Insomnia is a common complaint. One-third of adults have reported getting inadequate amounts of sleep, according to the CDC. This is cause for concern because of the association between insomnia and health ailments. But there are natural ways to combat insomnia that don’t involve taking drugs.
How Dangerous Is Insomnia?
Insufficient sleep is associated with higher rates in these conditions.
- Heart attack
- Coronary heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
Another risk of poor sleep is car accidents. The CDC estimated that in 2013 driving while sleepy resulted in 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths. It is believed that these statistics are underestimated, and the problem could be much worse.
Adults require at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimum health. While many people are reporting difficulty sleeping, a relatively low percentage are turning to prescription sleeping medications. Only about 4% of adults reported recent use of drugs to combat insomnia.
When the typical advice of employing good sleep hygiene and avoiding caffeine late in the day is not effective, there are natural methods that can be tried.
Supplements for Better Sleep
Low Magnesium is associated with frequent waking, less time spent in stage 5 REM sleep, and poor sleep quality. People taking a Magnesium supplement have reported that they are able to fall asleep faster and sleep for a more extended period of time.
However, too much Magnesium can result in diarrhea. Magnesium also interacts with certain medications, so you should check with your health care provider if this is a potential concern for individuals.
Melatonin is a hormone made in the pineal gland. It is a popular supplement for sleep troubles. Research supports its use to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, sleep for a longer duration, and increase sleep efficiency.
Valerian is an herbal supplement that has been researched on its impact on sleep. Participants who took it reported that they slept better. However, the researchers of a meta-analysis that looked at the results of eighteen randomized controlled trials stated that there is currently not enough objective data to support it. They called for more studies that utilize those types of measures.
Some people swear by the effectiveness of acupuncture to cure their insomnia. There have been numerous studies done on it. However, the studies have been of poor quality.
There are many benefits attributed to the practice of yoga. It is another topic that has been extensively studied for its impact on sleep. A meta-analysis looked at the data from nineteen studies that involved a total of 1832 participants.
“Yoga intervention in women can be beneficial when compared to non-active control conditions in terms of managing sleep problems,” the authors concluded.
Essential Oils have become all the rage for just about anything that ails you. While some claims have not stood up under the scrutiny of scientific research, a meta-analysis did find that inhaled essential oils had a positive effect on sleep. Lavender is the most common essential oil employed as a sleep aid.
Due to the risks of prescription medications, many people want to try natural alternatives. These are some of the options that they can experiment with.
Natural Ways to Combat Insomnia — Sources
CDC – Sleep
BMC Psychiatry – The effect of yoga on sleep quality and insomnia in women with sleep problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis
National Library of Medicine — Acupuncture for Insomnia?
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine – A Systematic Review of the Effect of Inhaled Essential Oils on Sleep
Evidence-Based Use of Supplements – Insomnia: Clinically proven natural alternatives for treating insomnia