Video:Natural Remedies for Better Sleepwith Cathy Wong
Can't get a good night's sleep? There are many effective natural remedies for sleep trouble that do not involve counting sheep. Learn what these sleep remedies are and how to use them.See Transcript
Transcript:Natural Remedies for Better SleepHi, I'm Cathy Wong, your guide to Alternative Medicine on About.com.
Natural Sleep RemediesGetting a good night's sleep is just as important to our health as diet & exercise. Poor sleep can drain our energy, dampen our mood, and add to our stress. Over time, it can also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So if you're not sleeping as well as you could be, let's look at some natural remedies that may help.
Lavender as Sleep a RemedyThe soothing aroma of English lavender flowers has long been used as a folk remedy to help people fall asleep.
Research is beginning to confirm lavender's sedative properties. It's been found to lengthen total sleep time and improve sleep quality. Lavender appears to work better for women, possibly because women tend to have a more acute sense of smell.
The good thing about lavender is that it begins to work quickly. Try adding 6 drops of lavender oil to a bath--the drop in body temp that occurs after a warm bath also helps with sleep. Or, put a couple of drops of lavender oil on a handkerchief and tuck it under your pillow.
And speaking of pillows, if hot flashes are keeping you up, many people find this cooling foam pillow insert, called a Chillow, helps to absorb excess body heat throughout the night.
Light Therapy as a Natural Sleep RemedyIf you have trouble falling asleep, you may need more light early in the morn. Light exposure plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. So try taking a walk first thing in the morning. On the other hand, if you find you're waking up too early in the morning, you may need more afternoon light. Try taking a walk in the late afternoon. Just be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from getting damaged by the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation as a Sleep RemedyProgressive muscle relaxation is one of the most promising natural sleep remedies. Studies suggest it may shorten the time to fall asleep & help you get back to sleep if you've woken up during the night.
Best part is, it's easy to learn. Here's how to do it: Lie down. Start at your feet. Inhale deeply & sense the weight of your toes. Focus on any tension in them. Now exhale & let all the tension quickly leave your toes. Allow that relaxed feeling to push out any tension that's left. Move on to your feet, calves, knees, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, chest, hands, upper arms, shoulders, neck, head, mouth, jaw, eyes, face & cheeks. Some people find it helpful to physically clench each set of muscles for 4 to 10 seconds as they inhale and then allow those muscles to go limp as they exhale.
Music as a Sleep RemedySoft, slow music is another remedy that can help to improve sleep without med. It's been found to improve sleep quality, decrease nightly awakenings, lengthen sleep time and increase satisfaction with sleep.
Valerian as a Natural Sleep RemedyValerian is a herb that has been used as a natural sleep aid in Europe for decades. Unlike many other sleep meds, valerian is not believed to be addictive or to cause grogginess in the morn. But it doesn't work for everyone. And although studies in labs have been encouraging, clinical trials are inconclusive. Valerian takes about 2 to 3 weeks to work. It shouldn't be used for more than 3 months at a time. It's typically taken 1 hour before bed. Although rare, valerian may cause headache, palpitations, and dizziness. It shouldn't be taken with alcohol, many medications such as sedatives, before or after surgery or by people with liver disease.
Before You Use a Sleep RemedyIf you're having trouble falling asleep, the first step is to consult your Doctor. Talk with him/her about any remedies before you try it.
Chronic insomnia can also be a symptoms of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes, another reason why it's important to be assessed.
Thanks for watching. To learn more about Alternative Medicine, please visit us on the web at Altmedicine.About.com.
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