harder to breathe. This position can also trigger a cough, as any mucus in your chest may start to gather in the back of your throat.
  2. Changes in hormones at night mean that natural anti-inflammatory chemicals in your body are switched off. This can cause the tissues in your lungs to swell, which narrows the airways, making it harder to breathe. Taking your anti-inflammatory preventer inhaler every day will build up protection in your lungs so they become less inflamed at night.
  3. Some common asthma triggers such as dust mites can be found in your mattress, pillows and bedclothes. Mould can also be in your bedroom if it is damp. This can affect your breathing at night. If you like sleeping with your window open, you should also be aware that on high pollen or pollution days, these particles may enter the room.

What to do when asthma stops you sleeping

  1. Sit up straight and take your blue reliever inhaler, as prescribed.
  2. Prop yourself up with extra pillows as it allows your lungs to open up more fully when you breathe.
  3. If your asthma is made worse when the air in a room is too hot or too cold. Try to adjust the temperature to make sure you’re comfortable.
  4. A glass of water or a cup of herbal tea can help ease a dry throat.

How to stop asthma waking you at night in the long-term

You shouldn’t have to accept your night-time symptoms as normal. If your asthma is waking you up during the night it is a sign that your asthma isn’t well controlled. If the situation doesn’t change within 48 hours, or if you’re already taking your preventer inhaler as prescribed, talk to your GP or asthma nurse to see if they can adjust your medicines1.

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Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia’s impact on sleep

Sleep and fibromyalgia don’t go well together.

Sleep disturbances are very common for sufferers of the condition. While they may not have difficulty falling asleep, their sleep is likely to be light and easily disturbed so when they wake up they feel exhausted or unrested. These sleep disturbances can cause the feeling of constant fatigue and prevent the body from rejuvenation, which in turn leads to increased pain1.

The severe pain of this condition also means it is difficult to sleep. Research shows that the body has a lower tolerance to pain and discomfort with lack of sleep. Fibromyalgia patients must make every effort to minimise sleep disturbance.

Tips for creating a regular sleep routine:

  • Set fixed times for going to bed and waking up
  • Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Only retire to bed when you feel tired
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Avoid eating heavy meals late at night

 

How to create the best sleeping environment:

  • Use thick blinds/blackout blinds or wear an eye mask to keep out early morning light or street lamps
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Use earplugs if there is any noise disturbance
  • Avoid using laptops, watching television, eating, making phone calls or working while you’re in bed
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding suitable for the time of year

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Signs you have Fibromyalgia

Signs you have Fibromyalgia

What are the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia has many symptoms that tend to vary from person to person. The main symptom is a widespread pain throughout the body.

There may be periods when your symptoms will vary maybe getting worse and then getting better. This can depend on factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Changes in the weather
  • Physical activity

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Widespread Pain
    One of the main symptoms for fibromyalgia is likely to be a widespread pain. This may be felt throughout your body but could be worse in particular areas, such as your back or neck. The pain can feel like an ache, a sharp stabbing pain or a burning sensation.
  • Extreme Sensitivity
    Fibromyalgia can make you extremely sensitive to pain, and you may find that even being touched is painful. If you hurt yourself, the pain may continue for much longer than it normally would. You may also be sensitive to things such as smoke, certain foods and bright lights.
  • Stiffness
    Fibromyalgia can make you feel stiff. The stiffness may be most severe when you’ve been in the same position for a long period of time, meaning symptoms can be often worse in the morning. It can also cause your muscles to spasm, which is when they contract (squeeze) tightly and painfully.
  • Fatigue
    Fibromyalgia can cause fatigue. This can range from a mild, tired feeling to severe exhaustion. Fatigue may come on suddenly and can drain you of all your energy. 
  • Poor Sleep
    You may wake up feeling tired, even when you’ve had a good night’s rest. This is because Fibromyalgia can sometimes stop you from sleeping deeply enough to refresh yourself properly. This is often described as “non-restorative sleep.”
  • Cognitive Problems (Fibro-Fog)
    Cognitive problems are issues related to thinking and learning. If you have fibromyalgia, you may have trouble remembering and learning new things, problems with attention and concentration.
  • Headaches
    Due to the stiffness in your back and neck, you may also have frequent headaches. These can vary from mild to severe migraines.

Other symptoms:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Dizziness and clumsiness
  • Feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you’re not able to regulate your body temperature properly
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet
  • In women, unusually painful periods
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

If you are suffering from these symptoms it is important that you contact your GP for proper diagnosis and medical advice1.

Find out more about fibromyalgia here.

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