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Posts Tagged "insomnia"

How to help with Christmas stress

The run up to Christmas unfortunately brings about stress and panic in many people. This can be related to family pressures, financial problems or work pressures. To make matters worse, this is usually the time of the year when most of us are generally slightly run down due to the shorter days and lack of vitamin D. Whilst, natural remedies cannot remove or treat the cause of the Christmas stress, they can help you cope in the short term. These natural remedies and supplements can help your body to remain in a state of harmony and in turn help you to get through the stressful Christmas period. The following natural remedies are available at most pharmacies and health food stores. Vitamin B Complex is a supplement that has multiple benefits. B vitamins help to nourish and maintain a healthy nervous system. This group of vitamins also help to support the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing the stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, DHEA, ephinephrine). Ginseng is a Chinese herb that has adaptogenic properties. Adaptogenic herbs help to support the body through times of stress (physical or mental). Ginseng is available as a capsule, tablet or liquid. This herb is sometimes combined with multivitamins in a single preparation. Please consult your pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications. Other adaptogenic herbs are astragalus, rhodiola and ashwagandha, which is often referref to as “Indian Ginseng”. All of these adaptogenic herbs can help to maintain good immune function and help the body through times of stress. Please consult with your pharmacist if you take regular prescription medication before taking these herbs. Valerian and Passiflora are herbal remedies that are available as tinctures or combined tablets, such as Kalms Stress, Quiet Life or Stressless. Bach Flower remedies such as Nelson’s Rescue Remedy or Ainsworths Emergency Spray and Recovery Remedy provide can help you get through stressful periods. Magnesium supplements can help to relieve insomnia that may be caused to excessive stress and fatigue. This supplement works be relaxing muscle tension and aiding good quality sleep. Theanine is an amino acid that is naturally found green tea leaves. This amino acid has gained in popularity over recent years as a supplement to...

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Natural Supplements for Insomnia

Insomnia is a very common condition that can contribute to other health conditions and affect work and personal life. People usually turn to natural medicine for the treatment of insomnia after trying conventional medicine. The main problem with conventional medicine is the side effects, which can range from dry mouth, headaches and daytime drowsiness. These medicines are also very addictive and it can be very difficult to come off these drugs.  Long-term insomnia is associated with a number of heath concerns such as weight gain, depression and can speed up the ageing process. There are many natural supplements for insomnia that are easily available. The natural approach to treating insomnia is therefore a better option, and there are many therapies and alternative medicines to choose from. If you are taking prescription medication, please consult your G.P or pharmacist as these medicines could be causing your sleep problems or they may interact with the alternative medicines. Insomnia can also be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as depression, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, anxiety, stress or diabetes. A lack of regular exercise and a diet high in sugar and salt can also contribute to sleep problems. Natural Alternative Sleep Remedies There are many natural sleep remedies that have been shown to be beneficial.  One therapy may be more beneficial than another for the individual person, so please do not give up if you find that the first therapy that you try doesn’t help you.  Please consult your pharmacist if you are taking any regular medication before taking these natural supplements, as there is a possibility that they may interact with your medications. VALERIAN This is a traditional herbal medicine that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and sleep problems. Research has shown that Valerian can increase levels of the neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). This is associated with a decrease in CNS (central nervous system) activity, which results in better quality sleep. This herb is not believed to be addictive or cause drowsiness in the morning (unlike many conventional sleeping pills). Valerian has also been shown to treat mild anxiety, which could be responsible for the insomnia. Valerian comes in the form of liquid, teas, capsules or...

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Natural alternatives to sleeping pills

Natural alternatives to sleeping pills

One industry that has grown during the last few years of the economic downturn is the pharmaceutical sector. Latest figures show that the NHS is spending £50 million pounds a year on sleeping pills. The economic downturn is causing more people to have stress related insomnia, resulting in the increased prescribing of these medicines. But there are natural alternatives to sleeping pills which should be considered by insomnia sufferers. One of the major side effects of sleeping pills & drugs are that they are highly addictive. People can become hooked on these drugs very easily. Drugs that are commonly prescribed for insomnia include zolpidem, zopiclone, nitrazepam and temazepam. These drugs all have side effects which include digestive disturbances, nightmares, drowsiness the following day, confusion and nightmares. These drugs are only recommended for short term use, but in my experience patients tend to stay on them for months and years without a break. This causes patients to become dependent and even addicted to these drugs. There are however natural and safe alternatives to help treat this condition, without causing addiction. So what are the natural alternatives to sleeping pills? Regular exercise is an excellent way to relax and results in a more relaxed sleep. This has the added benefit of feeling energised the following day. You should try and make exercise a part of your daily routine. This can range from walking, running, strength training,playing sports or exercises such as yoga or pilates. Caffeine is a well known stimulant and the simple measure of avoiding caffeinated drinks such as coffee, fizzy drinks and tea can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. You should ideally leave a gap of around four hours between having your last caffeinated drink of the day and bedtime. Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid) is a B vitamin that helps to support the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are depleted at times of stress (both physical and emotional). These glands are responsible for producing hormones that are essential for certain body functions. Stress can cause an imbalance of these hormones, which leads to a feeling of being rundown or even “burnt out”. It is therefore very important to supplement with Vitamin B5 at times of stress. This...

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Is homeopathy an alternative to traditional sleeping tablets?

Is homeopathy an alternative to traditional sleeping tablets?

Sleeping tablets that are commonly prescribed for thousands of people in the UK have been linked with a higher risk of death. An American study in the BMJ Open analysed more than 10,000 patients taking sleeping tablets such as temazepam. These patients were compared to 23,000 similar patients not taking these drugs. The death rate among the group taking sleeping tablets was about four times higher. Experts say that these findings point to a potential risk, although the absolute risk was still relatively low. Experts say that patients should not be alarmed and not to stop their medication, but they should discuss any concerns with their doctor or pharmacist. Guidelines actually recommend that sleeping tablets such as temazepam should only be taken for a short period. This is because of the risk of dependency that these drugs cause. Through my work as a pharmacist, I have seen many repeat prescriptions of sleeping tablets such as temazepam and zopiclone. These drugs are very often prescribed every month on an ongoing basis. This is obviously not ideal, and patients do become dependent on these drugs. These figures give an idea of the amount of sleeping tablets that are taken in England. In 2010, there were 2.8 million prescriptions of temazepam, 5.3 million for zopiclone, and 725,000 for zolpidem. These stats may sound alarming, but they highlight the growing problem of anxiety and insomnia. There are plenty of natural remedies to help with sleep, which do not cause dependence and have not been linked to a higher risk of death. VALERIAN This is a traditional herbal medicine that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and sleep problems. Research has shown that Valerian can increase levels of the neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). This is associated with a decrease in CNS (central nervous system) activity, which results in better quality sleep. Valerian is frequently combined with other herbs such as Avena Sativa, Humulus Lupulus, Passiflora and Lemon Balm. PASSIFLORA This herb is traditionally used as a sedative and relaxant. Passiflora is non-addictive and will not cause drowsiness the following morning. This herbal medicine helps to relive both the emotional and physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by relaxing...

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Cherry Juice for Insomnia

Cherry Juice for Insomnia

Scientists have discovered that drinking cherry juice can help both the quality and duration of sleep. This may seem like good news for those with a sweet tooth, but only a sour type of the juice has this beneficial effect. The research was conducted at the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University. The researchers found that Montmorency cherry juice increases levels of melatonin. Melatonin is the main hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s circadian cycle. The circadian rhythm is an internal body clock that plays an essential role when we fall asleep and wake up. Our bodies produce more melatonin when it is dark (night-time) and less in day light. The volunteers were given a 30ml dose of the sour cherry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for seven days. The volunteers were also fitted with sensors to monitor their sleep patterns. The cherry juice group resulted in an increase of around 25 minutes in their total sleep time, and 16 percent increase in the quality of their sleep. These results could benefit many people, who have difficulty with sleep due to work patterns or jet lag. This simple remedy could reduce the reliance on sleeping pills, which generally have many undesirable side effects. Melatonin is currently not available to buy over the counter in the UK, although it is available in many other countries. Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Centre for Sleep Research, School of Life Sciences, said ‘What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response.’ We hope you found this article on the benefits of cherry juice for insomnia useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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The Art of Sleep

The Art of Sleep

OK, so you know about the importance of diet and exercise to a healthy lifestyle – but have you thought about your sleeping habits? “A lot of people are very focussed on the eating and exercise aspects of healthy living,” says sleep expert Professor Chris Idzikowski, “yet the importance of sleep is often overlooked – despite the fact we’re doing it for up to a third of each day!.” We need a good night’s sleep to give us the energy and enthusiasm to make the most of everyday living – yet, just as we can get into bad driving habits over time without knowing it, so, too, we can get into bad sleep habits which affect our sleep quality and prevent us from firing on all cylinders. The consequences are not just lack of energy or general tiredness – which is bad enough: it can be life threatening. Recent research has revealed that a significant proportion of car accidents are caused by people falling asleep at the wheel. The occasional night without enough sleep can fairly easily be rectified.  But if sleep deprivation (through poor sleep quality as well as lack of quantity) mounts up, you’ll find it more difficult to make decisions, you’ll make more mistakes, be more short tempered, more easily depressed, have slower reflexes, be more susceptible to minor illnesses – the list is considerable. Many people complain of lack of sleep or insomnia. Often the solution is quite simply achieved through adjusting your sleep environment and sleep habits. In fact people are often getting more sleep than they think – it’s just not the restful, quality sleep they need. Sometimes sleep problems can be caused by exterior factors which need to be dealt with in their own right. These might be emotional or psychological (severe stress, bereavement, depression, anxiety) or physical (due to illness, medical conditions such as asthma or back problems, medication, etc). A few people suffer from specific sleep illnesses – the two most common are sleep apnea, which is a breathing problem associated with snoring, and narcolepsy which causes people to fall asleep uncontrollably. Both require expert attention but are treatable. But for most of us it’s back to the drawing board...

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Homeopathic remedies for insomnia

Insomnia is defined as persistant sleeplessness. It is usually only a temporary condition, and is normally related to issues such as working long hours, smoking, stress, alcohol, prescription medication, diet, anxiety or grief. Other causes of insomnia are PMS, menopause, acidity or indigestion. The choice of homeopathic remedy will be dependent on the cause of the insomnia.  Lack of good quality sleep or insomnia can lead to lack of concentration, irritability and even depression. There are no guidelines on how much sleep is enough, as some people can function on 5 hours a night while others require up to 10 hours sleep a night. Chronic insomnia may be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition, so it would be recommended to see your G.P. Specific Homeopathic Remedies for Insomnia The indicated homeopathic remedies should be taken 1 hour before going to bed. The dose can be repeated after an hour and if woken in the middle of the night. These homeopathic remedies provide a natural alternative to conventional sleep tablets, without the side effects. The remedies should be taken in the 30c potency. The remedies mentioned below are all natural and are safe for the whole family. Coffea. This natural remedy is very good for insomnia caused by overactivity of the mind, as the result of good or bad news. It could also be due to excitement and an inability to switch off from the day. The person may be oversensitive to noise, touch, or smell. Nux vomica is the homeopathic remedy of choice if the insomnia is due to working long hours, mental strain, overindulgence in rich food or alcohol. The person may fall asleep without a problem but will awake between 3 to 4am. This remedy should be considered if the person is irritable during the day and cant switch off from work. Arsenicum Alb. This homeopathic remedy if the person wakes between midnight and 2am. The person may be generally very anxious or worried. Cocculus should be taken if the person has insomnia due to working at nights, or shift work. This homeopathic remedy is also very good to treat insomnia that is due to jet-lag. The person may have dizziness and be irritable. Ignatia is an...

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Top Tips for a Healthy Sleep

There are many life style changes that we can incorporate into our daily routines to help promote a good quality sleep. A healthy sleep has many health benefits, ranging from a better level of general health, improved concentration, increased energy, improved mood as well as the cosmetic benefits of looking younger and healthier. Caffeine is a well known stimulant and the simple measure of avoiding caffeinated drinks such as coffee, fizzy drinks and tea can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. You should ideally leave a gap of around four hours between having your last caffeinated drink of the day and bedtime. Leave a gap of at least two to three hours after eating a heavy meal before bedtime. The process of digestion can affect sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or broken sleep. Eating late at night can also contribute to other digestive problems such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Certain foods can also act as a stimulant and should not be eaten close to bedtime. Foods such as cheese, chocolate, bacon, sausages, wine and tomatoes contain the amino acid Tyramine. Tyramine causes a release of the norepinephrine, which is a brain stimulant that can keep you awake. Regular exercise is an excellent way to relax and results in a more relaxed sleep. This has the added benefit of feeling energised the following day. You should try and make exercise a part of your daily routine. This can range from walking, running, strength training, playing sports or exercises such as yoga or pilates. Some medications can actually alter and interfere with sleeping patterns. If you are starting treatment with a new medication it is very important to read the patient information leaflet to check the side effects. Over the counter flu medications that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephredrine, can cause increased alertness and stimulation. If you are taking these medications you should leave a gap of three to four hours before bedtime. Other medications that can affect sleep are antidepressants, antihistamines and some slimming medications. Please consult your G.P or pharmacist if you have any concerns about your medications. Conventional sleep medications can affect your sleep patterns and make it very difficult to fall asleep naturally. This...

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