Natural Options for Better Sleep

by Wellness Editor – MH

We hear people all the time say things like, “Oh, I only need a couple hours a night” or “I will sleep when I die.” Well, the research demonstrates that if you don’t get enough sleep while you are on this earth, you will “sleep” earlier than expected. Lack of sleep is linked to numerous diseases including, cancer, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and the list continues to grow. There are natural solutions that can help us cope with our hectic lifestyle. Below are a few natural substances that we have found to be very helpful with sleep challenges.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa and has been used for things such at repellant for mosquitoes, an anti-bacterial agent, and as an anti-viral herb. Lemon balm is typically found in a tea form or as an herbal extract. It is also an excellent anxiolytic (a natural stress and anxiety reliever) and used to help with relaxation and sleep challenges. You can find Lemon Balm Tea at your local grocery or health food store.

Valerian

Valerian is also a natural substance that has been shown to help with sleep disorders and overall stress. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed valerian for insomnia. It is very powerful and should be used with caution. Like many natural substances and even drugs, there are scientific studies that show valerain to be an effective treatment for sleep disorders while others have shown that there was no effect. Several of us at Natural Knowledge 24/7™ have used valerian both as a tea and as an extract and have found it to be very effective to help with sleep challenges.

L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea plants. It has been reported both anecdotally and in studies that it creates a sense of relaxation or calmness within 30 minutes a human of consuming it. Research also demonstrated that L-Theanine does not make people drowsy but has been shown to counteract the negative side effects of caffeine. So, why would we mention it to help with sleep? L-Theanine is a common ingredient in many dietary supplements intended to help people with sleeping challenges. Since it is also derived from tea, you will see many herbal teas intended for sleep with L-Theanine.

Lavender

Lavender is an herb in the mint family. Lavender is derived from the Latin name Lavare, which means “to wash” since its aroma is so clean. Lavender, or specifically lavender oil, has had many reported health benefits including helping lessen nervous tension, relieve pain, and enhance blood circulation. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on lavender has been reported to help induce sleep and also lengthen your time sleeping. It is commonly believed that lavender helps your muscles relax so that you can decrease your metabolic activity. Massaging a couple drops of lavender oil on your shoulders and neck can be very soothing. This may release tryptophan which sets of a chain reaction of increasing tryptophan that increases your serotonin levels which creates melatonin.

Lectucarium

Lettuce may beneficial in the treatment of insomnia as it contains a sleep-inducing substance, called ‘lectucarium’. There is evidence that lettuce seeds were used as early as the Ancient Egyptians, and was introduced as a drug in the United States as early as 1799. It is described and was standardized in the 1898 edition of the United States Pharmacopoeia for use in lozenges, tinctures, and syrups as a mild sleeping aid.

Like many natural alternatives, there has been a lot of debate on whether lettuce seeds provide you with relief or if it’s just ‘nonsense’.  There’s not been much research on lettuce in the last 70 years but the seed of ordinary lettuce is still used in some Far East countries. Creating a tea from lettuce seeds is the most popular form of relief today.

Quick Tip

Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in the evening

  • These are stimulants that can keep you awake.
  • Smokers often experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and smoking in bed is dangerous.
  • Avoid caffeine for eight hours before your planned bedtime. Your body doesn’t store caffeine, but it takes many hours to eliminate the stimulant and its effects.
  • A lthough often believed to be a sedative, alcohol actually disrupts sleep.
  • D on’t smoke! Nicotine is a stimulant and can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

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