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Herbs, Yoga and Feng Shui for Sleep

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Herbs, Yoga and Feng Shui for Sleep

By Jennifer Lang, Natural Solutions

Americans spend billions on prescription sleep aids each year, even though the drugs produce a number of unwanted side effects. Natural sleep remedies, on the other hand, are generally side effect-free. For the most part, they help you fall and stay in deep sleep without relying on sedatives. And because they’re muscle relaxants, they also help alleviate pain and may even improve libido. Some to consider:

L-theanine, an amino acid (protein) derived from green tea, improves deep sleep and helps people maintain a calm alertness during the day. It also plays a role in the formation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that’s critical for sleep. Take 50 to 200 mg at bedtime; L-theanine can also be used for daytime anxiety.

Hops reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, studies show, and they also reduce anxiety and help muscles relax enough for you to fall asleep. Take 30 to 120 mg at bedtime. Often used in combination with valerian and lemon balm, hops have to be dried to have any medicinal effect–the hops in beer, however tasty, provide no sleep benefit.

Passionflower (Passiflora) is an herb commonly used as a calming agent. Take 90 to 360 mg at bedtime.

Valerian helps reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep you get–without next-day sedation. Take 200 to 800 mg at bedtime. (Valerian causes wakefulness in some people; if that’s the case for you, take it during the day to reduce overall anxiety.)

5HTP (hydroxytryptophan) is what your body uses to make sleep-inducing serotonin. One downside: It can take up to six weeks to start working. Take 200 to 400 mg at bedtime. If you also take serotonin-raising medications (for example, antidepressants), make sure your holistic practitioner supervises the use of the 5HTP to keep serotonin levels from going too high.

Melatonin retrains your circadian rhythm so you become sleepy when the lights dim and wake up more alert at morning light. Take 3 mg at bedtime for three nights and gradually increase to 6 mg if necessary. Melatonin is not recommended for teens, however.

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Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.


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5:28PM PST on Dec 6, 2010

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9:18AM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

Good tips, thanks. I also use a lavender oil spray - just a few drops of lavender oil mixed with water in a small spray bottle - sprayed on my pillow and around my sheets and that helps me fall asleep.

3:49AM PST on Feb 2, 2010

I love Hirschi :-)
Finger Yoga, a wonderful way to comfort your Body and soul :-)

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10:17AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009


8:38AM PDT on Jun 11, 2009

Melatonin isn't recommended for teens because of the risk of dependence. There is a chance that if you take it for long periods of time your body might stop producing it on its own and some studies have shown that it may not be reversible. I have a 12 year old cousin who has been having trouble sleeping for some time now and her doctor recommended epsom salt baths before bed. She uses Pepsom sports brand because it has a soothing scent. After starting an epsom salt bath routine every night for a week she started to notice an improvement. Then I recently went through a non sleeping spell and decided to try it and it works. The warm bath is soothing and the epsom salt reduces muscle tension making it easier to fall asleep.

9:30AM PDT on Jun 1, 2009

Doctor recommendation: I am a firm believer in discussing addition of any supplement to one's diet with one's most trusted medical provider. If a person has specific medical issues, her/his medical provider would be the best source of honesty. Remember, doctors are in it for the money too. They lose a LOT of income if patients die.

12:17AM PDT on Jun 1, 2009

Adding plants to your bedroom for better feng shui? That's a big feng shui no-no according to all resources I've been using to 'improve' the feng shui of our house ...
And mirrors in a bedroom are to be used with great caution in feng shui - no direct reflection of self, doors, windows ....
Maybe part three of this article should be reconsidered. The rest was great though.

8:23PM PDT on May 30, 2009

Why is Melatonin not recommended for teens? I have a 13 year old who can't fall asleep without it.

10:17AM PDT on May 29, 2009

I have fibromyalia, and have used L-theanine for over a year to help me sleep at night. For me, it's very effective, and rarely leaves me drowsy in the morning. Prescription sleep aids always yield unpleasant side effects for me, so I was very happy to find the L-theanine.

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