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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT HERBAL AND NATURAL SLEEP AIDS…

Sleep is essential it can help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay, heal your body, help keep you alert, help with your brain development, help with your memory, help with your immune system and for the younger ones their physical growth.

But, if like me you are also taking a gambit of other medication for your health conditions, most of which say may cause drowsiness, how do you decide if it is safe to take any extra medication to help you sleep, or is the best route to simply take natural products?

Even though sleep is an essential part of life, many people do not receive enough sleep or do not get the type of quality sleep they require. One of the most common approaches to assisting with sleep is to use some type of medication, such as a prescription or over-the-counter drug.

All medicines that are designed to help sleep have potential side effects just like pain medications. Common side effects says World Health include :

  •  Being drowsy the day after using the medication
  •  Experiencing aches and pains following use
  •  Issues with concentration, dizziness, unsteadiness, dry mouth, and even rebound insomnia

And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, some risks are very serious and these include:

  • Tolerance to the effects of sleep medications
  •  Negative interactions with other types of drugs
  •  Cannot sleep without them
  •  Potential to induce physical dependence
  •  Sleep medications are notorious drugs of abuse

Some of the most natural/herbal products you can use to help you sleep which should not lead to any side effects include Melatonin which is a hormone which your body produces naturally, and can be useful in promoting drowsiness in some situations. It does not have significant use in treating formal sleep disorders.

Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that is part of the building blocks for the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may be important in sleep.

Valerian root is an herb that has been used for many years to treat anxiety and insomnia. Great as a cup of tea. Valerian one of the most of the most commonly used sleep-promoting herbal supplement. Another tea is chamomile tea can induce feelings of sleepiness and may help you fall asleep faster. The plant extract contains apigenin, a chemical compound that induces sleepiness when it binds to the GABA receptors in the brain. 

Kava is a small shrub that has been used for many years as a medicinal substance and is purported to promote sleep. Kava has a calming effect, producing brain wave changes similar to changes that occur with calming medicines such as diazepam (Valium, for example). Kava also can prevent convulsions and relax muscles. Although kava is not habit-forming, its effect may decrease with use. Kava’s calming effect may relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension or spasm. Kava may also relieve pain.

Always remember to check with your GP before taking any herbal or natural supplement to aid your sleep.

Source : World Health Sleep Foundation Healthline Insider and uofmehealth

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