Sleep is required for all people, it repairs the body and helps you release the stress that accumulates during the day. It also helps with memory consolidation, so you are more likely to remember what you learned in school.
Nearly one-third of people suffer from sleep deprivation, which can lead to chronic health problems. However, there are ways to improve your sleep hygiene and enjoy an undisturbed night. One great way to get better sleep is by adding herbs that help with relaxation into your diet.
Sleep Hygiene Is Important for Your Health
Sleep hygiene is the most important thing you can do for your health and well-being. Sleep is an essential need for the body, mind, and spirit. The body needs sleep to heal from problems such as stress and illness. Without sufficient quality sleep, we cannot concentrate or remain focused in life. With sleep hygiene practices, we can improve our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
People who are not getting enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick because of decreased immune system response due to a lack of restful sleep. People who lack proper restful sleep also have a higher risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression due to a lack of quality shut-eye time.
What Sleep Hygiene Practices Can You Use to Get a Better Night's Rest?
You can improve your sleep quality by following sleep hygiene habits.
- Maintain a regular sleeping schedule
- Ensure a conducive sleeping environment
- Do not use stimulants or other substances that may disturb your sleep
- Make sure your skin is exposed to enough sunlight
- Regularly engage in physical activity
- Incorporate stress management and relaxation techniques
How Acupuncture and TCM can Help with Sleep
Acupuncture and TCM are natural ways to help people sleep better. It is a more holistic approach as it looks at the whole person and not just one aspect of their life that could be causing insomnia.
Acupuncture needles work by stimulating the body’s energy system, our Qi flow. This then helps in regulating the flow of energy within our bodies, making us feel more relaxed and able to sleep better.
TCM works similarly by stimulating meridians in the body which help with blood circulation and immune function, helping us have better sleep hygiene.
Acupuncture can be used for the following reasons:
- Acupuncture can help relieve stress and anxiety which many people experience from their sleep deprivation or insomnia.
- Acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep quality by increasing the release of melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain.
- Acupuncture can regulate cortisol levels which are important for regulating our natural circadian rhythm.
With TCM, herbal remedies may be provided as a form of treatment.
4 Complementary Herbal Remedies to Enhance Your Quality of Sleep
Here are the herbs based on research findings to assist in improving the quality of sleep.
1060 mg, total per day, minimum 4 weeks
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, 6 studies found valerian to have significant benefits to improve sleep quality without side effects at a range of dosing.
80 mg Silexan™ daily for a minimum of 10 weeks or diffused at bedtime
A systematic review of 11 randomized controlled trials found that inhaled lavender essential oil had a positive effect on sleep for people with mild sleep disturbances.
200 mg twice per day for a minimum of 28 days or as a tea for a minimum of 2 weeks
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials found chamomile to be effective in improving sleep quality and generalized anxiety disorder.
320 mg, total per day of magnesium citrate, minimum 7 weeks
Improved Pittsburg sleep quality index (PSQI) score, which includes improvements in sleep quality, sleep onset latency, sleep duration, sleep disturbance, daytime dysfunction, and hypnotic drug scores in adults with poor sleep quality; additionally participants who had a baseline value more than 3.0 mg/L of CRP experienced a decrease.
Sleep is the foundation of all health. When we don't get enough sleep, our immune system weakens, and we are more susceptible to disease.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be productive, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Herbs, acupuncture, and sleep hygiene can all help relieve symptoms of sleeplessness or help with insomnia.
Bent, S., Padula, A., Moore, D., Patterson, M., & Mehling, W. (2006). Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine, 119, 1005–1012. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17145239/
Lillehei, A. S., & Halcon, L. L. (2014). A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20, 441–451. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24720812/
Hieu, T. H., Dibas, M., Surya Dila, K. A., Sherif, N. A., Hashmi, M. U., Mahmoud, M., Trang, N. T. T., Abdullah, L., Nghia, T. L. B., Y, M. N., Hirayama, K., & Huy, N. T. (2019). Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials and quasi-randomized trials. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 33, 1604–1615. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31006899/
Nielsen, F. H., Johnson, L. K., & Zeng, H. (2010). Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep. Magnesium Research: Official Organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium, 23, 158–168. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21199787/
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American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2013, August 1). Sleep and caffeine. Retrieved from http://sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/ sleep-and-caffeine