With daylight saving finishing this month, the body’s sleep cycle has the potential to become unsettled. Everyone suffers from insomnia occasionally, but for many insomnia is an ongoing problem and can affect people of all ages, including children.
Herbal medicine has traditionally been used to promote sleep and calm the nervous system. Chamomile, a gentle but effective herb, is particularly suitable for children, whilst passionflower, Californian poppy, valerian, hops, kava, skullcap and Withania have stronger sedative and hypnotic actions.
If insomnia is due to stress, supporting the adrenal glands during the day with adaptogenic herbs can help balance cortisol and adrenaline production, which otherwise can interfere with sleep. (Herbs are available in capsules, tinctures or even as a lovely cup of tea before bed. A specific herbal tincture can be formulated for you by one of our in-store naturopaths).
If an overactive mind is preventing you from falling asleep, Bach flower essence White Chestnut may reduce unwanted thoughts and mind chatter. Kali Phos, a potentised tissue salt, supports a sensitive nervous system, reducing symptoms of nervousness, anxiety, and worry.
Stress, shift work and travel can affect the production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. Tart cherry juice contains naturally occurring melatonin and is also available in homoeopathic form. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), from the Griffonia simplicifolia plant, acts as a precursor to serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical that converts to melatonin. These products work well for many people struggling to sleep.
Essential oils used in diffusers, added to baths, placed on pulse points or combined with a carrier oil and rubbed into the soles of your feet can also assist relaxation.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 functions in the body and one of its primary functions is its ability to relax the nervous system. When we are stressed, our need for magnesium increases and a common symptom of deficiency is insomnia. Magnesium is also required for the absorption of calcium, the body’s most abundant mineral, required to induce deep REM sleep cycles important for healthy mood, learning and memory.
So whether it’s the occasional bad night’s sleep or an ongoing problem, please talk to one of our naturopaths to assist you in finding the right support. After all, everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.