Reducing stress may act as a natural sleep aid

Reduce stress to enjoy a good night's sleep.In addition to too much caffeine, stress is a common cause of a poor night’s sleep. There are many natural and herbal sleep aids for sufferers to consider. Women’s Health magazine explains that the definition of “a good night’s sleep” has changed. Waking in the night should not be a cause for alarm; it is completely natural. However, the instant panic of waking in the middle of the night may cause stress and make sleep even more difficult.

Rethink a full night’s sleep
The deeper stage of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM), occurs about every 90 minutes. In between stages of REM, our brains may become more alert, which can cause you to awake. Rather than panic that you will not be able to fall back asleep, alleviate any physical annoyances – an ache or cramp, or needing to use the bathroom.

“Just as we experience a dip in alertness mid-afternoon, the inverse is a dip in sleepiness in the middle of the night,” associate director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center David Neubauer, M.D. told Women’s Health. “There’s strong evidence that there’s a kind of awakening that’s totally normal. Before the industrial revolution, people had their first sleep for three to four hours, awoke for an hour or two, then slept for another three or four hours.”

Simply knowing that it is natural to awake may prevent stress and make falling back asleep easier. Try not to look at the clock and panic. Instead, relax your mind to help you drift back to sleep naturally. In correlation with herbal sleep remedies, a bedtime routine can make this easier.

Have a bedtime routine
Relaxing your body in preparation for bed works as a natural sleep aid. Something as easy as stretching before bed will release tension and stress from your body. Yoga has great poses that may help you achieve relaxation. Performing these stretches before bedtime will allow your muscles relax and your brain to follow suit.

If you awake in the middle of the night or find yourself laying in bed for more than 15 minutes, try to relax. Performing your bedtime routine again may help. You might also want to leave the bedroom and take on a calming activity. Listening to soothing music or an activity such as knitting can help you to feel drowsy. Once you do, you should go back to bed and will likely find it easier (if not easy) to get back to sleep.

Try not to partake in stressful activities – like checking your email – prior to heading to bed. This may have the opposite effect on your brain. Dimming the lights in a room about an hour before you plan to get to sleep can also act as a natural sleep aid.

Herbal sleep remedies are another option to aid in a stress-free night’s sleep. You may find yourself having a difficult time sleeping due to stress if you have changed work schedules, suffered a traumatic event or are suffering from depression. It is important to get enough rest if you want to keep your mind, waistline and immune system in check.

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Carbohydrates: the all natural sleep aid

carbohydratesHaving trouble sleeping?

Natural sleep remedies such as Sleep Aid may help you get a good night’s rest. In addition, consider adding foods such as bread, pasta, apples and bananas – all high in carbohydrates – to your diet. Since carbs raise serotonin levels, it makes sense that a dinner full of these heavy foods would help you drift off to sleep. ABC News reports that snacks high in carbohydrates and low in protein may help the brain create tryptophan, as well.

This year, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania released a study showing that varied diets may help regulate a healthy sleep cycle. The team took a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. Everything, including a glass of water, was tracked in the diets of a group of the U.S. population that had a range of ages and demographics.

Those surveyed were split up by their sleep pattern – very short, short, standard or long. Researchers found that some of the top contributors to differences in the duration of sleep were proteins and carbs. The study showed that individuals with very short sleep patterns maintained diets that were low in total carbohydrate intake.

Other interesting data found through this study was that caloric intake ranged when it came to the amount of sleep people were getting. Those that were classified as short sleepers consumed the most amount of calories and long sleepers consumed the least.

So, for a dinner that’s eaten about four hours before bedtime, think potatoes or pasta (just not too much) if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. If you’re in need of a snack to help you sleep, try an apple or banana with peanut butter about 30 minutes before you got to bed.

Continue reading “Carbohydrates: the all natural sleep aid”

Lack of sleep can increase raise the risk of heart disease

Lack of sleep can increase health risks.With so much stress in today’s world from work, technology, family commitments and other obligations, it can be a challenge to get a good night’s sleep each evening. Luckily, there are herbal remedies that can help you fall asleep naturally because lack of sleep can have negative effects on your health.
A recent U.S. study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and be obese. Additionally, this is the first trial that looks at differences between racial and ethnic groups and learned that the effect is strongest among African and Hispanic Americans.
“This is important, since racial minorities are generally at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity,” study leader Dr. Michael Grandner told Reuters. “And if they also tend to have more sleep difficulties, that could be making things worse.”
The study took place at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers looked at data from a nationwide survey from 2008 and divided the results from more than 5,000 participants into three groups: very short sleepers getting less than five hours a night, short sleepers getting between five and six hours and long sleepers getting more than nine hours.
Through this, the researchers learned that very short and short sleep are associated with poor health. Very short sleepers have twice the likelihood of high blood pressure and high cholesterol compared to people sleeping seven or eight hours a night. Very short sleepers are also 75 percent more likely to develop diabetes and have a 50 percent higher chance of being obese. Similarly, short sleepers have a 20 percent greater risk of high blood pressure and obesity.
Grandner said that quantity of sleep isn’t solely what’s important. Other aspects like insomnia, sleep apnea and waking up a lot during the night could also be related to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Additionally, Kristen Knutson, who studies sleep and heart health at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine, told Reuters that there’s no consensus on the ideal amount of sleep for health. This is because there are variables that determine how much sleep different people need, but studies show most people need between seven and eight hours to be at their healthiest.
“Like most aspects of health, too little is bad for you and too much is also likely bad for you,” Grandner told Reuters. “It is hard to say that short sleep is worse than long – it’s just that we currently have a better idea of why short sleep is detrimental to health.”
Sleep better naturally If you have trouble getting enough sleep and need a natural sleep remedy, try Western Herbal and Nutrition’s Sleep Aid. It uses the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan. This is a precursor for o melatonin, a hormone involved in sleep patterns, and L-Tryptophan is the only substance that can be converted into serotonin to maximize sleep.