Insomnia can be beaten with nutritional supplements that have no side effects and will help you get back to sleep and peace of mind.
Insomnia: fighting it with supplements
Insomnia affects one in three people for a variety of reasons, not always easy to identify. The term insomnia does not only refer to the inability to fall asleep, but also to night-time phases of wakefulness and frequent premature waking. When insomnia is caused by anxiety or nervousness, it disappears after a few nights to a few weeks. But if it is chronic, it can last for months or even years.
The causes of insomnia are often difficult to identify. Poor eating habits, an unbalanced lifestyle and even an uncomfortable mattress can be just as responsible as physical pain, a serious illness or poorly tolerated medical treatment. Tension, anxiety and depression are very often to blame. Finding the cause of insomnia often requires complex investigations.
In the meantime, insomniacs often find sleep again thanks to several nutritional supplements that have no side effects. Find out which ones.
The benefits of nutritional supplements to combat insomnia
Taken 45 minutes before bedtime, the following supplements should have an immediate effect. Taking more than one at a time is safe unless otherwise stated, but trying them separately will help you decide which one is best for you.
- Sleep disturbances are sometimes caused by deficiencies of such things as calcium, magnesium or vitamin B6 and often disappear when supplements are taken.
- Niacin, a B vitamin (also available as nicotinamide), helps to calm anxiety when taken with vitamin B6.
- Lithotamnion, a highly mineralised seaweed, provides small amounts of natural lithium, which helps regulate brain cell activity by inducing sleep.
- Many studies have demonstrated the sedative properties of valerian. In some cases, it works even better when combined with chamomile, kawa or passion flower. Taken in capsule, tablet, herbal tea or tincture form, these plants have a relaxing effect.
St. John's wort, taken as a tablet, can have a remarkable effect.
Recommended supplements for insomnia
Dose: 1 cup of herbal tea made with 2 teaspoons of dried plant.
Note: can be safely combined every night with other sedative supplements.
Dose: 250 to 500 mg of extract.
Caution: take before bedtime, starting with the lowest dose and increasing as needed.
Dose: 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium per day.
Note: take in the evening with a meal; do not take magnesium if you have kidney disease.
Vitamin B6/ niacin
Dose: 5 mg vitamin B6 and 30 mg niacin (nicotinamide).
Namely: to be taken together with the evening meal.
Dose: 250 mg extract.
Caution: extract with at least 30% Kavalactones; to be taken before bedtime.
Dose: 2 x 450 mg tablets 2 to 3 times a day.
Note: take after lunch only.
Dose: 2 x 500 mg tablets to be taken before meals.
What else can be done to overcome insomnia?
Californian poppy, hops, lemon balm, verbena, lime and wild lettuce are also on the list of plants that act against insomnia. Prepare an herbal tea, to be taken at bedtime, by infusing 10 g of one of these dried plants or a mixture of several in 200 ml of boiling water for 10 minutes and filter the liquid obtained.
You can also :
- Always go to bed at the same time, even at the weekend.
- Only lie in bed to sleep - not to read or watch TV.
- Exercise regularly to combat stress, except at the end of the day.
- Abstain from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
- Practice meditation during the day and at bedtime.
- Take a long hot bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil before going to bed.
- Drink warm milk sweetened with honey before going to bed.
Consult a doctor if your insomnia persists
Caution: if you are under medical treatment, consult your doctor before taking supplements, or :
- If you have been suffering from insomnia for more than 1 month for no apparent reason.
- If your problems are due to a serious event, such as bereavement or loss of employment.
- If you feel tired and often doze off during the day.
- If you are so exhausted that you are unable to lead a normal life.
Other interesting information about insomnia
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted over a 16-week period on 43 healthy subjects aged 50-76 with moderate sleep problems, walking briskly for 40 minutes 4 times a week not only helped you fall asleep quickly, but also helped you sleep well all night.
The effectiveness of valerian against insomnia has been the subject of over 200 studies. The Swiss authors of one study found that people who took it fell asleep faster and slept longer than those who were given a placebo.
Avoid taking natural remedies that encourage sleep along with sleeping pills, as you may experience untimely drowsiness. Also avoid stimulating herbs such as ginseng, kola nut and ginger, as they prevent sleep.
Turkey meat is particularly rich in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. No wonder you feel sleepy after a Christmas meal...