Herbal remedies for insomnia are abundant online—valerian, hops, and chamomile, among the most common. Tested against placebo, none has been found to be definitively effective for insomnia. Yet some medicinal herbs have a long history as traditional calming, sleep-promoting agents. Might one work for you?
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have proposed a method you can use yourself to test herbal remedies via personalized therapeutic trials. Here’s more about herbals and how the trials work:
Let’s begin with a caveat: no organic sleep aid on the market has been shown to cure insomnia.
But if you like warm, nonalcoholic, caffeine-free liquids, and if drinking a beverage is part of your evening routine, you might be interested in trying Zenbev Drink Mix. Here’s more information about it.
If you have chronic insomnia, you may have developed anxiety about sleep. I had lots of sleep-related anxiety until I went through sleep restriction. Once my sleep stabilized, the anxiety disappeared.
Studies have shown that cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is modestly effective at controlling anxiety. It’s FDA approved and widely used in the armed forces for anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and depression.
About 40 to 50 percent of women experience insomnia before and after menopause. Add hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue into the mix, and riding out “the change” can be tough.
Recent reviews suggest that acupuncture and isoflavones (plant-derived compounds that function like estrogen) may be effective as alternative treatments for menopausal insomnia and hot flashes.
Interesting but dangerous: that’s what I heard about L-tryptophan supplements for several years. Research starting in the 1960s was showing that L-tryptophan might be an effective remedy for insomnia.
Then came the tryptophan-related outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) in 1989, killing 37 people and sickening thousands. The United States subsequently banned the supplements, and research on L-tryptophan and sleep came to a halt.
Now reviewers of alternative treatments for insomnia are again mentioning L-tryptophan as a substance of interest. Here are the pros and cons.
Sour date seed has been used as a sleep aid in China and other Asian countries for over 2,000 years. The seed of a small tree called Ziziphus jujuba Mill var. spinosa, sour date is used alone or in combination with other herbal medicines to relieve insomnia and anxiety.
A lot of people with insomnia say the main barrier to sleep is an unquiet mind. The minute they lie down, the mind starts racing over the events of the day or sprints ahead to the next day, chewing over problems and unable to stop.
If you could put a lid on the chatter and improve your sleep by dedicating 20 minutes a day to meditation, focused breathing, and simple yoga poses, would you do it?
Here’s what you could expect to gain, in the words of those who are doing it.
If you’re leery of sleeping pills and haven’t fared well with cognitive behavioral therapy, maybe it’s time to think outside the box. There are quite a few alternative treatments for insomnia. Among the least known is Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, or CES. CES has been cleared by the FDA for treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Here’s a summary of information about it.