An alternative treatment is considered as an unconventional type of Western medical practice. It is also referred to as complementary medicine or alternative therapy which includes a variety of disciplines and practices. Some of the examples of alternative therapy include acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, massage, hypnosis, and herbal treatments among many others.
When it comes to sleep disorders, alternative therapies also use meditation, exercise, acupuncture, relaxation, and supplements to address the problem. Alternative or complementary medicine often goes hand in hand with conventional treatments.
Some of the most common herbs used to treat insomnia are passion flower, chamomile, valerian root, and lavender. These herbs are recognized as having short-term mild sedative properties to help individuals sleep.
This herb provides numerous benefits including calming effects and anti-anxiety properties. Anxiety significantly produces negative effects towards sleep. When an individual feels anxious, it will keep their mind active even if they want to rest. Passion flower helps calm that anxiety to eliminate the cycle of thoughts circling in their head.
Based on tests, this herb is as effective as the prescription drug benzodiazepine oxazepam. Even though the prescription drug may work faster, passion flower has the same level of effectiveness. At the same time, unlike benzodiazepine oxazepam, passion flower does not cause drowsiness. Therefore, this herbal medication is considered as one of the most powerful and effective natural anti-anxiety sleeping aids available in the market.
Chamomile is already approved by the FDA and is proven to have no adverse effects. This herb is heavily promoted as a bedtime drink. Studies show that individuals, specifically new mothers who consumed chamomile tea before bedtime for two weeks showed signs of less depression and sleep inefficiencies. The warmth of the tea may already cause sleepiness to the individual drinking it and is always worth the try.
A valerian root is also linked to the treatment of sleeping disorders. Studies show that it aids in the maintenance of sleep even though there is still a need to do more research on its safety and effectivity. Like most supplements, valerian also poses some side effects which is why you need to clear it with your doctor first as it can affect people in different ways.
Studies also show that individuals who inhale the scent of lavender before bedtime have better sleep at night and are more energized during the daytime. Meanwhile, other studies show lavender can also improve the quality of sleep among middle-aged women as well as patients with heart disease. Lavender provides relaxing effects and based on research, the scent of lavender oil may help in lowering the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and even the skin temperature.
Other Herbal Remedies
Meanwhile, there are other types of herbal remedies that also aid in treating sleep disorders such as ginseng, hops, skullcap, and lemon balm. Nonetheless, there are still tests need to be done to assess the effectivity and safety of these herbs. Herbal supplements can interfere and affect other types of medications which is why it is always important to advise your attending physician if you are taking any herbal medications.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to sleeping disorders. Unpleasant thoughts and muscle tension are just some of the reasons why an individual may have trouble sleeping. In effect, most of the alternative methods used to induce sleep specifically target the relaxation of muscles and meditation to quiet the mind.
These techniques have been found quite effective in treating insomnia. Relaxation and meditation techniques can be learned but may take a few weeks before the individual can perfect the techniques. According to studies, regular practice of meditation can produce higher levels of melatonin which is significant in regulating sleep.
Experts strongly suggest that you avoid any form of electronic devices at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Instead, you should sit quietly and focus on deep breathing. In case, you find yourself waking in the middle of the night, try to meditate for 10 to 15 minutes. There are a number of apps or video tutorials to guide you through meditation exercises especially, for first-timers.
Being mindful can also help improve the quality of sleep. Studies also reveal that individuals who learned mindfulness and meditation practices experienced fewer signs of insomnia.
Exercise is known to deepen the sleep among individuals whether or not they have a sleeping disorder. Studies show that exercising can significantly improve the quality of sleep in adults. Some of the exercises that can efficiently enhance the quality of sleep in both older people and cancer patients include Tibetan Yoga and Tai Chi. Health experts suggest that individuals should not exercise three to four hours before their bedtime to avoid any interference with their sleep.
This technique is often applied in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various types of illnesses including sleeping disorders. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles at certain points in the skin. This is intended to manage specific body functions. In some cases, acupuncture may be combined with the application of small electrical stimulus or heat from burning certain herbs.
Results show that acupuncture may be an effective way to treat insomnia as it has shown some improvement in the quality of sleep of a patient diagnosed with insomnia. Nevertheless, more research is required to prove its effectivity conclusively.
According to research, individuals with insomnia who listened to natural sounds such as rainforest, waves, and other types of naturel can instantly trigger a relaxing response from the brain. A soothing and relaxing background sound can also help cover up other noises such as voices or traffic which has the opposite effect and can trigger sleeping problems.
A noise machine can help regulate better sleep. Health experts also suggest using a pink noise which is a combination of frequencies that are more balanced and natural compared to white noise.
Melatonin is a type of hormone that plays an important role in regulating our sleep and wake cycle. It can help lessen sleeping interference caused by several factors. A melatonin’s natural level is highest during nighttime. Some health experts suggest using melatonin supplements to help treat sleeping disorders such as delayed sleep, jet lag, and insomnia to name a few.
It is generally safe for short-term use compared to other types of sleep medications. Melatonin prevents individuals to become dependent on sleep medicines, eliminates signs of a hangover, as well as elicit delayed response due to repeated use. However, the most common side effects of melatonin supplements include a headache, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness.
Meanwhile, other forms of side effects even though it may be less common may include short-term depression, mild anxiety, mild tremor, cramps in the abdomen, decrease in alertness, disorientation, irritability, confusion, and hypotension. It can also interfere with other medications such as immuno-suppressants, contraceptives, diabetes medicines, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet drugs.
While it has minimal adverse effects on individuals, long-term studies are still needed to evaluate its effectiveness as a supplement. Therefore, before you consider taking melatonin supplements, you should consult a doctor’s advice first. You may also consider the other forms of alternative treatments first before you decide on this method.
Before you decide to dive into the world of alternative medicine, there are a lot of points you still need to consider. Make sure you discuss this first with your doctor before trying any form of alternative therapy on your own. Don’t forget to tell your doctor your medical history as well any medications you’ve been taking. You should disclose all the types of alternative treatments you plan on trying to help them determine which therapy is the right method for you.
As soon as you experience any side effects from the alternative therapy including vomiting, nausea, anxiety, diarrhea, skin rashes or rapid heartbeat, stop the alternative treatment and advise your doctor immediately. Avoid mixing herbs and instead, stick to one herbal medicine only.
Pick an herbal supplement product that has scientific-based claims and information instead of commercial ones such as the InsoZia Sleep Aid sleeping pills. This product helps relieve insomnia due to heart blood deficiency. Its ingredients are produced with advanced technology for a safe and effective way to improve sleep.
Having said, choose the brands carefully and buy products that lists the herbal ingredients, name, and address of the manufacturer, expiration date, batch and lot number of the product, dosage instructions, and potential side effects.
Sleep plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. Many individuals tend to neglect the importance of sleep. If you have a hard time sleeping, you should try to seek help from a medical practitioner to help manage and control your sleeping pattern.
Avoid using synthetic and stimulant products. Instead, use the alternative therapies listed above to help you sleep better at night and at the same time, have more energy during the day.