Looking for a gift for a problem sleeper (or are you browsing for sleep-friendly products yourself)? Last year’s holiday gift blog was so popular that I decided to post a similar blog this year.
Most of these items are fairly inexpensive and all can be purchased online. They may be helpful for people with insomnia and other sleep problems. If nothing else they’ll make for comfier nights.
Waking up to hot flashes now that you’re going through “the change?” You’re not alone. Up to 80 percent of women experience them during menopause.
Annoying in the daytime, hot flashes can play havoc with your sleep, making you prone to frequent wake-ups in sweat-soaked sheets. Up to 61 percent of postmenopausal women report hot flash-related wake-ups and other symptoms of insomnia.
Low-dose paroxetine, a drug prescribed at higher doses for depression, holds promise for women looking to cut down on hot flashes and night sweats and improve their sleep.
Once on a whale-watching cruise, when the ship was rocking from side to side and I was clinging to the gunwale for dear life, I watched an 81-year old woman walk down the center of the boat with nothing to steady herself. The secret to her amazing sense of balance, she said, was 60 minutes of yoga practice every day.
A growing body of research shows that yoga also has a place among alternative treatments for insomnia. A new study of the effects of yoga on the sleep and functioning of older adults suggests how and why.
“Tart cherry juice is supposed to help with sleep,” a reader wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac a few days ago. “But is there any real evidence for this? Usually I don’t pay much attention to these claims. I assume they’re made by industries hyping their products. Anyway, if certain foods COULD help control insomnia, wouldn’t we know that by now?”
A few studies do suggest that tart cherry juice may be helpful to people with insomnia.
When female friends hit their 40s and 50s, they start talking to me about their sleep. “I never had insomnia before in my life.” “I wake up with hot flashes.” “I get these feelings of anxiety and I just can’t sleep!”
Perimenopause and menopause cause an uptick in sleep problems, insomnia, chief among them. But now there’s a new plant-based supplement that shows promise for women looking for relief from insomnia and other menopause-related symptoms.
A therapist friend of mine uses neurotherapy to help his patients with mood disorders and sleep.
“Neurofeedback focuses on teaching the brain how to better regulate itself,” he said. “When it doesn’t regulate itself well, all kinds of problems show up. When you teach the brain how to better regulate itself, one of the first things that falls into place is sleep.”
Here’s more about it.
Of all the botanicals used for sleep, valerian is the one we hear about the most. I tried it myself several years ago on a trip to Japan. The inky black tincture stank up our bedroom like a pile of ripe wet socks, tasted bitter, and, taken at bedtime, didn’t do a dime’s worth of good for my sleep. So I tossed it on my heap of failed alternative treatments for insomnia and moved on to the next thing.
Now I’m toying with the idea of trying valerian again.
A live-in personal assistant named August, an insomnia sufferer I interviewed for my book, was convinced that acupuncture was the path to better sleep. One day he took his insomnia to an acupuncturist trained in China. After that, he was hooked.