Millions of people across the world have a tough time falling asleep. 14% of the global population suffers from sleeping problems. According to the reports published by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines, every year the United States experience the GDP loss of $16 billion per year due to employees’ poor efficiency and productivity. It has been found that most of these workers suffer from mild to severe insomnia. In 2008, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 28 % of American citizens suffer from apnea. Sleeplessness can occur due to many factors, such as emotional stress, responsibilities, and work related tensions. Or it could be certain medications or chronic medical conditions that can contribute to sleeplessness. Consumption of alcohol, junk foods, caffeine or nicotine or usage of computers, cell phones or TV before bed-time can make it arduous to fall asleep. There are medications to treat sleeping disorder and natural herbs that can help one relax and indulge in a refreshing sleep. Herbs are natural but one should take them after talking to a medical expert, as otherwise they can have adverse effects on health.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is one of the most commonly used herbs for treating insomnia and sleep disorders. Valerian contains multiple active compounds such as alkaloids (shyanthine, chatinine, actinidine, valerine, and valerianine), isovaleramide, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), isovaleric acid, iridoids (isovaltrate and valtrate), valerenic acid and flavanones(6-methylapigenin, hesperidin, and linarin). Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) acts like a sedative on the brain and central nervous system. Even though, Valerian is considered safe, it must be used with caution. Regular dosage of 600 mg or less is considered safe. Over consumption of valerian (more than 900 mg) may cause daytime drowsiness and have an adverse effect on the power of concentration. Every person encompasses a totally different sensitivity and can experiment with what proportion of valerian tincture works for them. Pregnant and nursing females and kids beneath the age of three and should avoid this herb.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a common herb used to stimulate sleep, treat anxiety and mental stress. According to National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Chamomile is rich in wide variety of active ingredients such as terpene bisabolol, chamazulene, farnesene, flavonoids (quercetin, apigenin, patuletin and luteolin) and coumarin. Terpene bisabolol is responsible for inducing sleep. People allergic to chrysanthemums, ragweed, marigolds, and daisies must avoid Chamomile. Common reaction symptoms include skin irritations, rashes, shortness of breath, throat swelling, and chest pain. These symptoms must be addressed with prompt medical attention.
Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is an intoxicating pepper, native to the Pacific. Both leaves and roots are used in traditional medicine for inducing sleep. The extract, made from pulverized root, has relaxing and soporific effect. However, Kava does not cause a hangover. Kava is impregnated with at least 15 active psychoactive ingredients including kavalactones (a type of lactone compound). The kavalactones stimulate Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity but do not alter levels of serotonin and dopamine in the central nervous system. Additionally, desmethoxyyangonin (a category of kavalactone) increases dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. This is responsible for causing euphoric mood amongst the users. Although this herb aids in managing insomnia, there are issues concerning “liver injury”. It is still unclear whether the herb kava itself causes liver injury or it solely occurs when kava is mixed with different medication or herbs.
Dream pillows are also called comfort pillows. Characteristically, these pillows are filled with relaxing aromatic herbs like lavender, hops, rosemary and passionflower which helps to calm frayed nerves and induce sound sleep like a baby. These days, you can easily make a dream pillow for yourself or others.
To read on herbs that can help with different ailments, click below: