Nature’s Sleeping Pills: Guide to Alternative Sleep Therapies
Gone are the days of warm milk, sleeping pills and cough syrup, now that a wide array of natural sleeping aids and treatments have become more available in recent years. Although you may enjoy indulging in your annual turkey feast in order to get a dose of tryptophan, the effects are only temporary.
According to sources at Ambien Addiction Treatment, and anybody who has taken the sleeping pill, this prescription drug gives the user an extremely high risk of dependency and addiction when taken long term. Since Ambien is only intended for short-term use and not for the treatment of chronic insomnia, users will also experience the drug’s harmful side effects without getting any relief from the underlying issues that may be causing their insomnia.
Herbal sleep remedies such as Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) and Melatonin, a hormone that is synthesized by the pineal gland in humans, are both perfect alternatives to prescription medications. Although both of these supplements are safer options for the chronic insomniac, it’s important to know that they affect everyone’s sleep cycle differently, just like traditional medication.
Another healthy option is the practice of moxibustion or the use of “moxa stick” as it’s commonly referred to in the West. This is the use of the Chinese herb mugwort which is placed and burned at specific points during the practice of acupuncture. Later in this article, I will be touching on the important facts of this practice which you can find at your local acupuncture clinic or wholistic centre.
Valerian root – A Supplement for a Regular Sleep Cycle
Valerian root is an herbal supplement that can greatly benefit the sleep-deprived when it is taken regularly by the right person over an extended period of time. According to Can’t Sleep, after a person has been taking Valerian on a long-term basis, it will gradually help them fall into a more regular sleep pattern.
This herbal sleeping aid also doesn’t work instantly and is not always effective for everyone. While some people may notice an improvement in their sleep automatically, others will take it everyday without noticing any change at all.
Sources at Can’t Sleep also state that Valerian can produce maximum results when taken as a tea. Users should make a habit of drinking Valerian tea every night before bed. It may take at least a month for the effects to kick in.
Valerian root isn’t always safe for everyone without the possibility of side effects to occur. Can’t Sleep also reported that the most common side effect of taking Valerian is excitability. If you begin to get racing thoughts after taking Valerian, it’s important to stop taking the supplement right away.
Melatonin- A Hormone that Promotes Sleep with Possible Health Risks
Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone in humans which regulates the sleep cycle, also produces excellent results when taken as a supplement. It is perhaps best known as a treatment for the symptoms associated with jet lag. According to Melatonin Faq, Melatonin reduces the time it takes to establish a normal sleep pattern as well as the time it takes to fall asleep. Since jet lag interrupts a person’s normal sleep pattern, taking Melatonin at bedtime will help restore the body’s biological clock.
Since the body produces more Melatonin when a user is in darker surroundings, it’s important to take it when you are in a darkened or dimly-lit room.
Although Melatonin is extremely effective in improving one’s sleep cycle and appears to be relatively harmless, there are a certain number of dangerous side effects and health risks to be aware of when you take the supplement.
According to Melatonin Faq, some of the common side effects include an increased heart rate, chest pain and headaches. Being woken up in the middle of the night with a pain in your chest can be frightening, especially after you’ve taken a supplement to help you fall asleep. In order to relieve this symptom, you should either decrease the dose or stop taking it altogether.
Melatonin Faq also states that individuals who have Diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or depression should consult their physician before taking Melatonin due to the certain health risks that may occur.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion- An Effective Treatment for Insomnia
The practice of acupuncture with moxibustion is a healthy and safe alternative treatment for a number of ailments including asthma, arthritis, depression and of course insomnia. Since ancient times, Chinese practitioners have increased the effectivity of this practice by using moxibustion, a practice that involves the burning of mugwort at specific acupuncture points.
Now that the practice has spread over to the Western world, the use of the “moxa stick” in acupuncture clinics has become more prevalent. Wrapped in a cigar-like stick, the moxa is burned and placed a half inch above the acupuncture point. Toni Balfour at Balfour Healing explains that this instantaneous use of moxibustion along with the needle increases the therapeutic effect of the selected acupuncture point.
Practitioners at Acupuncture School Online have argued for the importance of Acupuncture as a healthy and safe treatment for insomnia. Since insomnia is a disorder that causes a disturbance in the harmony of one’s body, acupuncture can bring balance to your central nervous system by reducing your stress hormones. According to Mo at Acupuncture School Online, it may take several treatments to begin to work but once it does, you should no longer need to rely on any herbal supplements to help you fall asleep.
So, insomniacs, it’s now time to go out and find the treatment that’s guaranteed to give you a pleasant night of slumber. Busy minds need rest so remember to toss those sleeping pills and that bottle of Nyquil in the trash, tuck into bed and say goodbye to those restless nights of tossing and turning.